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.

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