Dangerous Goods 12: Serviceability of ULDs

A SERVICEABLE ULD is dependent on a pallet base and pallet net being in good condition. IATA has established some clear guidelines for training requirements for those handling ULDs. A damaged ULD loaded into an aircraft may present a flight safety risk because damage can mean it is no longer able to meet its minimum required strength requirements.

On all open pallets the net must have the required amount of fasteners stipulated by that airline. It is important to be aware of these requirements before you begin flight build up and the same applies to breakdown of any pallet.

If a pallet arrives damaged, make a senior member of staff or the Airline Cargo Representative aware if it has arrived in this condition. The ULD can either be removed from service or repaired depending on thee Airlines un- serviceability guidelines. By doing this, your prompt action may also stop a major incident occurring if a defective ULD were to be loaded onto any aircraft.

Tie-Down Rails round edge of pallet where nets/ straps are secured to prevent movement of cargo during flight. If one of these is defective it can greatly decrease the weight restrictions of the airline equipment – pallet net for example.

CONTAINERS must not be used if the following defects are evident; ALWAYS CHECK INDIVIDUAL AIRLINE REQUIREMENTS

  • Delaminated or de- formed bottom skin
  • Splits, tears, holes and indentations on under surface
  • Cracked or distorted edge rail higher than 3.2cm. Prevents locks being raised over the pallet edge
  • Cracks or permanent distortion to structural framework or roof panel
  • Splits and tears on metal panels larger than two in (5cm). Check with individual airline concerned
  • Damaged door latches and parts. Tears in tarpaulin doors greater than 10cm / 4in
  • More than 1 deformity over an area of 1m
  • More than 3 deformities over an area of 3m
  • More than 1 missing rivet / screw per edge profile or any damages within 3 pairs of tie – down track lips each side of the net attachment point
  • Any tear / crack exceeding 25cm / 10in in the side / roof panels
  • Dents on any frame profile that could affect the contour

PALLETS must not be used if the following defects are evident: ALWAYS CHECK INDIVIDUAL AIRLINE REQUIREMENTS

  • Missing corners
  • Broken tie-down rail
  • Cracked edge rail
  • Splits, tears, holes and indentations on under surface
  • Excessive bending
  • 16′ / 20′ pallets with more than 1 side restraint ‘Pocket’ damaged. IGLOOS / REFRIGERATED UNITS
  • Shell should not have large splits or punctures, which would allow water to penetrate
  • Shell must not have any damage that causes protrusions outside the external contour
  • Shells should be checked periodically for cracks, holes and other external damage
  • Any damage to the door seals
  • Be aware on refrigerated units it does not effect the internal temperature therefore damaging contents

PALLET Nets must not be used if the following defects are evident: ALWAYS CHECK INDIVIDUAL AIRLINE REQUIREMENTS

  • One or more missing or damaged net hooks.
  • One or more missing or damaged tie-down rings. If one is missing, it must be replaced with the same capacity ring e.g. double stud with double stud fitting
  • More than 3 completely broken meshes per net side
  • More than 1 broken border cord
  • No torn fibers to the lashing cords or net
  • One or more broken or missing lashing cord. Some airlines accept double thickness rope but LH must be replaced using correct corner rope
  • LH – net older than 5 years


In order to prevent possible damage or mishandling of ULD’s the following things should be considered.

  • Correct storage facilities for every ULD should be available
  • Do not use forklift trucks for handling a ULD unless the ULD / FLT is specially designed for this purpose. Always take care when moving any ULD with a FLT
  • When transporting ULD’s on dollies or other vehicles ensure that the restraint stops are always correctly applied
  • Do not push or drag along the ground
  • ULD’s are not supposed to be stored directly on the ground
  • If dollies or roller-beds are available then these must be used as opposed to being left lying around on the floor
  • LD3 / 2 type containers should not be stacked on top of one another. However, this is not always possible due to storage space, therefore care must be taken not to damage containers stored below. This can be reduced by placing all units on a wooden pallet
  • Container doors should be closed when stored
  • Pallet nets should be stored in a dry area
  • With the exception of open pallets, it is recommended not to stack on top of each other
  • If stored outside, be aware of weather conditions. ·ULD’s of different airlines should be stored separately
  • In view of this it is strongly recommended that other airline ULD’s are returned to the owners within FIVE days with the correct ULD receipt form (UCR) to avoid possible loss and costs

It is very important for you to be vigilant at all times especially when issuing ULD’s to either customer or shipper and any damage noticed and highlighted before it is too late.

Please note this list is not exhaustive and different airlines may have other stipulations to those listed.

More information?

For comprehensive information from IATA on the Dangerous Goods Regulations visit their website: www.iata.org


If you have any questions on the topics discussed here get in touch at: marketing@hermes-cargo.com



Is the cross-stitching torn?

Are the straps damaged or torn? Is the net missing or unserviceable? Remember to check fittings or hooks.

Are the corner ropes missing? If so they must be replaced with correct rope. If that’s not available double lashing using PN040 must be used.

Check for missing or defective fittings / hooks on flexible doors.

Make sure door lock mechanisms work correctly and are not damaged or missing.

Is the steel cable missing or damaged?

Are there tears or cuts in the door material, big enough for small shipments to fall out?

Are there missing rivets or screws or tears in the gussets?

Are the stiffeners or corner strengtheners in place and not loose?


The information in these newsletters is for information purposes only and is representative of the experience of Hermes Logistics Technologies Ltd. We do not guarantee its completeness, timeliness or accuracy.

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