Transporting dangerous goods
Radharamanan Panicker, a well-known cargo industry professional and long-standing CEO of Cargo Service Center (CSC) quit the company on June 30, 2014 after more than 19 years at its helm. In conversation with CARGOTALK, he talks about his three months of
What are your plans ahead?
I took a much-needed rest of two weeks after more than 25 years of hectic corporate life in the logistics and express industry. The rest had profound impact on me and made me reflect on what I had achieved in these many years and what I want to do now.
Towards the end of exploring business opportunities, I am currently engaged in several discussions with prospective partners for joint ventures in areas of my keen interest-cargo warehousing and handling, perishable logistics and dangerous goods logistics.
While exploring these ideas and venture, one project that is close to my heart is training in the area of logistics and dangerous goods regulations. I feel there is lot to contribute to the development of professionals for the industry.
You are currently busy with DGM India. Can you elaborate what the project is about?
The industry both consumes and creates an abundance of hazardous material that must be stored, handled and also transported across the globe. Dangerous goods are substances, by virtue of their chemical, physical and or toxicological properties pose risk to health, safety, property or the environment. What differentiates dangerous goods from other types of cargo is the risk associated with the accidental release of material during storage, transportation and handling.
Some years back, I had taken the franchise for DGM in India and that is what DGM India is all about. DGM India is an IATA Authorised Training School and also approved by Director General of Civil Aviation to conduct dangerous goods regulation course. Actually, the company is nearly nine years old, but I had no time, busy as I was with the development of CSC.
Now that I have left CSC, I have taken full control of the company and aim to take it to a higher level of growth.
What are the inherent risks and how is DGM safeguarded against them?
When one signs the shipper’s declaration, he takes a big risk of stating that he is in compliance with all international and national regulation, when he may actually not aware about all the regulations.
The second risk is he uses sub-standard packaging material to save costs. In dangerous goods business, you cannot cut corners and unfortunately in India we have too many fake packages being sold.
We take the onus of signing the shipper’s declaration on behalf of the shippers. But a DGM company globally follows a very strict Standard Operating Procedure on which we are regularly audited.
You mentioned that DGM India is also doing training courses...
DGM India to conducts training in the regulation on transport of dangerous goods by air (IATA DGR) for various categories of personnel involved in the air cargo supply chain from shippers to airline staff.
DGM India has been conducting the courses since last six years. We have held more than 50 initial courses of six days and 20 recurrent courses and we intend to scale this up to more than double now. Globally, the DGM Group is the biggest in terms of IATA ATS courses.
DGM India also provides training in the regulation on transport of dangerous goods by sea (IMDG Code), but only for corporate at the moment. We have done more than 15 such courses till date and will now expand our activities in due course of time.