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 126.96.36.199 (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…
What do you do when an empty package weighs almost as much as the maximum weight allowed?
Those who ship dangerous goods via air understand there are maximum weight restrictions per package to abide by. For example, in the case of ID8000 the maximum weight per package is 30 kg G. The “G” represents gross weight.
I had a packaging service request to prepare a shipment (2 boxes) heading to Europe via air. As per the SDS the goods are classified as ID8000 for air transport. No problem! Normally ID8000 packaging jobs are pretty straightforward. When the boxes arrived at our warehouse, I was shocked at how big they were. I attempted to lift one off the pallet and move it to my packaging area, and our warehouse coordinator said, “Easy there, Muscles. Those are heavy boxes.” I asked him how much the packages weighed. He grabbed the courier slip and it said 89 kg (196.11 lbs).
Right off the bat, the maximum weight per package was now exceeded. I opened one of the boxes to see inside (as I always do with any packaging job) and inside were a bunch of smaller boxes with aerosol cans. I took out all the smaller boxes and weighed the empty box (yes, I got help from Mr. Hercules … there is a lot of love around our office) to find Continue Reading…
I had a client inquire about shipping acetic acid, which looks very much like apple juice, via air.
I asked him about the quantity, the concentration, and current packaging of the product. There was approximately a total of 11 litres, contained in 2 plastic jugs with 90% concentration. I asked him which carrier he wanted to use and he said, “whichever one I recommend“. Based on the volume of the product I advised him he could do one of two things. Either ship 11 individual boxes (definitely the more costly option), or ship it all in one box via carrier of his choice.
Of course, it made sense to put them all in one box and ship with a cargo aircraft only mark. I asked him to decant the 2 jugs into smaller inner containers with a maximum volume of 2.5 litres each. Plastic is preferred for this chemical. He brought in 11 individual plastic bottles that completely resembled an apple juice bottle. Using adequate UN packaging I packaged the bottles with plenty of vermiculite and sent it with FedEx. The package arrived the next day without any hiccups. I love these straightforward packing jobs!
Anyone who ships by air these days can relate to the frustrations associated with shipping lithium batteries.
A gentleman (let’s call him Jack for reference purposes) was given our contact information by Air Canada to get his motorcycle declaration completed. I provided Jack with the shipper’s declaration and he was able to ship his motorcycle with Air Canada. Jack is moving to Faro, Portugal (yes, I am jealous too!) and he is shipping all his personal effects. The broker that is helping Jack with shipping his belongings told him lithium batteries (his power drills) are dangerous goods and Jack needed to remove them, which he did.
Unfortunately the broker didn’t provide Jack with any directions on how he can ship them. So, when Jack went to drop off his motorcycle to Air Canada he asked about shipping his power drills and Air Canada cargo folks told him it’s DG and he needs to get it prepared for transport, and to call Air Canada (yes, you need to call the 1-800 number) for more information. Of course Jack did and Air Canada told him they can accept the shipment as long it’s prepared for air transport. That’s where I come in.
What Are Jack’s Options?
Jack then called me back. He said to me, “You seem to know what you are talking about when Continue Reading…
We Repack All Types of Dangerous Goods … Including Dead Bats!
I received a call from a local veterinarian who was looking to buy 2 labels, yes only 2 individual labels. We sell them in rolls of 500 so it is surprising when someone asks for 1 or 2 labels. She was advised by a carrier that all she needs is to put two “UN3373” labels and a label with the words “Biological Substance, Category B” on a package and send it out. The veterinarian called us to get two “UN3373” labels and a label with the words “Biological Substance, Category B” as told to her by the carrier. I advised her that she can simply write the words on the package as long as it’s legible and indelible but she said she was told it must be a label.
TDG Training to Ship a Dead Bat?
Of course this is when my brain starts thinking outside of the box (more than the conversation that is currently taking place). Then I asked if she was trained to ship dangerous goods and she said no. She was only doing what the carrier advised her to do. That’s when the regulatory specialist in me stepped up. I advised her she must have TDG training to be able to ship dangerous goods. I gave her a 5 minute crash course Continue Reading…