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Archive for the ‘Industry News’ Category

Hazardous Materials Incidents on the Rise

July 11th, 2019 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

Here at Skolnik, we take pride in staying up to date on all safety regulations and precautions. It is vitally important to remember the human and environmental impact that many  materials stored in our vessels can have, especially the materials entrusted to our hazmat storage containers. Our team of hazmat containment experts are always on the lookout, and with good reason.

According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) the number of hazardous waste related incidents has been increasing over the past ten years. From 2009 to 2018 the amount of annual incidents involving Hazardous materials has increased from 14,816 in 2009, up to 19,839 in 2018. These incidents are spread out amongst several modes of transportation, but the vast majority of them occur on the highway. In 2009 almost 86 percent of all hazardous material incidents occurred on highways, with an even higher 90 percent in 2018. Fortunately not every incident resulted in injuries, with only about one percent of all events listed having reported injuries. But the damages caused by all incidents between 2009 and 2018 totalled out to around 844.5 million dollars in damages. 

We know that there are a lot of situations that are not under our control, and know that a lot of incidents come down to bad luck or unforeseen circumstances. It’s hard to predict everything that is going to happen and to take precautions, but we can certainly try. It’s important to be prepared for anything, and to always be patient and vigilant when it comes to transporting hazardous materials.

Amazon’s New Hazardous Product Warehouses

June 18th, 2019 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

The shipping industry has to take the necessary precautions with hazardous materials to ensure the safety of the packaged materials, environment, handlers and the facilities the packages are being stored in or routed through. There’s no way around it. Any shortcuts could lead to costly disasters. Even if you’re a shipping and fulfillment giant, like Amazon.

According to a recent report, Amazon has decided to build separate warehouses for their hazardous goods. This decision was made after an accident involving a hazardous product in late 2018 resulted in the hospitalization of 25 warehouse workers.

The hazardous material in question? Bear repellent. Immediately following the accident, Amazon not only hit the drawing board to come up with a future solution, they also pulled thousands of cans of bear repellent, pepper spray and similar products from their fulfillment centers for the time being. Moving forward, these products will be in more secure, leak-proof packaging and will only be handled by humans and not the warehouse robots.

Furthermore, Amazon is holding the manufacturers of these products to a higher standard of safety when it comes to the packaging.

The new hazardous material-specific warehouses and fulfillment centers were already in the planning stage when the bear repellent incident occurred, but the accident certainly reinforced the need and escalated the timeline. The first of these warehouses will open this summer.

The new warehouses will boast special sprinkler systems and designated storage areas for flammable products, aerosols and oxidizers. Additionally, the staff at these centers will receive special hazardous material training, particularly on what to do in the case of a spill. As a further precaution, deliveries from these warehouses will be ground-transport only, no planes.

Undeclared Dangerous Goods Causing Ship Fires

May 31st, 2019 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

Dangerous goods are never as dangerous as when they are in transit. The shipping of dangerous goods is risky, but when the packagers and shippers do their due diligence and ensure that the packages meet the stringent requirements and regulations set forth by the pertinent governing bodies. One major threat facing shippers of dangerous goods is the threat of fires.

Ship fires have been a leading cause of losses in the shipping industry thus far this year.

Since January, there have been at least a dozen fires reported on vessels, including a deadly fire and series of explosions on a tanker off of Hong Kong. According to Allianz’s Safety and Shipping Review in 2018, fires caused a loss of 112 ships between 2008 and 2017. Without further action, that number will only continue to rise.

Mis-declared or undeclared flammable chemicals are believed to be a recurring cause for a lot of these fires and explosions. Andrew Kinsey at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty has been eager to find a solution. According to Kinsey, the key is moving forward with a proactive mindset rather than being reactive as they have been. “We can’t continue to sift through the burnt wreckage and say, ‘That’s what was here.’” says Kinsey. “We have to start to identify it before it even comes through the gate at the terminal much less being stowed on the vessel.”

Kinsey and others are excited at the prospect of using technology to make the changes necessary to prevent ship fires and improve communication between carriers. The idea is that with stronger, more consistent IT standards and better communication between customers and shipping lines, they can prevent mis-declared or undeclared cargo, especially dangerous cargo.

In September, Maersk announced “risk-based dangerous goods stowage principles” to help prevent future issues. But many don’t believe additional regulations are the answer, the real answer is following the rules that are already in place. We strive to stay on top of all industry regulations and restrictions at Skolnik, so we’re inclined to agree. There’s no way to know if the rules currently in place are effective if they aren’t being followed effectively.

Drone Delivery Business First to get FAA Approval

May 28th, 2019 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

An offshoot of Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, has become the first drone operator to receive government approval as an airline, an important step that gives it the legal authority to begin dropping products to actual customers. The subsidiary, Wing Aviation LLC, now has the same certifications that smaller airlines receive from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation. It plans to begin routine deliveries of small consumer items in two rural communities in Virginia within months. Drone regulations still do not permit most flights over crowds and urban areas, limiting where Wing can operate. Nevertheless, the approvals signed recently by the FAA give the company the ability to charge for deliveries of clients’ goods in Virginia and apply for permission to expand to other regions.

There has never been a drone company approved under the FAA regulations. Approval requires Wing to create extensive manuals, training routines and a safety hierarchy — just as any air carrier must do. Companies receiving permission must also be majority-owned by U.S. citizens under long-standing restrictions imposed by the DOT. Other drone companies applying for FAA approvals should be able to move more quickly now that the agency and Wing have worked through the issues of what rules should apply to drone operators. Watch this 1 minute video which explains this new delivery service.