From explosives and infectious substances to batteries and perfumes, hazardous materials span an array of commodities warranting a dangerous goods classification. Regardless of functionality, hazardous materials must be documented, handled, labeled, and transported in a cautious manner. There is a meticulous process and strict regulations dedicated to the storage and transportation of dangerous goods whether traveling by ground, air, or sea.
“Non-compliance with hazardous material shipping regulations can be costly. Recently, the FAA proposed a $140,000 fine against a major retailer due to improper shipping-paper declarations for the hazardous materials in their 3-ounce bottles of nail color and 5-ounce containers of sun block; the nail color should have been classified as a flammable liquid and the sun block a flammable gas. And a leading pharmaceutical distribution company received a $91,000 fine because they made an undeclared shipment of skin care products containing alcohol.” [White Paper on Hazardous Materials Compliance from Berlin Packaging]
Certifying the legitimacy and comprehensible knowledge that your logistics provider has acquired regarding the transportation and full process of moving dangerous goods is not only imperative to a hazardous shipment, but indispensable. When shopping logistics companies, be sure to reference the following within the acquiring phase. This will help you (as a shipper) grasp the knowledge of the freight forwarder and the experience they have with dangerous goods:
Inquire about the international guidelines of a hazardous shipment provided in the UN Model Regulations.
Ask the differences (if any) in shipping via air or ocean.
Ask about ongoing employee hazmat training and certification.
Do they have a Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on your hazardous material?
Do they know if your shipment packaging has been tested?
The aforementioned are merely brief assertations in the technical world of shipping dangerous goods, but will alleviate apprehension when your freight forwarder provides confident answers to you in a timely manner. Having basic knowledge of logistics as a shipper can save crucial time.
From here there are 6 steps in safely shipping dangerous goods. The shipper or freight forwarder must:
Choose appropriate classification.
Package suitably in accordance to updated regulations.
Mark packages with proper information.
Label package with DOT Hazard Class.
Shipping paper included and detailed for each dangerous good.
Placard placement for ease of visibility.
Shipping hazardous materials can be excessive and meticulous. Logistic companies are here to help streamline the process. Ensure that the forwarder you choose is fluent in all incorporated aspects, from international procedure to industry wide standards. Minimizing risks and effectively transporting your materials are all part of an ever-evolving compliant management process employed by top international logistics companies.
If you have any other questions involving dangerous goods shipments, or would like a quote, reach out to us HERE.