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December 13, 2012

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Campaign for safety of air cargo extended

A two-month overhaul to keep unsafe and illegal items from being transported via air cargo will be extended for another three months, Shanghai civil aviation authorities and the transport association announced yesterday.

The campaign started on November 23 after four courier companies including influential local YTO and Yunda Express were ordered to suspend airfreight services because they failed to report inflammable materials aboard airplanes.

Two lithium batteries, which are banned on board aircraft, were illegally placed in cargo by YTO in October, causing a small fire on a China Southern flight after it landed. The other firms also were cited for contraband.

City airport police said yesterday they have seized 75 cases, with 48 companies involved, transporting banned items since 2010, with violators including big names in the delivery and cargo transport industry. Yunda, one of those suspended, has been found carrying dangerous goods twice this year.

"The lack of basic knowledge of dangerous goods and the lax management among cargo agents and delivery companies are the main factors to blame," said Duan Kaihong, deputy secretary general with China Air Transport Association.

Licenses will be checked more often and the companies have been asked to boost training in the campaign, which will last until the end April, said Duan.

"Fierce competition in the transport business also sends some companies to the edge by falsely reporting goods and secretly carrying contraband," said Tian Dawei, who is responsible for air transport with the Civil Aviation Administration Bureau of East China.


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