Shipping Hazardous Goods: 3 Things You Need to Know | Transporting dangerous or hazardous goods can be a difficult and costly task at times. Not only must you ensure that your goods arrive intact, you must also take safety and legal concerns into account to ship them successfully. Unfortunately, however, sometimes doing so is unavoidable. In these circumstances, it is important that you inform yourself of the correct procedure, to make the shipping process go as smoothly as possible. Here are 3 of the most important areas to know about when shipping hazardous materials.
Making sure hazardous materials are packed and sealed as securely as possible is naturally imperative for safety reasons. Moreover, not doing so may cause you to be in breach of laws or regulations governing safe transportation of goods. Depending on the type of materials you are shipping, you may therefore consider using stronger packaging than usual. Hardwood cases are one option to doubly ensure that your goods are well protected. If you are going to use cardboard boxes, make sure you use thicker, double-walled cardboard, and seal them as tightly as possible. If the products you are shipping are particularly fragile, you will also want to use a large amount of “void fill”, to further protect your goods. This refers to materials like bubble wrap or packaging paper which prevent your goods from moving while in transit.
Proper labelling is also critical to shipping hazardous materials safely and legally. It is also not sufficient for the labelling to only caution carriers to handle the products safely. Labels should specifically detail what is contained in the package, and the hazard associated with it. Generally, there are considered to be nine categories of hazardous material – toxic substances, explosives, flammable liquids, flammable solids, gases, oxidising substances, corrosive materials, radioactive materials, and other miscellaneous dangerous goods. Each of these has an internationally recognized symbol associated with them which should be included on your packaging, especially if you are shipping goods to another country. More specifically, depending on your local jurisdiction, there will be different requirements for what you need to label and what information you need to include on the packaging. In the EU and the UK, for example, they adhere to the UN3481 regulation, which stipulates that lithium metal batteries should be properly labelled.
Choosing the Right Carrier
Given the carrier you choose will be carrying out the bulk of the delivery process, it is therefore important you partner with a carrier or freight forwarder you can trust to transport your hazardous goods safely. A good number of generic shipping carriers will also offer hazardous good transportation for a slightly higher fee. However, they will often ship these goods through the same channels as they would for non-hazardous items. You may therefore instead opt to partner with a specialist hazardous materials carrier, as while they may be more expensive, they will likely have more expertise in handling dangerous materials. If the goods you are shipping are temperature-sensitive or need moving especially quickly, there are also specialist logistics providers for these requirements.