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The transportation of hazardous materials in the United States amounts to about 817,000 shipments daily and includes over 5.4 million tons of material shipped. This is equal to about 300 million shipments and over 2 billion tons of hazardous cargo per year and in 1997, was approximately 18% of all the cargo shipped overland.

There are different regulations for shipping hazardous material than for shipping regular cargo. As a result, the logistic company involved in transporting these materials has to be versed in all federal, state, and local guidelines for the safe movement of these materials throughout the country. The high demand for the commodities and products that are produced from these materials drives the increased need for transportation services.

The hazardous materials like gasoline, natural gas, and other petroleum products shipped through pipelines and ocean-going vessels comprise about 45% of all hazardous shipments, and these transfers are treated differently by national and international regulation. A shipping logistic company will have a firm understanding of international shipping regulations for hazardous materials shipped by ocean vessels and through pipelines.

The remaining types of chemicals and related hazardous products are shipped overland by railroads and trucks, making the job of the top logistic companies complex but somewhat defined. The expertise and knowledge of these companies provide a stable network of practices and procedures that ensure the safe transport of these products.

What Kinds of Hazardous Materials are Shipped?

Hazardous materials (HAZMAT) is defined as “a material that would be a danger to life or the environment if it was released without precaution.” According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), HAZMAT shipments include gases, explosives, radioactive material, poisonous or infectious substances, flammable liquids or solids, and more. The regulations regarding the shipment of these materials are laws written to ensure the safety of the general population as well as the safety of the people shipping the material. These are a combination of federal and state laws, and some locales may have their own restrictions for certain kinds of shipments. Herein lie the complexity and the need for an informed logistics company to handle these shipping assignments.

Classify the Material to be Shipped

A Material Data Sheet (MSDS) is a document that is required by the Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) to define the contents of the shipment clearly. This document describes the risks and physical properties of the material being shipped, and the manufacturer must complete this to provide a clear understanding of the nature of the cargo. The logistics company representative will expect this document is accurate and complete before moving ahead with the shipping plan.

What are the Regulations?

The regulations for shipping within the United States boundaries can vary from state to state and from city to city. The logistics coordinator will diligently review these various regulations and guidelines to ensure that the shipment will travel safely and without interruption due to a rule or regulation violation. Making a mistake in this discovery can cost a lot of money in heavy fines, lost revenues from market share, and the failure to deliver the product.

Among the information that must be available with a shipment of hazardous material are items such as the proper shipping name, class or division of the product, the hazard warning label, identification number, loading requirements, documentation for training for employees handling the cargo, and emergency response procedures. These are all responsibilities the shipper accepts before the cargo is allowed on the highway.

Understanding the Route and the Environment

As part of the travel plan, the logistics company will review the route the carrier will travel and try to anticipate any areas that may pose a safety or an environmental problem during the trip. During this review, there should be a discussion about the appropriate mode of transportation, the process for transferring the cargo from one type of carrier to another, if necessary, and the regulations specific to the exact route and road or track conditions.

It is always a good idea to know if the roads are wide or narrow, straight or with a lot of sharp curves, or whether the weather conditions may affect the success of the trip. These are all ways the logistics company can assist you in making the trip succeed.

Asiana USA ensures all the details are covered when working with shipping hazardous materials.

Packaging

One of the most overlooked parts of transporting hazardous materials is the design and the implementation of secure packaging. HAZMAT packages that leak pose a significant threat to the people handling the material, the general public, and the environment.

Logistics planners ensure they use suitable containers for the material being shipped, absorbent package liners where necessary, and the proper cushioning of the cargo once it is loaded. It is vital to keep the material isolated for the entire journey.

Require Training

The top logistics companies are those that provide global logistics services and adhere to the highest shipping logistics policies and procedures. Among these practices is the assurance that the people handling all aspects of the shipping process for hazardous materials are sufficiently trained to make good decisions when transporting these materials and to ensure to the greatest extent possible that the cargo arrives safely and securely with no harm to the populace. This service that is inherent to best practices is one that the logistics providers will insist on.

Final Thoughts

When shipping hazardous materials, it is a proven best practice to rely on the experience and good judgment of the top logistics companies in the country. The complexities of shipping these dangerous materials include the many rules and regulations as well as the contents in the material itself.

Asiana USA is skilled in classifying and handling hazardous and non-hazardous material, and we would be happy to provide you with assistance with your shipment. Please contact us at Asiana.com or call us at 855-500-1808 for more information and a free estimate.

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