Rejected shipment, but nothing is wrong

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…

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Amazon Now Targeting Sellers That Ship Unsafe Packages to Warehouses

With the holiday season many of us are opting out of the busy malls and stores, and simply shopping from the comfort of our own homes. To make this option even more enticing some retailers are even offering free 2-day shipping during the holiday season. While this seems like a win-win situation for all there are some obstacles that have been coming to the surface, and unfortunately we are not just talking about late deliveries.  According to the Office of Hazardous Materials Safety, the world’s largest internet retailer, Amazon, has seen a sharp increase in reports of shipments allegedly violating the U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. In 2009, Amazon only had two incident reports, but that number jumped to 32 in 2016 before reaching 42 so far this year. This has caused Amazon to ultimately respond as they soon plan on adding new penalty fees for packages that fail to comply with its safety requirements.

Incidents

The main issue here is many third-party sellers on Amazon aren’t trained to ship dangerous goods, and simply don’t understand that what they are shipping is indeed hazardous. These third-party sellers often don’t realize what actions need to be taken per the Hazardous Material Regulations that exist to safeguard those who may come in contact with the dangerous goods. For that reason, often times the correct labeling, packaging, and paperwork required to Continue Reading…

Another PHMSA Penalty Increase

In the dangerous goods world things can change fast, so it is very important to be aware of the most up-to-the-minute changes. Much like in the video below, this can feel like an endless chase, but nevertheless we have to keep up the pace to stay within compliance of the changing regulations.

This not only goes for the regulations themselves, but also the penalties involved with being out of compliance. In Subpart D of Part 107 Hazardous Materials Program Procedures, there is a section entitled Enforcement, which outlines the civil and criminal penalties in the event you are non-compliant with the regulations. Being a federal agency, PHMSA must adjust their penalty rates each year to account for inflation. As of Tuesday, November 27, 2018, the new penalty rates officially go into effect. For this year it is a simple calculation, multiply the existing penalty by 1.02041, round up, and this will give you the new penalty.

For example:

  • A violation of hazardous materials transportation law under 49 U.S.C. 5123(a)(1) is going from $78,376 to $79,976.
  • A violation of hazardous materials transportation law resulting in death, serious illness, severe injury, or substantial property destruction under 49 U.S.C. 5123(a)(2) is going from $182,877 to $186,610.

A complete list of the penalty rate changes can be found at the link below:

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-11-27/pdf/2018-24930.pdf

Why is this an issue? If you have the latest hardcopy of the 49 Continue Reading…

dangerous goods forms, IATA, IMDG, 49 CFR, TDG documentation
Inner quantities on the IMO declaration…do you need to add it?

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 5.4.1.5.1 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…

ICC's Regulatory Helpdesk
Regulatory Helpdesk: November 19

Welcome back to the Regulatory Helpdesk where we answer your dangerous goods & hazmat questions. We’re here to help you become independent with – and understand the whys and hows of – the regulations.

UN Packaging Requirements

Q. Is there any specific testing the inner packages for a combination package has to go through if shipping by ground in the U.S? What is to prevent the manufacture and distribution of cans that are not adequately leak-proof?
A. From a UN testing standpoint, if the inner packaging of a combination package wasn’t leak-proof, it would likely fail the drop testing because any leaking of the inner packaging during UN combination testing would be considered a failure. It is up to the shipper of the paint cans to use inner packaging that is equal or stronger in performance than the inner packaging used during the UN testing per 49 CFR 178.601(g)(1). There is a leak-proof test and hydrostatic pressure test per 178.604 and 178.605, but neither is technically required for inner packaging of a combination package. If shipping by air it is a little different, as the inner packaging “must be capable” of withstanding a hydrostatic pressure differential of 95 kPa per 173.27(c)(2).

Electric vehicles

Q. I am shipping electric vehicles in the US. They will be shipped with the batteries in them, but the batteries could also be shipped separately. The vehicle Continue Reading…
ICC Compliance Center
Ed Mazzullo Honored at 40th DGAC Annual Summit and Exposition
Ed Mazzullo Honored at 40th DGAC Annual Summit and Exposition

If you’ve ever applied for an interpretation from the U.S. Department of Transportation, or even looked one up online, chances are you’ve found a solution to your problem in a letter signed by Edward Mazzullo, longtime Director of the Office of Hazardous Materials Standards of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Mr. Mazzullo’s commitment to clarifying the complexities of the Hazardous Materials Regulations, as well as his career devoted to developing and improving regulatory standards, has resulted in him being awarded the George L. Wilson Award by the Dangerous Goods Advisory Council (DGAC) at its 40th Annual Summit and Exposition in Arlington, VA.

Each year, DGAC, a major organization for the education of the private and public sectors on transport of dangerous goods issues, presents the George L. Wilson Award to an individual, organization or company that has demonstrated outstanding achievement in the field of hazardous materials transportation safety. Previous winners include former members of the DOT, but also representatives of industry, and international representatives such as Linda Hume-Sastre, who labored for many years on the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations for Transport Canada. Even CHEMTREC, the well-known emergency information service, has received the award.

DGAC presented the award to Mr. Mazzullo at a lunch attended by many hazardous materials professionals who have benefitted from his guidance through the years. We applaud his long service, and dedication to Continue Reading…