Hoverboards Now On The Nose With Airlines Shipping Companies & Boring NSW Minister

Written by David Richards     29/11/2015 | 00:00 | Category: INDUSTRY

Several airlines along with some airports in Asia have banned the carriage of hoverboard that are currently flying off the shelves of retailers JB Hi Fi and Harvey Norman, due to problems with Lithium batteries that are used to power the devices.

Hoverboards Now On The Nose With Airlines Shipping Companies & Boring NSW Minister
Australian airways  officials have chosen not to support a call for a ban on the carriage lithium batteries that have been deemed as dangerous goods. 

Hoverboard have already been banned from being used on public streets in New York and London due them being unsafe devices that could result in injury for those riding the boards and people around the boards on public streets.

However California has approved Hoverboards for use on their streets from January 1.

Now pain in the backside NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay, has warned that anyone caught using this year's hottest toy on the streets will be whacked with a big fine.

Gay who loves collecting money from motorists with his red light cameras and roadside speed cameras has said that the "contraptions" are illegal on NSW roads and footpaths - and anyone caught breaking the law would cop a fine of up to $637.

He bleated last week that they "don't have adequate brakes" and don't have lights or indicators.

He further went on on claiming "What's more, riders endanger themselves because they're unprotected around other vehicles," he said.

What's odd is that a consumer can fall off a bicycle as easy as a hoverboard but Gay goes out of his way to support cyclists who are constantly being killed on Australian roads. 

He has also not mentioned drones that could easily stop flying when the battery runs out.

Late last week the Irish Consumer Protection Commission seized 1,400 "hoverboard" at Dublin Port.

The devices were prevented from entering the Irish market due to what the commission says are "significant safety concerns".

In early November, Customs Authorities notified the Commission about the arrival of the shipment.

 The commission's product safety division then examined a sample of the products and identified a number of serious safety concerns which resulted in their importation being suspended.

The goods are due to be returned to the country of their origin.

Distributors in Australia are also facing bans by sea freight companies who fear the devices could cause fires in shipping containers.

Melbourne based Company Kaiser Baas who is selling Hoverboards into Harvey Norman and JB HI Fi has already been forced to move a shipment from one shipping Company to another because of concerns that the batteries used in the Hoverboard are dangerous when confined in small spaces.

Evan Kourambas the Managing Director of Kaiser Baas "It is becoming more and more difficult to ship a hoverboard due to the lithium batteries. Several airlines and some airports have banned shipments. We recently had to change containers due to concerns over the batteries" he said. 

At one stage investigators were looking at whether it could have been 221kg of Lithium batteries in the hold of Malaysian airliner MH 370 that resulted in the aeroplane disappearing.   

US pilot and aviation engineer Bruce Robertson suggested at the time that the lithium ion batteries caught fire sending a cloud of deadly carbon monoxide into the cabin.

Recently a UN aviation panel rejected a ban on Lithium rechargeable battery shipments on passenger airliners despite evidence they can cause explosions and unstoppable, in-flight fires.

Australia voted against the ban.

According to analysts in Hong Kong, billions of the lithium-ion batteries are used to power consumer electronics, ranging from mobile smartphones and laptops to power tools and toothbrushes. Tens of thousands of the batteries are often shipped on a single plane.

US Federal Aviation Administration tests show small quantities of overheated lithium-ion batteries can cause explosions that can disable aircraft fire protection systems. 

The explosions knock panels off the interior walls of cargo compartments, allowing halon gas _ the fire suppression system used in airliners _ to escape and dissipate. With no halon, a fire could rage unchecked and lead to the destruction of the plane.

The aviation organization, also called ICAO, is the United Nations agency that sets international aviation standards they claim that it is It's up to aviation authorities in Australia as to whether they allow shipments of the batteries.

The battery industry and companies that rely on battery shipments have long said that the problem should be addressed by cracking down on shady battery makers who don't use proper shipping procedures. 

Recently Samsung got into the Lithium battery business with many in the industry seeing them as responsible battery manufacturers over what has been described as "dodgy" Chinese Lithium battery manufacturers. 

The UN panel did agree that the number of batteries that can be shipped without requiring the shipper to inform the airline that the shipment contains batteries should be severely limited. 

Currently, shippers can bundle as many small packages of batteries as they like into a single, larger container.
The panel also agreed that batteries offered for shipment should be only 30 percent charged. The lower the charge, the lower the likelihood of a fire.

ICAO sent an alert to Australian airlines Qantas and Virgin Australia recently urging that they conduct risk assessments on how to safely handle the shipments.

Opponents of the ban argued that the decision on whether to accept battery shipments should be left up airlines, the officials said. 

As the result of the US testing, nearly 30 airlines around the world say they no longer accept bulk battery shipments as cargo, but many other airlines continue to accept the shipments.

However, supporters of the ban pointed out that airlines may have trouble accurately assessing the risk posed by battery shipments if they don't know how many batteries they'll have on board. 

The changes approved by the panel don't limit how many undeclared, small battery packages can be shipped on a single plane, only on how many can be packed together into a single shipment.

Earlier this year, the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations, led by aircraft makers Boeing and Airbus, urged a ban on bulk battery shipments on passenger airline, saying that continuing to permit the shipments is "an unacceptable risk.

'' Airliners aren't designed to withstand the intense fires the batteries are capable of creating, the council said.

Despite the extensive testing, it wasn't until earlier this month that U.S. government said publicly for the first time that the battery shipments are too dangerous to be allowed on passenger planes and that it would back a ban proposed by the pilot's association.

"We believe the risk is immediate and urgent,'' Angela Stubblefield, a Federal Aviation Administration hazardous materials safety official, said at a Department of Transportation meeting in the USA on October 8.