It’s very common to hear this from our first-time clients whose dangerous goods shipment is delayed somewhere and now they are panicking to get it “unstuck”. I had a similar situation couple of weeks ago.
Delayed Shipment of Dangerous Goods
A gentleman was referred to us by an air carrier. Let’s call him Jack. Jack called asking if we can assist him with his package that is held up by the air carrier at the air carrier’s location. The air carrier was local to ICC; hence, they gave Jack our contact information. In an effort to understand what happened I asked him about what he was shipping and he told me very plainly, samples.
Now we all know “samples” can mean just about anything. Jack said that they were samples from their equipment and he was shipping them to the USA for testing. I asked him if he had the SDS for these samples and if he could email it to me along with the quantity per sample.
Apparently, there were two (2) 0.5 litre bottles inside this box. Jack is based in northern B.C. so his shipment was transported via ground and then it was supposed to go air from Vancouver, B.C. Jack mentioned that supposedly his shipment started to leak and it seeped to the outside of the package. The air Continue Reading…
What to do when you are moving and need to ship a whole lot of bullets?
98% of our repackaging clientele are businesses, but there are 2% of our clientele that are regular people. At least, this is how I refer to them. These folks are a “Mr. or Mrs. Smith” who have absolutely no idea about the dangerous goods world, but what they wish to send is considered dangerous goods. These folks are referred to us from carriers, freight forwarders, and sometimes by internet search results.
Recently I had a Mr. Smith call us to ask about packaging cartridges as recommended by his freight forwarder. He is moving to Europe and is packing up his entire house, which includes his firearms and the cartridges that go with them. He already had all his ducks in a row meaning his export/import documentation and certification for the firearms and whatever else was needed to ship the firearms and cartridges, but he needed to get the cartridges packaged up for transport. That’s where ICC comes in.
What Are We Really Dealing With?
Mr. Smith didn’t have any transport information such as UN number or shipping name. So, I asked him to email me pictures of the cartridges, because he mentioned they were all in their original retail packages. I was able to call the manufacturer directly and ask for the shipping info. Continue Reading…
How should you provide quantity on a shipper’s declaration for an engine?
Generating a shipper’s declaration for an engine isn’t exactly new to me. I have been creating shipper’s declarations for engines since the very first time I stepped into the DG packaging world, and that was a long time ago. Therefore, it hit me pretty hard when a client’s shipment, containing an engine, was rejected by their air carrier.
Engines and UN Numbers
For many years the UN number for engines and vehicles were the same and it was classified as hazard class 9. Just recently it was changed so that each type of engine has their own UN number and hazard class. Therefore, internal combustion engines containing flammable liquid is classified as UN3528 and falls under hazard class 3.
My client said there was a small amount of diesel fuel inside (it wasn’t drained). Based on this I classified his engine as UN3528. He provided me with the completed shipment detail form which provided me with all the details of the shipment including net weight of the engine and the amount of fuel inside the engine.
Quantity of the Engine on the Shipper’s Declaration
I started to work on the shipper’s declaration and had to stop at the “Quantity and type of packing” section. There wasn’t an immediate measurement I could use for the engine. As per column “J” and Continue Reading…
A freight forwarder contacted me to get some help on shipping perfume to Hong Kong. I asked him how he is sending it and he replied, “Air.” I said, “That’s simple.” It would fall under ID8000, Consumer Commodity. Explained to him what that actually meant. Basically, it’s goods that are “packaged and distributed in a form intended or suitable for retail sales for purposes of personal care or household care”; however, there are a few restrictions such as only certain hazard classes and packing groups are permitted. Perfume definitely falls within the criteria.
He came by our office and dropped off 8 decent sized boxes of these goods. I asked the forwarder if he plans on shipping the boxes individually or will be consolidating them (e.g, on a pallet). He said his plan was to take the boxes back to the office once I prepare the boxes and he will palletize it. I advised him he can’t do that, because that would be considered an “overpack” and would require marking and labeling on the outside of the shrink wrap (assumed it would be shrink wrapped). He said “Oh”. I told him we could help him. We will provide the shrink wrap and prepare the shipment completely at our location. He said he already had a heat-treated pallet (all wooden pallets must be heat-treated Continue Reading…
If you were to ship a laptop 5 years ago, all you would need to do was pack it up and ship it. Like shipping socks. But now that same laptop is considered a dangerous good due to the lithium battery it contains.
I had a customer drop off 2 laptops going to Australia. He wanted me to prepare the shipment for air transport as he isn’t certified to ship dangerous goods via air. He said he received about 6 pallets of marine vessel equipment returning from Canada to Australia and he said someone put these 2 laptops in one of those pallets thinking it can all go as general cargo. He knew that there are restrictions on shipping lithium batteries via air so he knew he had to call in the expert!
I removed the battery from the laptop to see the watt hour rating. It was 41-watt hour and the total net quantity of lithium was below 5 kg (well below). Which meant these laptops are classified as Section II for UN3481, Lithium ion batteries contained in equipment; therefore, does not require a shipper’s declaration. It’s always good news for the client when it falls in Section II as it saves the client money.
I placed both laptops inside a good strong box (each laptop was initially Continue Reading…
Now doesn’t that sound interesting. When you want to ship different dangerous goods in one outer packaging, you have to calculate something called a “Q value” using a formula. The Q value ordeal is only applicable to air shipments and seldom used as most prefer to put the dangerous goods in separate packaging.
Last week a customer requested to have 2 different dangerous goods packaged and shipped to Brazil via air. Since the quantities for each product was less than 200 ml I thought I might be able to apply the “Q” value and besides it’s always better to consolidate your shipment if you can to prevent loss/delay of packages. Especially this time of the year.
I ensured the dangerous goods met all the requirements of Section 22.214.171.124 of the IATA Regulation. I calculated the “Q” value and it was less than 1.0. So, everything seemed to be a go. For packaging, I used a 4GV box and lots of vermiculite to:
separate the two dangerous goods and
more than enough absorbent in case there was a leak (only one product was liquid)
Applied all the labels and markings, created the shipper’s declaration and added the Q value as required per Section 126.96.36.199.2(f), then shipped it out with Fedex.
Sometimes we try to find an economical solution to comply with regulations. If it works, great, but sometimes – actually most times – it comes back to bite us in the behind.
Last week a customer of ICC’s came in panicking to get help. He has previously used us a few times for our repackaging service. Let’s call him Bob. Bob told me he and his team took an online training course which certified them to ship lithium batteries via air. Bob’s shipper packaged up a lithium battery shipment and had sent it out. Bob just found out that it was rejected by the carrier. I asked Bob which UN# they used and he said UN3481. Asked him which (packing instruction) section and he said “what?”. I said, “In Packing Instruction 967, which section do you fall under?” He said, “What’s a packing instruction?”. I grabbed my IATA regulation and told him, “You guys used this book to do the course, yeah?” and he inferred that the course didn’t require use of a book and no, they didn’t use any books. I asked Bob if they took training with ICC and he said, “no”. Bob said they took training with another company and paid $50 as it was the cheapest training they could find. I told him that was his first mistake.
It’s not often that you’ll see more than 2 hazard labels on a DG package, but the one I did this week had 5 hazard labels plus 3 handling labels. So a total of 8 labels on a package. Yes, that is a lot.
I received a panic call from a freight forwarder who picked up a rejected package from a passenger airline and didn’t know what to do with it. It was a rush shipment to get to Australia. I asked him what was being shipped and he said, “a fire extinguisher and some cans of glue”. I advised him to bring the package and all accompanying documents over to our office and I will get it packaged up properly for air transport. He showed up an hour later.
This is what the box looked like when it came in:
I reviewed the shipper’s declaration which the shipper did complete and the markings/labels on the box and it was incorrect for numerous reasons. I told the freight forwarder that the person who prepared this shipment is not certified to ship via air. An air certified individual may make an error or two, but not 10. It was evident this person did not know what they were doing. I asked for the MSDS/SDS for the products. The fire extinguisher was obvious, but there were 4 small Continue Reading…
Have you ever seen an aircraft fire extinguisher? If not, they don’t look anything like a regular fire extinguisher. For most of us when someone says, “fire extinguisher”, we imagine some kind of red cylinder with a pin, nozzle, and trigger. But an aircraft fire extinguisher looks like a ball with antennas sticking out. That’s why I call them “funky looking fire extinguishers”.
I was asked if I can assist with shipping out an aircraft fire extinguisher via air for a client. Absolutely I can. The client dropped off the fire extinguisher which was wrapped in bubble wrap. As per the SDS it was classified as UN1956 but for those with equivalency certificates/special permits it can be classified as UN1044. Now since these funky fire extinguishers don’t exactly have the surface area to place the markings and labels, I used a strong tag to affix the label and markings as per Section 188.8.131.52 (d) of the IATA Regulations. I wrapped the fire extinguisher in more bubble wrap in such a way to prevent any accidental activation during transport. I used a strong outer packaging and filled the void space with packing peanuts. Placed all the labels and markings on the outside of the package and send it out the same day with FedEx. The package arrived at its destination nice and early at Continue Reading…
A gentleman called to ask if we can help him ship out a small sample (125mL) of sodium hydroxide via air. I said, “absolutely”! He then asked, “maybe you can send it out as limited quantity?”. He was trained to ship dangerous goods via ground but not air. Folks trained in both modes of transport will agree that sending something using the limited quantity exemption by ground is tremendously different from sending that same product using the limited quantity exemption by air.
Shipping Limited Quantities by Ground vs Shipping by Air
Let’s just say for ground, life is good when you can apply the limited quantity exemption to the shipment. It’s easy and cheaper. Yes, it takes a while to get wherever it is going but that’s what you pay for. Sending the same product for a quantity that falls within the limited quantity exemption for air transport may save you a couple of bucks, but that’s it. The only place to really save some money is on packaging. Sending a product using the limited quantity exemption for air exempts you from using a UN standardized package; however, there are some tests that are required for that package. That’s why I said, “may”.
If you ship this small of a volume on a regular basis then it may be worth doing the tests, but if you only Continue Reading…