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

The Cost of a Leaky Package

July 27th, 2022 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

Choosing the right packaging is more than just selecting a specific rating. When storing or shipping any goods, it is imperative that your container be properly designed, tested and rated for those specific materials. This is obviously important when it comes to shipping dangerous goods, where the potential damage and cost to personnel handling the package and to the environment is front and center. However, if any package or container is found to be damaged or leaking, there is a literal cost to pay as well.

Failure to select the right package for a journey is often the result of a shipper assuming that, for example, a UN-rated package will perform its job unimpeded. The shipper has the primary responsibility for ensuring that any goods, especially hazardous, are properly packaged for transport. This means more than just choosing a package with the appropriate rating or certification for your goods, but also considering the journey the package will embark on. While the principal cause of leaks in transport is usually due to handling, initial package selection for other types of failures is critical. Shippers should consider the mode of transport as well as conditions and climate when choosing a packaging.

When shipping hazardous or dangerous goods, only the shipper knows the potential perils that package may face. Thus, a shipper must take the whole picture into consideration and not simply request X drum from a supplier. 

If a leaking package is discovered before being loaded onto a motor vehicle, over-packing into a UN Certified Salvage Drum is a compliant solution that quickly and legally puts an end to the leaky situation. While most believe that Salvage Drums are available only for damaged 55 gallon drums, there are Salvage Drums for a host of sizes and diameters from 5 to 110 US gallons. These drums all are compliant with CFR 173.3 and can be used for the safe transport of damaged, leaking or non-compliant packaging.

As for that literal cost? In past cases of packages leaking during transportation, the shipper or reseller have faced fines upwards of $100,000 for their failure to properly pack and ship the items. Not the original packaging manufacturer, it is the entity that introduces the package to transit that carries the liability.

It may seem cost-savvy to save money and purchase a lower gauge steel container. But when it comes to drum quality, you get what you pay for. And a penny saved today stands to cost you a small fortune tomorrow.

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