August 26, 2014
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A two-tonne consignment aboard the ill-fated MH370 flight is believed to comprise walkie-talkies, lithium ion batteries and their chargers.
The cargo manifest released in the preliminary report of the incident shows that the plane was carrying 200kg of the batteries while the balance is said to be “radio accessories and chargers”.
The revelation by Malaysia Airlines confirms a report by fz.com on March 25 that revealed that the shipper of the lithium ion batteries, walkie-talkies and chargers was Motorola.
Quoting a source at that time, fz.com reported that the goods were shipped from the factory’s facility in Penang.
The goods were sent by lorries to the KL International Airport, and based on the master air waybill, the items were sent from Penang on March 6.
Of the 2.4 tonnes that was shipped from the plant in Penang, only about 200kg comprised the batteries.
Though the cargo manifest and master air waybill indicated lithium ion batteries, it did not reveal that walkie-talkies made up the rest of the consignment.
MAS later said in a statement that they were “radio accessories and chargers”.
The air waybill prepared by NNR Global Logistics Sdn Bhd on behalf of its client, Motorola, showed that two loads were packed, one being 1,990kg for 133 pieces and another being 463kg for 67 pieces.
The batteries and accompanying goods were later shipped by NNR Global Logistics, while the balance divided into “13 packages”, were forwarded by Kerry Logistics (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.
The cargo manifest showed the plane carried 9,947kg in three large shipments.
While mangosteens from Muar, Johor weighed the heaviest at 4,566kg and the 2,453kg worth of lithium ion batteries and accompanying goods (written up only as “consolidated”) are more or less accounted for, the other 2,250kg of “consolidated” items have sparked interest.
A source familiar with aviation forwarding industry practices said the mystery surrounding the cargo manifest and the exact loads that went onto the ill-fated MH370 can only be resolved if MAS revealed the house air waybills.
The source added that without the house air waybill and the packing list, the cargo manifest and the master air waybill were redundant because only those two documents would properly state the goods and the shipper.
“It is understandable that MAS cannot reveal the other two documents simply because they may not have it.
“As for the house air waybill and packing list, the Customs Department, the freight forwarder and the shipper should come forward and reveal them,” he said.
Days after the Beijing-bound flight went missing along with 239 passengers and the crew on March 8, Malaysia Airlines chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said the plane was carrying 200kg of “small” lithium ion batteries.
He said the load was not considered hazardous as it was packaged in accordance to safety regulations.
In response, the aviation source said though the shipment contained batteries and declared as dangerous goods, they are within specified permissible levels.
“The dangerous threshold for lithium ion batteries is not measured by its weight but its watt per hour measurement. For instance, a handphone probably would measure 100 grams watt per hour which is not lethal.
“The watt per hour measurement indicates the battery activity by the hour,” he had said while cautioning that forwarding companies and shippers often failed to declare “hidden dangerous goods” in the shipment.
These include flammable liquids, lubricants, corrosive and oxidising materials that could and have resulted in fires onboard flights, he said.