IT challenge highlights Hermes approach to improving customer experience

Septembers Air Cargo Handling Conference in Milan, saw the introduction of a new IT Challenge Session. Alongside Hermes, two other leading IT suppliers took to the stage to share exciting new initiatives aimed at improving their customers experience.

Oded Lavee, Chief Technology Officer at Hermes spoke of reducing costs and improving quality, introducing transparency and about having the flexibility to interact with your customers. He also shared ways that customers can get the most out of the Hermes air cargo management system.

Below are some of his presentation highlights:

  1. The launch of a Work Order System, a new generic tool that will allow customers to define and add their own, specific, internal processes using a set of pre-defined building blocks giving them the independence and the flexibility to personalise their systems without having to contact the Hermes team directly.
  2. The introduction of an automated QC process which will see scripts for every application process as well as sanity tests on each build to reduce errors.
  3. The setting up of Operational and Database Health Checks which will see Hermes cargo experts meeting with key users to review all Import/Export and Accounts processes and then advising customers on how they might enhance them.
  4. The use of RFID (radio frequency identification) to read and capture information stored on tags to automatically track cargo through warehouses.
  5. Using technology to introduce Mobile Apps that can be used on both phones and tablets and that will automatically update.

To keep our air cargo management system at the forefront of our industry, the Hermes team also continues to grow (see below) but to find our why more and more air cargo ground handlers are choosing Hermes to run their operations click here.

Hermes team continues to grow

We’d like to welcome two more new faces to our expanding team at Hermes.

James Plested, who recently joined the Hermes Cargo team from Emirates and System Developer, Moshe Amran who joins our Technical team.

Dangerous Goods 9: Building Up a Unit Load Device (ULD)

In this issue, the what, why, where and when questions that arise when building up a ULD (Unit Load Device) are addressed. From the arrival of a shipment at the door, to it’s final point of leaving the shed fully built up and ready to fly securely and safely, the process chain is a long one.

A huge amount of information needs to be checked and cross referenced and the final decision as to whether or not that shipment or ULD flies rests with the individual in charge of the flight / build up. The process starts with reservations making the booking and then continues in a process likely to be similar to that below.

  1. Reservations make the booking

Dimensions are documented but if additional equipment is used and raises the overall dimensions, will it still be able to fly?

  1. Know your consignments

What type of commodity is the cargo to be loaded? Can it be loaded safely? Where can it be loaded? What can it be loaded with? Will it fit? Is the correct equipment available to safely load the shipment?

  1. Identify the Aircraft

Will it fit on the Aircraft? Is the aircraft narrow or wide bodied.

  1. Identify ULD

Will the cargo fit in the ULD? Will the ULD fit on the aircraft? Is the ULD serviceable?

  1. Loading Position on Aircraft

Can the cargo be loaded in this position?

  1. Check the Contour

Once the shape is created on a pallet, will it fit in a container?

  1. Commodity

Is the cargo DGR or a Special Load? Can it be loaded into a container?

  1. Is it radioactive?

Amount of T.I’s in compartment? Is there sufficient loading height.

  1. Cargo lifespan

Is the cargo perishable? Must it fly on its booked flight otherwise the consignment is useless?

  1. Sufficient lashing

Is the cargo safe to fly? Will it move? Has the gross weight been considered!

  1. Floor Bearing Capacity

Is the load spread over the base of the ULD to avoid floor bearing capacity being exceeded?

  1. Compatibility

Can it be loaded it with another DG shipment? Has separation and distance been considered? Has accessibility been considered? Can a shipment be loaded M/D or L/D on board an aircraft?

  1. Destination of Aircraft

Are there any Special requirements or country limitations for DG – ‘Thru’ units – Flight direction.

  1. Forces in the Air during Landing or Take Off

Air pockets or close turns can cause cargo to move. Could a HEA piece of Cargo move due to insufficient lashing?

  1. Standard / Mixed / Embraced / Direct Lashing

Have the requirements for securing in flight depending on cargo been considered.

  1. ULD Tags

Is the weight correct? Have the SHC’s all been documented on the tag and Pallet Weight Statement.

  1. Correct System Input?

Has all the information been correctly inputted into an cargo management system, like Hermes to transmit information to all concerned.

ULD (Unit Load Device):

ULDs are used for the storage of cargo on the aircraft and are divided into two types;

Pallets and Containers:

Pallets are secured by a net, attached to the rim of the pallet. The final shape (contour) chosen in the build-up of a ULD needs to fit the allocated aircraft type.

Containers provide the shape (contour) so the contents are secured either by the container doors being closed and bolted, or the door net being secured to the rims of the container walls and floor.

Container or Pallet?

Advantages of using a container:

  • Faster loading and unloading of the aircraft and container
  • Better protection against weather conditions
  • Better protection against damage to the cargo or to the aircraft
  • Less experienced personnel required for build up as contour is complete

Why use a pallet?

  • Some cargo is difficult to fit into containers
  • There are more options for build-up when using an open pallet
  • Some ‘Special Load’ cargo can only be loaded on open pallets

More information?

For comprehensive information from IATA on the Dangerous Goods Regulations visit their website:


If you have any questions on the topics discussed here mail us at:

Dangerous Goods 8: Dangerous Goods Load Spreading

Everyday hundreds of aircraft carry tons of freight all over the world. As customers we put our trust in the airlines and expect they will deliver our freight to the required destination without delay and, most importantly, in good condition.

In order to achieve this there are many processes that must be followed to secure the safe transit of our cargo. One such process is load spreading – spreading the weight of the load over as much of the surface area available on or in the pallet or container.

Think of a skier in the snow. Why do they have skis or wear snowshoes? Instead of sinking they ‘spread the load over the top. Compare a Training shoe to a women’s stiletto, the trainer spreads the load over grass while the stiletto heel simply sinks. A table has 4 legs – this is the known as the ‘contact area’ – turn the table upside down and the contact area is greatly increased – the whole table top is now the contact area.

However, trying to spread weight evenly across a pallet, ULD or aircarft hold can have its own restrictions as there are many fragile, sensitive or perishable goods shipments that include, fresh fruit & vegetables, lab equipment, glass products, electronics or computer hard drives, that fly around the world that need to be handled very carefully and which cannot be turned or tilted for various reasons. Ensuring handling and loading guidelines are followed for this cargo can make spreading the weight a bit more of a challenge.

TIP N TELL labels, SHOCKWATCH labels or upright labeling is used to show if fragile cargo consignments have been turned, tilted or mishandled during transportation.

These labels detect and record when fragile products have been exposed to a potentially damaging impact during transit or storage. They can also have a psychological effect on employees and shippers as goods with these labels often receive extra care in transit, therefore reducing damage.

On TIP N TELL stickers, blue beads move over the middle line and stick to the adhesive substance within the label indicating that this package has been tilted or turned during transport.

SHOCKWATCH has a glass tube containing a liquid which turns RED if the cargo is handled roughly.

Both TIP N TELL and SHOCKWATCH are designed to show any incorrect handling of the package throughout its entire journey from the Forwarder’s warehouse, when it’s accepted at an airline or cargo handler’s warehouse and of course in a loading area. These labels are another reason why cargo should be thoroughly checked before acceptance as claims can run into large amounts of money if liability for not handling it correctly has been blamed on your staff.

For any type of cargo with instructions not to tip or turn it during transport, we have to calculate the contact area on the way cargo is being loaded and delivered.

We do this by ‘Spreading’ that single piece over the complete base of the pallet. Most airlines have their own spreading equipment so it is important to know where such items are stored. Depending on the capacity known of your spreading materials and the weight of the individual piece, you can calculate how many pieces are needed to safely / correctly spread the load.

Here we have an 11 ton bulldozer where the Tyres are the contact area. It is driven onto the aircraft pallet but you can see the tyres now sitting on heavy duty spreader boards therefore spreading the load over the complete base of the pallet.

Add to that the required lashing of large, heavy cargo you can see the amount of lashing/tie down straps used to secure cargo in transit.

Here is an example of cargo secured to the aircraft floor on the Main Deck of a Cargo Freighter aircraft. Oversize cargo (Special Loads) would be built by the Shipper / using a specific Cargo Agents warehouse. These would be built to specific requirements laid down by the airline carrier. Very often an airline representative will go the Agent warehouse to check the load or even oversee the loading and confirm all correct before arrival at aircraft side.

Additional lashing may also be required to secure a load. Spreading may also be required for “loose load” cargo in the Aft Hold in compartment 5 to avoid possible damage to the aircraft fuselage.

Providing the load is safe old wooden pallets can also be used to help spread weight and to stop it from moving. In this example below, the first picture shows a tin that has been incorrectly placed for loading. Metal on metal will slide during transit so to load it correctly (pic 2) the tin is placed on old pallets or spreaders to prevent it moving about and to spread the weight.

Why is spreading important on an aircraft?

To make the Aircraft loading easier (The weight and balance of aircraft)

To make loading at the aircraft side easier for staff. An evenly laden ULD is far more manageable with an even distribution of weight.

Safer for all concerned e.g. you have to load a 4000kg pallet onto an aircraft – 3000kg of that pallet is one single mass.

To avoid damage to the aircraft structure.

To avoid damage to other cargo loaded in close proximity.

More information?

For comprehensive information from IATA on the Dangerous Goods Regulations visit their website:


If you have any questions on the topics discussed here email us at

Hermes and our customers in the news

The introduction of a new version update to the Hermes air cargo management system and announcements that some of our customers are winning new business has put both Hermes and our users in the news lately.

According to a recent issue of Payload Asia, the work of Fraport Cargo Services (FCS) has been rewarded by the management of Eva Air who have decided to extend the existing cargo handling contract with FCS for another long term.

Staying with FCS Payload Asia also announced that MIAT Mongolian Airlines have chosen Fraport Cargo Services as their professional cargo handling partner in Frankfurt. Starting in June, they will operate twice weekly flights from the Chinggis Khan International Airport to Frankfurt making use of the hubs connections to other international destinations.

This is great news for FCS who have been using the Hermes air cargo management system since 2006 to manage their warehouse.

In the first five months of 2014, PACTL saw tonnage rise up by 14.09 percent to a total figure of 566,098 tonnes. This was the best result for the first five months in the history of the company. It beat the previous record set in 2011.

PACTL began using the Hermes air cargo system back in 2006 and currently handle around 1.3 million tonnes of freight a year. They recently implemented an upgrade to their Hermes air cargo management system at its cargo facilities in Shanghai as reported in Air Cargo News.

Just last week, Air Cargo News announced that Etihad Cargo had moved into the list of top 10 performing global air cargo operators, having shipped a record volume of cargo during April and May. Also last month the Financial Mirror reported that Etihad Cargo is on track to become a billion dollar business in 2014.

A couple of months ago, several of the industry magazines reported the announcement that Hermes had been chosen by Etihad Cargo Services to run their hub in Abu Dhabi. We’re pleased to welcome Etihad Cargo Services as one of our new Hermes customers and are happy to report that the installation project is gathering pace and the first stage is due to Go Live in August. This new agreement involves some specialist development with both sides investing in technology and system design to evolve the Hermes system into a perfect match for the new hubs current and future business requirements.

Dangerous Goods 7: Transporting Radioactive Material

There are many different types of DGR – from gases, explosives, toxic, flammable or infectious substances to cars and even animals.

Strict regulations dictate how all of these goods must be packaged, labelled and carried so if you’re involved in the processing, packing or transporting of dangerous goods, you will first need to classify them correctly so that all organisations in the supply chain, including the emergency authorities, know and understand exactly what the hazard is.

You may be surprised to hear its common practice to load radioactive materials into the hold of passenger planes. Here in particular, it is absolutely critical that guidelines are followed correctly.

Loading of Radioactive Shipments

Radioactive shipments are categorised in 3 colour coded labels – each label displays the amount of radiation being given off by each package. This is measured by the Transport Index (T.I.). categories 1 (RRW) – white label (lowest TI omitted from a package) ascending to category 111 (RRY) – yellow label (greatest amount of TI given from a package).

Whenever yellow label packages are allocated to any flight for loading, especially passenger carrying aircraft many precautions have to be considered, the most important being the distance from package to passenger. Loading charts are used for this purpose (Check airline quality manuals for requirements). Incorrectly loaded RRY shipments can expose passengers to unreasonable amounts of radiation depending on the length of the flight if loaded too near to the main deck (passenger cabin). The obvious way to load RRY shipments is then on the base / floor of the ULD/aircraft. Even then the amount of TIs loaded in each aircraft hold must be correctly calculated as the back of the aircraft tapers up, meaning the aircraft floor gets nearer to passengers. Also the standard DGR loading regulations have to be considered if other DG classes are also loaded on the flight and it is also possible that specific Operator loading regulations are more restrictive than the actual D.G. Regulations.

In the worst possible scenarios, every passenger on a flight to the USA (8hours) for example, maybe required to undergo a medical if RRY was incorrectly loaded at considerable cost to the carrier. It can also create bad publicity for all concerned with a potential loss of future business.

With suitable DG training and further training for loading staff in basic principles of ULD/Flight build up these incidents are minimal in everyday aviation. The loading chart above is an example from a specific passenger aircraft. Always know yours!

British AAIB Releases Early Findings

The British AAIB (Air Accidents Investigation Branch) has released their preliminary findings on the onboard fire incident on an Ethiopian Airlines B-787 at LHR last year.

The AAIB Bulletin S4/2014 outlines in detail, a Lithium- Metal battery installed in a so-called ELT, an Emergency Location Transmitter started the Ethiopian fire due to “improper wiring, which likely took place when the ELT was installed”.

The Hermes DGR Module

The integrated Hermes DGR system can assist your users in the correct checking of Dangerous Goods shipper’s declarations including:

  • Fully updated and date relevant DGR data used in the check process, ensuring your staff are using the most recent DGR data
  • Full handheld package checks
  • Automated checklists production
  • One button NOTOC production
  • ADR compliant
  • Message support for FDD (in/out), NTM and NOT

More information?

For comprehensive information from IATA on the Dangerous Goods Regulations visit their website:


If you have any questions on the topics discussed here email us at:

Dangerous Goods 6: Transporting Cars

One of the more unusual items classified as Dangerous Goods are cars and despite the high cost of transporting them by airplane, many people across the world choose to transport their cars by air every year.

So just why is a everyday item like a car considered as Dangerous Goods when being flown on board any aircraft?

Remember at 35000ft and loaded in an ‘inaccessible’ hold (cannot be reached during flight) of an aircraft, there are parts of a car that can react totally different at high altitude compared to being on the ground. The pressure on all components is dramatically changed and if the relevant precautions / DG checks are not completed before flight there is a strong possibility there could be some sort of reaction. The car battery must be disconnected as this is one of the car’s power source – the petrol cap should be removed and petrol drained to avoid the chances of gases building inside the petrol tank causing possible explosion. Tyres too must be deflated as these can swell at altitude if considerable pressure is left in a tyre – it could explode. Brake fluid, power steering fluid are all liquids that could react if an incident occurs during flight.

Imagine the consequences too if other DG cargo is loaded in the same hold – any one of these could potentially create a major incident in the air. Nothing can be done until that aircraft lands – the nearest airport / landing space may be minutes, even hours away.

Once all these checks have been made the car is then built for the flight – remember – If cargo fits on an aircraft – airlines will fly it providing all the rules are adhered to – that means maybe ‘floating a car over 2 positions – so not secured by standard lateral aircraft ULD positions because the car is too big and may damage the aircraft fuselage but instead secured by means of straps secured to floor of the aircraft in a longitude direction (facing forwards). These straps are secured against the what is known as ‘Forces in the air’ upward – sideway movements – downwards supported by floor of aircraft – Upwards is the greater force so double the lashing / straps are used for this compared to sideways. Once you know the gross weight of cargo and the breaking capacity of equipment used you can then calculate how many straps to use – it can be many depending on the weight of the cargo.

This is where training for cargo handlers is vitally important. If in any doubt – always over lash cargo – better to add one/two more straps to a load than not. There is specialised equipment available to be able to load any kind of cargo providing it fits on the aircraft. Here you see Automobile tie – down straps securing the car in all directions should the aircraft hit turbulence of any kind. This is the correct way to lash a car.

Sadly there are instances where correct loading of such cargo has not been completed – there is simply not enough tie-down equipment used to stop these cars moving in flight.

Such ‘Special loads’ would be checked at aircraft side and offloaded immediately if the Pilot in Command was not happy as these loads now effectively become his responsibility.

Breaches of Dangerous Goods Regulations

A medical goods supplier was recently fined £3,000 plus costs for breaching international dangerous goods regulations by trying to send four lithium manganese dioxide battery packs, to a customer without using an approved container or marking, or declaring the shipment as containing dangerous goods. Lithium batteries are a know DG and risk to safety when incorrectly packaged and have been responsible for several aircraft fires.

Another company has also received a fine of £5,000 for sending an incorrectly packaged oxygen generator by air to the US. Like Lithium batteries, chemical generators have also been known to cause fatal crashes.

More information?

For comprehensive information from IATA on the Dangerous Goods Regulations visit their website:


If you have any questions on the topics discussed here mail us at:

Dangerous Goods 5: DGR Loading

Every Cargo Handler within the Airfreight industry actively involved in the handling of Dangerous Goods (DGR) MUST be trained and certificated to a certain level of competence. This should be regularly refreshed (currently every 2 years) so staff are kept up to date throughout the airfreight industry concerning the handling and loading of DGR.

Dangerous Goods are articles or substances that are capable of posing a risk to Health, Safety or to Property or the Environment and which are shown in the list of dangerous goods in these regulations or which are classified according to these regulations.

The Regulations state that ALL PERSONS involved in the handling of Cargo and Baggage and any other area connected with the transportation of dangerous goods MUST be trained. The aim of the training is to ensure that all shipments of dangerous goods are properly and fully prepared by knowledgeable and experienced personnel. The consequences of this ruling not being adhered to by Airlines and Cargo Warehouses can be catastrophic and very costly to all concerned if there’s an aircraft delay or more importantly an incident occurring during flight. Staff who build these ULDs (Unit Load Device) sign the ‘Pallet Tag’ (A ticket affixed to the ULD detailing the contents, weight, destination etc) to confirm not only the weight is correct but also the ULD is correctly built up.

Where DGR is concerned there are many additional factors that have to be checked. Within the 9 classes of DGR signified by a series of labelling, there are also strong stipulations that Shippers must follow to correctly package these substances in conjunction with the law. This is covered in the accompanying documentation that also has to be checked by a fully trained DGR specialist and both package/s and documentation must also be fully checked before any cargo is allocated to a flight. Any of these requirements that do not match the commodity loaded or documented in each package is refused and the customer must collect the goods and correct any issue highlighted before transportation by air is permitted.

Certain DGR is deemed too dangerous due to the amount in each package to travel on a passenger aircraft, so the option here is to load these shipments onto a CAO Cargo Aircraft Only (Main Deck and Lower Deck is all cargo). DGR can be transported as liquids, solids or gases so the packaging must be created in accordance to the DGR regulations. Any untrained warehouse workers should complete a visible check before acceptance for any damage or leakage. If not the cost for re-packaging, depending on the substance loaded within, can be costly to the company that incorrectly accepted the goods into the warehouse.

When everything is done according to the requirements many ULDs travel daily around the world, correctly loaded and built up for flight without any problems – however it only takes one short cut in the process that could escalate to a major aircraft incident.

The build up of DGR can contain many different classes and providing these classes are loaded in accordance with regulations there is minimal chance of any incident happening. Staff are trained to use a ‘Compatibility Chart’ which details all the loading requirements for all classes for transportation by air. At this point both cargo and documentation have been checked but shipments should always be visibly re-checked before build up commences, as damage can occur during storage/movement within the warehouse. If there’s any doubt then the shipment does not fly.

ULDs containing packages with large amounts of DGR and loaded onto a Cargo Aircraft have to be loaded so these packages are ‘accessible’ during flight in the event of any incident occurring during flight. This is why the holds (Lower Deck – Main Deck are the passengers) of a passenger aircraft are known as ‘inaccessible holds’ meaning there is no way to gain access to anything loaded here during flight and also why such smaller amounts of Dangerous Goods are allowed on such aircraft types.

There is a lot of skill and expertise in building such Main Deck ULDs to make every carton ‘accessible’ during flight. This is done by building ‘gangways’ between each row of goods built therefore making each carton accessible in the event of leakage etc. Remember these shipments are built on the main deck so the flight crew have immediate access to all cargo loaded on the main deck providing such gangways are created.

There are specific ULDs made for such purposes.This image shows the walkways between each row of dangerous goods. Certain ULDs are built with additional tie-down rails solely for the purpose of creating walkways therefore making the cargo accessible during flight.

The loading of these ULDs is then done using the Compatibility Chart. Once staff are trained in DG and using the chart, the process begins by determination of DG classes, how much of each have you to safely load before the building and securing of such ULDs are complete. Companies create their own charts but the end result and requirements must always be the same.

Although there are many stringent checks to follow when accepting or loading DG, it is important to remember that cartons, drums or crates can only be secured by what you can visibly see – loaders have no idea of the contents and more importantly how it has been loaded which is why such checks are created.

Doing the job properly and professionally will ensure that this is not your fault!

Lithium Batteries to be banned from passenger aircraft bellies?

The ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel has proposed that the carriage of lithium metal batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft be prohibited, effective 1 January 2015…

Cargo Facts Article
Air Cargo World Article

Mishandling Dangerous Goods

In May 1996 a cargo loader placed boxes containing 144 out-of- date oxygen generators, loosely packed in double wrap, around an aircraft tyre in the cargo hold. As the aircraft moved towards to runway, one of the oxygen generators started burning. This then spread to all of the oxygen generators and as the surface of the metal generator got hotter, the box and double wrap caught fire. The aircraft crashed, killing all on board.

Dangerous Goods Awareness

DGR Training Video

More information?

For comprehensive information from IATA on the Dangerous Goods Regulations visit their website:


If you have any questions on the topics discussed here mail us at:



Dangerous Goods 4: Hermes Automatic Update Service

Some items may endanger the safety of an aircraft or persons on board it. The air transportation of these dangerous materials can either be forbidden or restricted, so in order to ship dangerous goods, consignors are required to prepare a form certifying that the cargo has been packed, labelled and declared according to the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR). Handlers needs the skills to accept, handle and process shipments containing dangerous goods and the process can be a time-consuming one when done manually.

In 2006 a Dangerous Goods (DGR) module was built inside the Hermes air cargo handling system with the aim of supplying a complete end to end DGR checking system to help DGR accurately check a Shippers Declaration according to IATA DGR aviation rules.

In its early days Hermes was supplied without dangerous goods data and was therefore only used by a couple of handlers who had the ability and the desire to update and maintain their own DGR data.

In 2010, in a bid to make the DGR data much more easily accessible to our customers, Hermes started work on a project to design and develop an automated update service that would not only install, but also update, the full set of DGR data quickly and easily.

Partnering with the DGM Software Development Group, who are experts in supplying and updating dangerous goods data, we designed a database which can be loaded with the Hermes air cargo management system.

This database contains the latest, most up-to-date dangerous goods information based on the applicable ICAO Technical Instructions which is supplemented with the IATA DGR information.

The Hermes DGR database is maintained constantly by the DGM-SDG experts and updated at least twice a year, or when regulatory changes require an update to be made. The dangerous goods database contains the following:

  • DGR Regulations (UN/PSNs) – Includes Appendix C (table C1 & C2)
  • State variations
  • Operator variations
  • Special provisions
  • Packing Instructions for each individual substance
  • Radionuclides

All of the data is created with an active and deactivation date which ensures the DGR user base are always using the most current set of DGR data. For instance, the new IATA DGR regulations are typically published in the final third of the year. For Hermes users, this means the dataset can be supplied, checked and installed months before the year start and users will use the old data until the first day of the year when the new data will become active.

The addition of the “one button” updates service has seen the DGR customer base grow, as in the past DGR users would get a new DGR manual at the beginning of the year and not receive any updates until the following publication (unless the DGR department checks for new IATA addendum).

Now, this process is much simpler. DGM maintain the data updates according to any published addendum released by the industry. Every update is sent to Hermes where it is installed in our test environment and checked. When the data has passed this check, it is published to the Hermes DGR user group via the web, an e-mail advises the user group that there is a DGR data update and the installation process (one button press) can be launched at any time that is convenient.

About DGM Software Development Group

DGM Software Development Group (DGM-SDG) has its roots back in 1994 in the Netherlands. The first software developed was meant for internal use but was quickly noticed by customers who showed interest in purchasing a license. Twenty years later DGM- SDG is based in Denmark and has grown to be the world’s leading IT solutions provider for the Dangerous Goods Transportation Industry, offering complete software packages, web services and databases on dangerous goods for all modes of transport.

DGM-SDG is member of the international Dangerous Goods Management group of companies which currently counts 52 offices in 29 countries and employs over 500 dangerous goods experts. The DGM Group is an IATA Strategic Partner, holds an observer seat in the IATA Dangerous Goods Board and is a Top Ten IATA ATS.

DGM-SDG is an active partner in the IATA e-freight project and more specifically in designing and testing the cargo XML standard for dangerous goods. DGM-SDG is also a corporate member of TIACA.

How do I know if my product is considered to be Dangerous Goods?

The Regulations place the responsibility for correct classification of dangerous goods on the shipper.

Classification criteria for each class and division of dangerous goods is stipulated in DGR Section 3.

Advice on the correct classification of a substance should be sought from the manufacturer or distributor of the substance.

Hermes & DGR

The integrated Hermes DGR system can assist your users in the correct checking of Dangerous Goods shipper’s declarations.

This full check solution includes:

  • Fully updated and date relevant DGR data used in the check process, ensuring your staff are using the most recent DGR data
  • Full handheld package checks
  • Automated checklists production
  • One button NOTOC production
  • ADR compliant
  • Message support for FDD (in/out), NTM & NOT

This check solution is supported by our DGR data suppliers DGM-SDG.

More information?

For comprehensive information from IATA on the Dangerous Goods Regulations visit their website:


if you have any questions on the topics discussed here mail us at:


Dangerous Goods 3: The Hermes Dangerous Goods Module

Dangerous Goods (DGR) is probably one of the most important functions when working within the air cargo industry and being accurate is probably the single most important attribute a ground handler can possess, given that failure to properly check goods before transportation or to pass goods with unsuitable packaging or incorrect labelling could have serious consequences for both the ground handler and the airline.

In 2006 the DGR module was developed inside the main Hermes Air Cargo management system. This automated, integrated module was developed to supply a highly accurate complete end to end DGR checking system that would assist DGR users in checking a Shippers Declaration according to IATA DGR aviation rules.

The DGR module has seven main objectives:

  1. Prevent unchecked DGR shipments from being loaded to a flight.
  2. Assist users in accurately checking shipper’s declarations.
  3. Display relevant State & Operator variations and Special Provisions relating to the shipment.
  4. Physical check of the packages using a mobile device.
  5. The control of rejected DGR shipments
  6. Produce fully completed DGR Checklists.
  7. Produce Dangerous goods data for the Notification to Captain (NOTOC).
  8. Produce ADR manifests (Carriage of DGR by Road).

The Hermes DGR system uses a set of questions which are a subset of the airlines DGR checklist. These questions drive the users in checking the required aspects of the DGR shipment and uses a set of rules to determine when and where a question will be used.

DGR Check Types

Currently the Hermes DGR system has specific checks relating to various types of DGR shipment:

  • Non-radioactive
  • Radioactive
  • Dry Ice
  • Expected
  • Expected radioactive
  • Lithium Batteries, Biological Substances

The Overpack and All in One package types are also supported with the “Q value” used in the All in One check automatically calculated and displayed.

Handheld Check

Is the packaging suitable for the packing instruction used and correctly marked? Are the labels clearly visible?

The Hermes handheld DGR package check uses a set of questions and label images to assist the DGR checker to identify if the shipment is packed and marked according to regulations. Because of the level of information shown during the handheld DGR check, it is necessary to take the shippers declaration to the warehouse for the package check.

Notification to Captain (NOTOC)

During the handheld DGR check, the checker defines the different DGR items into separate barcode identifiers. This means that when loading the barcode to a ULD the system knows the DGR items assigned to that barcode and therefore the NOTOC production is a simple case of loading the goods to a ULD. There is no need to define the DGR item to a ULD as this is an automatic process.

‘Other special Loads’ – is also covered in the DGR module. By carrier set-up the SHCs that should appear in the “Other special loads” section of the NOTOC will appear automatically, if the loaded shipment bears one of the SHCs then it appears in the NOTOC.

The NOTOC messages NOT and NTM are supported.

Discrepancy Handling

Discrepancies notified during the check process are identified and immediately the shipment is blocked for loading until the shipment has been re-checked and the discrepancies have been confirmed as resolved.

FDD Messages

A new feature of the DGR system is the acceptance and processing of the incoming FDD message. Shippers declarations sent electronically can be processed and the data populated into the DGR system for checking. Sending the FDD message out is also supported

Hermes User Recognised for its DGR work

Late last year, Hermes user, LUG Air cargo Handling, was recognised with a DGR Awareness Award in appreciation of the keen efforts of the LUG DGR team for compliance, handling and reporting.

This new initiative by Cargolux Airlines International, was developed to emphasise the importance of careful and proper DGR handling and to recognise the efforts of those who demonstrate a high level of awareness and diligence when handling DGR in their daily work.

Andreas Wetz, DG Manager at LUG told us: “The DGR check for documents and packages is performed in Hermes directly after freight acceptance, so all the relevant data for storage limits, NOTOCs or ADRs is already available within the system reducing the pressure on our staff. The Hermes DGR system also helps to easily avoid the loading of rejected or unchecked shipments.”

DGR Data Configurations

The Hermes DGR system is available to customers in either of two configurations:

Fully Maintained – where a full set of DGR data is supplied by our partners DGM-SDG (more information on the simple one button upload process will follow in the next newsletter).

Questions – Are an integral part of checking the shipment, a full set of questions are supplied in the integration stage and can be maintained internally by your own administrator if required

Self-Maintained – where an administrator is required to update the full set of the dangerous goods data required to run the DGR system and also define a full set of questions.

In both modes, all dangerous good data is dated. This means the DGR check is completed using data that is relevant according to the date of the shipper’s declaration.

Hermes & DGR

The integrated Hermes DGR system can assist your users in the correct checking of Dangerous Goods shipper’s declarations.

This full check solution includes:

  • Fully updated and date relevant DGR data used in the check process, ensuring your staff are using the most recent DGR data
  • Full handheld package checks
  • Automated checklists production
  • One button NOTOC production
  • ADR compliant
  • Message support for FDD (in/out), NTM & NOT

More information?

For comprehensive information from IATA on the Dangerous Goods Regulations visit their website:


If you have any questions on the topics discussed here mail us at

Dangerous Goods 2: DGR Checking

Our first DGR newsletter last month touched on the rules, restrictions and regulations involved with the shipping of dangerous goods. This issue looks more closely at the roles of the people working with DGR who are key in making sure shippers comply with air regulations and any potential risks are minimised.

The transportation of some items may endanger the safety of an aircraft or the people on board. These are classified as dangerous goods and it is the ground handler’s duty to establish that all relevant checks have been carried out, any irregularities have been reported and that all shipments are correctly packed, labelled and documented before they are transported.


The main responsibility for a Dangerous Goods (DGR) shipment lies with the shipper or packer. Whoever signs the “shipper’s declaration” bears the main responsibility that the shipment is declared and packed according to the regulations for transport by air.

DGR Checker

DGR checkers, employed by the airline or ground handler (GHA), perform an equally important role in ensuring the shipment is “declared and packed” according to the current IATA regulations.

However, the airline or GHA representative rarely looks inside the package to check the shipment has been packed according to the declaration

This is not practiced for obvious reasons (for example, possible contamination, dangers to personnel if there is some leakage) and the Airline accepts the signature of the shipper as proof that the contents inside the package are correctly declared.


The actual dangerous goods check performed in the warehouse of the airline/ GHA is only part of the process.

Some substances can react very dangerously if they come into contact with each other, so every airline or GHA must ensure the Dangerous Goods shipment is stored correctly. This responsibility falls to the warehouse operators who need to be aware of, and ensure they follow, DGR class segregation guidelines covering storage in the warehouse.

The warehouse operator may also be restricted in the amount of dangerous goods that can be stored. If there was a fire in the facility the stored dangerous goods could make matters much worse. Therefore, in the event of an emergency the warehouse operator must be able to provide the fire authorities with an inventory of dangerous goods. Or at the very least, be able to advise the fire crews where in the warehouse they are being stored.

Handlers & Loaders

All handlers and loaders of DGR shipments must receive training in the correct handling of the DGR shipments. Segregation must be strictly enforced to ensure that all the loaded DGR shipments are compatible with each other and that when they are loaded onto the aircraft that no incompatible shipments come into contact with each other.

Lashing of DGR shipments is also a big part of the loaders responsibility, if the shipment is not held in place by other cargo then the loader will need to tie the shipment to the loading equipment to ensure there is no possible way the package can move inflight.

DGR shipments containing substances with a serious hazard must be placed on the outside edge of the pallet to ensure visibility, as loading crews may need to identify the location of the hazard before loading to the aircraft.


Aircraft load crews are also involved in the DGR process chain and can quickly identify DGR loaded by a special pallet tag. All DGR shipments are declared by the airline or GHA onto a Notification to Captain (NOTOC). This document (or message) is used by the flight crew to identify what DGR shipments are included in the load. In the event of a flight emergency the crew will need to advise air traffic control of any hazards on board the aircraft.

Interesting Fact

The shipping of Dangerous Goods by air is big business and almost all commercial flights will carry dangerous goods of some kind in the lower holds. Anything from explosives to radioactive materials can all be loaded in the holds below passengers.

Enjoy your next flight!

Airlines take the safety of its aircraft, passengers and crew very seriously.

Any breach in the regulations by a GHA can bring significant penalties. Small clerical errors (even those that pose no danger) are still treated very seriously. In some cases an airline can impose a “double check” culture where every shipment must be checked twice by the GHA staff.

Hermes & DGR

The integrated Hermes DGR system can assist your users in the correct checking of Dangerous Goods shipper’s declarations.

This full check solution includes:

  • Fully updated and date relevant DGR data used in the check process, ensuring your staff are using the most recent DGR data
  • Full handheld package checks
  • Automated checklists production
  • One button NOTOC production
  • ADR compliant
  • Message support for FDD (in/out), NTM & NOT

This check solution is supported by our DGR data suppliers DGM.

More information?

For comprehensive information from IATA on the Dangerous Goods Regulations visit their website:


If you have any questions on the topics discussed here mail us at

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