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June 2009 Newsletter

Have you checked your training records lately?
Upcoming Dangerous Goods Training Dates at JFK and on the web

  • Brokers and Importers – June 9
  • Initial Air Training June 23-24-25
  • July is our vacation time
  • Domestic Perfume Shippers’ On-Line Program available 24/7.

Our complete 2009 training schedule is posted on this website.

Click on TRAINING on our opening page in order to reserve your place now. Remember, if you ship, handle, or transport dangerous goods, U.S. Transportation Law as well as International Laws you must receive initial training and then recurrent training every two or three years thereafter, depending on the mode of transportation.

Lithium Batteries

Reminder! Without a current MSDS you will have a difficult time complying with the regulations. We remind everyone again that Special Provision A45 has been discontinued and the terminology “Not Restricted” no longer applies to Lithium Batteries by air. Lithium Metal Batteries are forbidden on passenger carrying aircraft on shipments into, out of, or transiting the United States.

On May 14, 2009 the U.S. Congressional Transportation Committee held hearings on the Transportation Reauthorization Legislation. To those of us that monitor the regulatory process faithfully we were impressed with the transportation knowledge of Representative Oberstar and his desire to have the U.S. be a leader in the safe transportation of dangerous goods (hazmats).

It should be noted that the National Safety Transportation Board wants the United States (and the United Nations) to strictly enforce regulations concerning lithium batteries and eliminate all Special Provisions that would allow lithium batteries to be shipped as non-regulated items, i.e., the batteries should always be totally regulated.

We made a similar comment in last month’s newsletter.

Future Rulemaking for Lithium Batteries

In anticipation of the Congressional Reauthorization Hearings U.S. DOT’s PHMSA and the FAA issued a notice that they propose to issue joint rulemaking which would regulate all lithium cells and batteries as Class 9 material which will effectively eliminate the present exceptions for air shipments and place additional training requirements on shippers and carriers. This should make lithium battery shipments safer and satisfy the NTSB recommendation to completely regulate the batteries by air (see the comments above).

New restrictions on overpacks and unit load devices are also anticipated. PHMSA also will review domestic surface exceptions for highway and rail.

The joint notice of proposed rulemaking is expected to be issued by December 2009.

If you ship or transport lithium batteries you might want to read our SOAP BOX comments at the end of this newsletter.

Do you really want to know how dangerous a lithium battery can be? Turn on your speakers and click on this link: http://www.valence.com/technology/battery_safety/battery_safety_video

Many thanks to Valence Technology of Austin, Texas.

Some News Items

Hong Kong has seen an increase in the theft of 45 Ft. empty ocean containers. While the assumption is that this is the work of criminals we can’t help but wonder about possible terrorist involvement. Maybe we should view this as a reminder to stay alert.

European truckers are very concerned about the lack of secure rest areas as thefts and hijackings seem to be on the increase. In one case in Great Britain a truck operator lost his biggest account because of the theft of a inbound ocean container. With the world-wide recession and the loss of one very significant client the owners decided to simply go out of business.

The British Government recently confirmed that unemployment in road transport has increased by 365% over the past year.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey reports that air freight in the greater New York area is down about 30% and sea shipments are down about 17% compared to the same period in 2008. As a result, carriers, forwarders, warehouse operators and truckers have laid off employees. In some cases freight forwarders and truckers have simply shut down their business.

Our Soap Box

We rant and rave and preach about safety in transportation most of the time.

What happens when a shipment is refused by a carrier for non-compliance?

In some cases the shipment is returned to the shipper for corrections. Usually it’s returned by truck and hopefully what may have been rejected by an air or ocean carrier is not also in violation of highway regulations. If it was, though…..

Do we not have three or more violations?

  1. The shipper “offered” a non-compliant shipment
  2. The trucker “accepted” the non-compliant shipment
  3. The trucker “offered” the non-compliant shipment to the air or ocean carrier or to a freight forwarder.
  4. The carrier or forwarder “accepts” the non-compliant shipment.
  5. The shipment is rejected by the carrier or forwarder and the whole process starts over in reverse.

Worse yet is when that shipper tells that trucker to “try another carrier”. An intermodal inspector could accomplish a lot for safety.

Drivers – make sure you block and brace your cargo.

Dangerous Goods Advisory Council

For over thirty years the DGAC has been a leader in promoting safety in transportation. The council has been an advocate for the chemical industry and transporters of dangerous goods/hazardous materials. Your company should seriously consider becoming a member of this outstanding organization.

Mark your calendar:
31st Annual Conference & Hazardous Materials Transportation Exposition
November 18-20, 2009,
Grand Hyatt San Antonio,
600 East Market Street,
San Antonio, TX 78205

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