… and I was told to call ICC
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 carrier didn’t open it, but instead advised him to call someone (us) to get it repackaged properly for further transport. I asked Jack if the shipment was DG and he said he didn’t know, because he is not trained for shipping dangerous goods. I said, “No worries. We’ll figure it out.”
Reviewing the SDS
Upon review of the SDS, these “samples” were classified as Class 8, Packing Group III.
I reached out to Jack and explained that the samples were in fact considered dangerous goods and must be packaged in accordance with air transport regulations. I provided him a quote for repackaging and he eagerly said, “Please, go ahead and fix it”.
Repackaging and Shipping
I picked up the package from the air carrier’s location. I brought salvage packaging to ensure the leaky package could be transported safely back to our office. It wasn’t actually that bad. You know how sometimes the situation is explained over the phone and it doesn’t actually bear a resemblance to reality.
Back in our office I opened the box to find that one of the inner bottles had leaked. Whomever packaged these materials didn’t put the inner bottles in an upright position, but instead had it lying flat. This is not adequate for shipping liquids.
All liquids, DG or not, should always be packaged in an upright position. In the carrier’s pouch there was the carrier’s airwaybill, commercial invoice, and surprisingly a bill of lading (BOL) for transport by ground, which had information stating the samples were DG. It appears that someone along the way knew it was considered DG for ground transport.
On the DG BOL the shipper’s certificate statement was also present and shockingly, it was signed by Jack who told me he didn’t have DG training.
Follow Up & Education
I felt that I needed to educate Jack. I sent him an email and attached the DG BOL advising him that he unknowingly signed off on a document taking responsibility for the shipment. I had highlighted the certification statement “I hereby declare that the contents of this consignment are fully and accurately…” to explain to him that by signing next to this statement he would be held liable for the shipment.
If the situation was any worse he could have been in a lot of trouble and that’s putting it lightly. I advised him to take TDG training with us and if he needs something to be shipped via air send the samples to us via ground (ensure the shipment is compliant with TDG coming to us) and I can prepare it for air transport. Everyone is following rules and your shipment will arrive at the destination without any issues.
After I emailed Jack my mini lecture, I packaged up his samples as per IATA regulations and shipped them out. The packaged arrived the next day without any further hindrance.
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