One of the most frustrating issues with shipping dangerous goods is finding a carrier that will transport the goods. When a client contacts us for repackaging services, besides the DG information, I always ask if they have arranged a carrier to transport their goods. Most of the time it’s a “no”. Then I get started with what their options are; ground or air.
For shipments going from Canada to the US, believe it or not, it is easier to ship by air than ground. Of course, it does depend on the quantity being shipped and whether the DG is allowed for air transport. It is definitely more cost-effective to send anything via ground than air; however, that is not always true especially for small DG shipments. I have been told that sending a small, e.g., 20 lbs, DG package by air will cost about the same as sending it via ground.
Carriers such as FedEx and Purolator do not haul DG packages from Canada to the US via ground service. They do offer air but not ground. UPS which offers both air and ground does transport certain dangerous goods (just check for limitations on the UN# being shipped on UPS’s website under “UPS Dangerous Goods Acceptance Tool” prior to shipping) from Canada to the US but you must have a DG account set up with them.
Have you ever been in a situation where you understand “it” clearly, but the person you are explaining “it” to just does not get it? Frustrating, eh! Well I recently had this fun experience.
We did a repackaging job for one of our clients a couple of weeks ago. He was shipping a switch, which had a very small amount of mercury inside it. He told us maybe 0.5 kg of mercury – if that – and this shipment needs to go via air transport. Since he isn’t certified for air transport, he needed our services.
We classified the switch as UN3506, Mercury contained in manufactured articles. We packaged the shipment according to packing instruction 869, and as per special provision A191 since the article contained less than 5 kg of mercury. We did not add the subsidiary hazard label (class 6.1), and included “A191” in the authorization column of the shipper’s declaration.
We sent out the package. This was on Friday.
On Monday we got the package back. If there is something to note about me it is that I don’t take rejected packages lightly. It hits close to heart that I made a mistake. Took a look at the checklist, and it was rejected because the carrier’s DG Agent took the weight on the shipper’s declaration as the net weight of the mercury inside the package, and claimed Continue Reading…
For many of us who
have been preparing international ocean shipments for sometime now we know that
the requirements of what needs to be included on the IMO declaration hasn’t
changed all that much.
One of the biggest frustrations is when carriers or agents of carriers reject the IMO declaration because the inner quantity information is not provided on the actual declaration. I know carriers need to enter information in their internal system for acceptance of shipments (DG or not), and perhaps the system requires the breakdown of inner packaging but why is the IMO declaration being rejected? This information can be provided on an alternate document (i.e., packing list).
As per section 126.96.36.199.1 of the IMDG Code “The number, type and capacity of each inner packaging within the outer packaging of a combination packaging is not required to be indicated.” The Code never asked for it; however, a few editions back, “they” clarified it by adding the above quoted note. And I for one am grateful for it because now when someone comes back stating the declaration is incorrect, I just scan, highlight this section from the Code, and email it to them. I am not trying to be a smart-ass, but for me it’s about educating others. They can read that specific section to avoid future hindrance with others. This goes for me as well. I appreciate it Continue Reading…
Almost always the authorization column in the shipper’s declaration is left blank, but when you need to add something in there, you must add it in there. Section 188.8.131.52.4 of the IATA Regulations provides when and what to add when required. Now sometimes we forget to read the “notes” in the Regulations.
Here’s my story
A customer called in first thing Monday morning to get help on shipping an engine. It was an urgent shipment, and he had to get it out ASAP. I said, “No problem. We can help.” It’s what we do. It was going via air, and since it was a domestic shipment he can drop the shipment off to the airline directly for it to leave later that day.
Packaging for an engine
Engines vary in size, clearly. I asked our customer if his engine was packaged, and he said no, but it was strapped on a wooden pallet with 2×4 lumber on corners of the pallet for support. So, I asked him to email me a picture to understand what he meant by that. The picture showed the engine was visible, and the corners with the lumber in upright position did not affect the identification of the engine. I told our customer that all he needed was the shipper’s declaration. We created the declaration, he picked up the colored copies from our office and dropped Continue Reading…
This was the plastic drum used for shipping UN1760, PG II product.
I received a call from one of our clients to assist them with a rejected shipment. They are air certified but they don’t ship via air that often; hence, why they had some issues and needed our expertise. For the folks that ship air regularly, we all know that if you don’t cross your “t” and dot your “i” it won’t go and it can be frustrating for those shipping via air infrequently.
1H2 or 1H1?
The shipment consisted of 2 plastic pails which was dropped to our location by the carrier as directed by our client. First thing I look for is if the pails are UN standardized and yes, they were. Based on the quantity limit per package, it had to go cargo aircraft only and must follow packing instruction 855. Looked at PI 855 and sure enough a “1H2” is not permitted to be used as a single packaging. Our client mainly ships ground and this pail is acceptable for ground shipping but since it’s going via air and it’s PG II, it must be a closed head drum, a 1H1.
Yes, it’s very frustrating. Called our client back and advised him it can’t go the way it’s currently packaged. Must be transferred into a 1H1 or another closed head single Continue Reading…
What do you do when your shipment involves two air carriers, but they are not interline?
It is common for one shipment to travel with multiple air carriers; however, almost all are interline which means they will coordinate and transfer shipments among themselves without issues. It helps when there is a freight forwarder involved who will take on this task for us, as we would expect them to take on all the coordination of a shipment. In some cases when the shipper is doing it all themselves, it can be challenging … like last week.
Let Me Set the Scene
The shipper is in Vancouver, BC and is shipping a variety of products (DG and non-DG) to 2 different communities in Northern Canada. They decided to do the logistics themselves. Since they don’t have air certification they asked for our repackaging services for the DG. The DG included some compressed cylinders, batteries, and life saving appliances. All commodities are acceptable for air transport. There would be 3 pallets leaving from Vancouver; 2 pallets are destined for one community and 1 pallet is destined for another community.
Here is the Issue
All 3 pallets are going to Ottawa, ON first. From there 2 of the pallets are going to one community and 1 pallet to another. All 3 pallets are going on Air Canada from Vancouver to Ottawa, from Ottawa the pallets Continue Reading…
Can you ship DG and non-DG Together in One Package?
Surprisingly this is pretty common. Normally the answer is, “Sure.”
However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes a dangerous goods commodity can react with a non-dangerous goods commodity. I do come across this type of situation occasionally.
Shipping from Canada to USA via Air
Earlier this week a client dropped off 2 different product samples going to USA via air transport. He provided the SDS for both products, one was DG and the other not. He asked if both samples can go together in one package. I told him, “Maybe.” Without consulting the SDSs and gathering more information I couldn’t be sure. If they are compatible, then I can package them together.
I used to work in the carrier industry so I know it’s better to consolidate than to have a multiple piece shipment. Most times all the pieces will arrive together, but there is a chance they may not. So for me, personally, I prefer to minimize the number of packages, which means using a bigger box if I need to.
So back to this. I checked the SDS for both and the one that was DG was a corrosive material.
The non-DG product requires a more thorough read-through to see which material this material was incompatible with and in Section 10: Stability and Reactivity it said incompatible with oxidizing materials Continue Reading…
What Happens When Watt-Hour is not Marked on Each Battery?
Well a few things – beginning with the shipment being stopped until the error is corrected by trained personnel like us.
It is mandatory to have the watt-hour marked on a lithium ion battery (unless it’s manufactured before January 1, 2009), and batteries that don’t display this mark are considered non-compliant for transport. To bring it in to compliance each battery must be marked with the watt-hour.
Doesn’t seem too bad, right? Wrong.
Imagine individually marking 11,600 little batteries.
These batteries were the size of AA batteries. Each individual battery was packaged in its own little box. Like a lipstick box. Then these little boxes (20 in total) were placed in a larger box. Then the larger boxes were placed inside a bigger cardboard box. Never had I done a job this tedious. Add to this trying not to break the small flap on the little boxes when opening these boxes.
The first day was a disaster as we weren’t prepared with the right tools. Finger nails were hurting from opening the little boxes. That night ideas were rolling in everyone’s head on how to efficiently do this job as it took 7 hours, and 2 people to finish 800 batteries. At this rate it would take 2 weeks to do this job.
I was forwarded an email from a very nice lady (let’s call her Jane), who is registered to take our public TDG training coming up in a couple of weeks at our Delta, B.C. office.
She said she has some product that needs to be shipped to Brazil, which she was told was dangerous goods. Jane wanted to know if we sell corrosive labels and if we can do up the dangerous goods document or if she would be able to do it herself after she takes her training. I asked Jane to call me; sometimes it is just easier to talk on the phone.
Training or Repacking?
While on a call I asked her if she is taking our public air (IATA) training and she said, “No. Just the TDG“. I explained to Jane that by completing the TDG training she will be certified to ship, handle, transport, and import dangerous goods within Canada via road, rail, and domestic marine; therefore, even after she takes her TDG training she can’t ship dangerous goods to Brazil.
After clarifying this with her I advised that if she wants to ship this product to Brazil she will need to either take an air training course or use our repackaging service.
I need to ship my motorcycle. What do I need to do?
Normally around this time of the year we start to get calls about shipping a motorcycle as folks are planning their vacations and motorcycle adventures.
To be honest, I enjoy receiving these motorcycle inquiry calls because it always had to do with someone either visiting our beautiful country and now returning back home or they will be traveling to a beautiful destination and need to ship their bike. It gives me a chance to chat with them about their travels, too! Which is exciting, as I am a world traveler myself. I thoroughly enjoy speaking to them about their travels and adventures before I get into discussing the “exciting” world of shipping dangerous goods.
Here’s All that is Involved with Shipping a Bike:
We can help you! It is a simple procedure and it involves very little stress.
1. You will need to complete the “Motorcycle Declaration Form”
This can be completely electronically in the comfort of your home. This form can be downloaded here (Kel-Ex Vancouver) or here (ICC Repacking). It’s a simple document which gives us the details of your bike (i.e., shipper and consignee address, how it will be packaged, weight, confirmation that the fuel tank will be drained to less than ¼ tank upon drop off). In most cases motorcycles are dropped off “as is” meaning Continue Reading…