Shipping Sodium Hydroxide
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 ship minimal times a year then it may be a better choice to pay a little extra and purchase UN standardized packaging from a reputable supplier/manufacturer. Follow the packing instructions and use all the components required for the UN standardized packaging and save yourself the headache of trying to comply with testing of packages. Let’s not forget you have to have proof of these tests in case it’s requested by the Minister.
Back to my story. I explained to our client that even though it’s a small volume, I will not be using the limited quantity exemption to ship it out and advised him of the above mentioned logic used to make this decision. He said, “no worries”, as he trusts that I know what I am doing. Thankfully, I do 😀. He dropped off his little bottle of nasty corrosive solution and I packaged it up and shipped it out on the same day using FedEx. The package arrived the next day and everyone was happy!