Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

Archive for the ‘HazMat’ Category

Rogue Lithium Battery Shipments Under Scrutiny

January 21st, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), in partnership with the Global Shippers Forum (GSF), the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) and the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), are amplifying their efforts to ensure the safe air transport of lithium batteries. The organizations are also renewing calls for governments to crack down on manufacturers of counterfeit batteries and of mis-labeled and non-compliant shipments introduced into the supply chain, by issuing and enforcing criminal sanctions on those responsible. But, we are seeing an increase in the number of incidents in which rogue shippers are not complying. The industry is initiating a campaign to raise awareness of the need to comply. The campaign includes four specific initiatives:

  1. New incident reporting and alert system for airlines: Creating an industry information sharing platform that will allow real-time information about dangerous goods incidents to be reported.
  2. Industry awareness campaign on the dangers of shipping undeclared and misdeclared lithium batteries: A series of dangerous goods awareness seminars has been developed in collaboration with the World Customs Organization (WCO).
  3. Facilitation of a joined-up industry approach: The adoption of a cross-domain approach to include aviation security, manufacturing standards, customs and consumer protection agencies. Currently air cargo is scanned for items that pose a risk to security such as explosives, but not for items such as lithium batteries.

    Responsible shippers rely on government enforcement of standards to protect their investment in training and safe operating procedures. Air freight remains a vital link in international supply chains and it is essential that the rules for ensuring the safe movement of all cargoes are understood and acted on by all parties involved. Safety is aviation’s top priority.

  4. Passengers traveling with Lithium Batteries: Lithium batteries carried by passengers remain a safety focus for airlines. Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) guidance is available to travelers in eight languages detailing what items must be packed in carry-on baggage.

BACK-OFF Prevention Addressed in Canada

November 26th, 2019 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, DOT/UN, HazMat, Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

For many years, during DOT audits, customers are often asked to provide technical information regarding the prevention of the closure plug Back-Off. By definition, Back-Off refers to the potential loosening of a steel or synthetic drum plug (usually the 2” and the ¾” on the top head) after the required torque is reached when closing a drum. Currently, CFR 49, 173.227(b)(2)(ii) does state that the screw closures must be “physically held in place by any means capable of preventing back-off or loosening of the closure by impact or vibration during transportation.” Transport Canada still refers to this requirement as “closures that are threaded.” However, in a move to have Transport Canada harmonize with the US CFR, COSTHA (The Council on the Safe Transport of Hazardous Articles) has submitted a proposed revision to Transport Canada. The proposal expands the criteria so that the “inner packagings shall have closures with gaskets and which shall either be threaded or physically held in place by any means capable of preventing back-off or loosening of the closure by impact or vibration during transport.”

For information about meeting the Back Off requirement, Skolnik offers solutions to securing closures plugs.

Carriers Fine Shippers for Undeclared Hazardous Cargo

September 24th, 2019 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: HazMat, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

A quarter of all liner fires reported to the Cargo Incident Notification System (CINS) relate to mis-declared cargo, particularly hazardous materials. It is an age-old problem that has blighted shipping for too long, rogue shippers willfully breaking the rules to avoid freight rate and insurance premiums on dangerous goods, or committing customs fraud by declaring high value goods as more common items. The invention of the steel container made it even easier to conceal such fraudulent activity, leaving shipping lines with an uphill challenge to combat it.

With the number of container fires rapidly escalating, a few carriers recently announced that they would levy penalties on shippers for mis-declaring cargoes. These fires come at great expense to the carriers and put all on-board cargo at risk, as well as the integrity of the ship. Hapag-Lloyd, which last year shipped nearly half a million dangerous goods, effective September 15, 2019, fine shippers $15,000 for undeclared or mis-declared hazardous cargo. HMM will fine the same amount, while Evergreen announced a penalty of $35,000.

While more carriers are likely to follow the lead, the question of will the threat of financial punishment help to correct the behavior of the less willfully negligent shippers. It is unlikely to change the attitude of any rogue shipper who will still bet on evading the proper shipping regulations. It is hoped that most law-abiding shippers will welcome any measure that will help reduce the risk of their cargo being delayed or destroyed by the irresponsible action of others.

Labelmaster’s DGS draws nearly 300!

September 17th, 2019 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: HazMat, Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

Last week (September 4-6, 2019) at the Sheraton Grand in Chicago, Labelmaster’s 14th Annual Dangerous Goods Symposium (DGS) rocked!. Known as the preeminent conference of dangerous goods trainers, shippers, packagers, manufacturers as well as Federal Regulators, the 2019 Symposium broke the attendance record! A gathering of the most prominent industry leaders and presenters provided insights and practical advice to help navigate the most common, and many complex, DG issues. The agenda included a well-rounded list of relevant topics, including:

  • Creating a Culture of Safety
  • Domestic & International Regulatory Updates
  • Virtual Reality in Training
  • Drone Delivery
  • Carrier Variations
  • Lithium Battery Recycling and Regulations

Some of the the speakers and workship leaders included Peter Mackay of Hazardous Cargo Bulletin, Air Canada’s David Bolton, Nick Carlone of Cargo Publications, Mike Hoysler of FedEx, Geoff Leach of The Dangerous Goods Office LTD, Tim Rogers from UPS, Steven Webb of PHMSA and Pete Wagner of Purolator. Most memorable was Vinnie Desiderio from USPS who conducted a live telephone interview with his mother, a typical shipper who would benefit from hazmat training!

The Symposium highlight was a social night of dueling pianos at Howl at the Moon.

Thank you to everyone at Labelmaster for putting forth a tremendous effort to make DGS-14 a valued global event!