Providing an umbrella for ‘dangerous goods’
When transporting dangerous goods, it is essential that the transport is conducted safely; and packaging, handling and labelling play a unique role in the logistics of dangerous goods. CARGOTALK throws light on the consequences of inappropriate packaging
Abhijeet Verma MD & CEO, Abhijeet Logistics
Transporting dangerous goods by any mode of transportation (air, sea or surface) requires a lot of technical know-how and must be done in a responsible manner. It is the not only shippers’ responsibility but everyone is involved in the logistics chain. Lack of expertise and non-compliance with the rules and regulations in the carriage of dangerous goods can cause serious injury and death and can seriously damage property and the environment.
Packaging is a very essential component in the safe transport of dangerous goods by air or sea. IATA and IMDG regulations must be referred to for the safe transportation of dangerous goods by air and sea.The regulations limit the quantity of dangerous goods permitted within the packaging to minimise the risk. Even though the packing done follows the regulations, proper handling should be done to avoid an incident occurring at any point during carriage. It is the responsibility of the operator to ensure proper acceptance, loading and handling of dangerous goods. Inadequate packaging and handling may pose a risk to health, safety, property or the environment. The accidents or incidents occurring due to non-compliance with the regulations can be fatal at times. Such incidents, if occur, must be reported so that an investigation by the relevant authorities can establish the cause and take corrective action.
RG Panicker DDP Game Changer 2015 & Managing Director, DGM India
Aircraft flies generally at the altitude of 30,000 to 35,000 ft. where the outside pressure is 3.5 psi and temperature at -55 C while the normal pressure and temperature at sea level is 14.69 psi and 20 to 30 C. Therefore the aircraft when flying passengers maintain the cabin pressure and temperature at 11 psi and 20 C respectively. Moreover, when they take off and land, huge vibration is created due to sudden acceleration and also de-acceleration when landing. These difference in temperature and pressure and vibration, creates immense amount of pressure and stress on any packages loaded inside the aircraft.
Thus inappropriate packages can burst during the flight due to effects of temperature and pressure changes and vibrations and turbulence. The key to safe transport is to ensure that the substance doesn’t leak from its packaging. The consequences of this leakage can be dangerous the aircraft and passenger. Similar situation can arise in sea transport as well due to sheer huge volume that is carried in containers.
Packaging packs a vital role in ensuring dangerous goods don’t leak outside the containment risking life, property, health and environment. Appropriate packaging in context of dangerous goods means that every package used for packing such substances or articles for purpose of transporting it, must be made as per specification provided in the UN Manual of criteria and test. Once manufactured, they must be tested rigorously and certified for use, before being used for packing dangerous goods. Such packages are called UN Specification package usually identified by the UN symbol .
To ensure that the trade is not burdened with high cost of packaging while sending samples for testing or very small quantity, there is provision called ‘excepted package’ and ‘limited quantity package’ which can used. Such provision can be used only by having combination packaging (which consist of one inner package into which the contents are packed and one outer packaging). Restriction on weight per package also applies.
Harpreet Singh Malhotra Managing Director, Tiger Logistics
The ‘Dangerous Goods’, also known as hazmat/hazardous shipments and requires more attention to detail than transporting regular goods. As far as ‘Dangerous Goods’ are concerned, proper packaging is a key to the safe transport, no matter it is via sea or air. Dangerous goods should be in suitable containers with sufficient cushioning, absorbent materials, and secure closures which will keep hazmat where it belongs inside the package.
Tiger Logistics pay special attention to the complex requirements which govern each transportation mode, and the rules may vary in different locations. As the compliance is critical; getting it wrong can translate into heavy fines, undelivered products, or lost market share opportunities. We serve the chemical, petrochemical, polymer, biofuels, life science and food ingredient sectors, across commodity, intermediate, and specialty chemical supply chains.
Exporter/importer must understand the distribution environment; first it is necessary to identify which transport modes will deliver hazardous products to desired destination and then the required regulatory steps. The fixed rule is to document everything; detailed paperwork describing the contents of hazardous shipment helps ensure proper handling and movement throughout its journey. Team of expert marks and labels all shipments prior to handling the package, that the contents carry inherent risks if involved in a fire or accident. However, remove all unrelated markings and labelling so that handlers only see relevant information.