ULD & PERISHABLES SUPPLEMENT~ Death penalty for ULD damage

Capital punishment for ULD damage? This may seem rather harsh even in the world's most repressive societies, but the use of this statement caught the attention of senior air cargo executives recently, putting the issue in the spotlight.

Although used purely for its shock value, senior members of the IATA cargo team at the recent World Cargo Symposium in Rome took the wake-up call and elevated the awareness of the negative impact of ULD damage highon their work agenda for 2008.

Rightly so, ULD damage through inadequate handling and storage has reached totally unacceptable levels. Airlines are spending in excess of US$130 million a year repairing ULD damage. At the same time up to 5 per cent of the world’s total ULD fleet is out of service at any point in time awaiting repair. At the same time damaged ULD are contributing to personnel injuries, damage to cargo, and damage to aircraft holds and loading systems.

This simply cannot go on, one can think of no other item of airline property where it would be so acceptable for such abuse to take place without any consequence against those responsible.

This abuse of ULD seems to have become so common that people take it for granted. ULD stacked two or three high raise no comment, the use of forklifts to move loaded ULD doesn’t even raise an eyebrow, and the smashing of a ULD is treated as “ just one of those things,” something that happens in the line of duty, notto be taken seriously.