Special Considerations for Shipping Hazardous Materials

Shipping valuable items can be tricky, but add hazardous materials in the mix, and you face additional challenges. If packaged incorrectly, shipping hazardous materials can delay your shipment and even result in an expensive fine.

wooden crates for transportation

The good news is, there are crating companies to help. But, first, you need a crating company specializing in packaging dangerous goods to get your hazmat from point A to point B safely. Crating companies reduce the stress, time, and effort of packaging hazardous materials to meet regulations and get your shipment where it needs to be safely, securely, and on time. But what exactly are hazardous materials? And what’s the benefit of using a specialized crating company for hazmat shipping? Let’s dive in and find out. 

What counts as hazardous material?

Aerosol sprays. Bleach. Nail polish and nail polish remover. Hand sanitizer. These are all commonplace items that are considered hazardous materials, also known as hazmat. When people hear the terms ‘hazardous materials’ or ‘dangerous goods,’ they immediately think of toxic waste, weapons, or chemicals. However, in reality, many of our everyday items fall into the category of hazardous materials. 

In short, hazardous material is anything that could injure somebody if the product breaks, spills, or comes into contact with another chemical during transit. These materials can be solids, liquids, or gases. The commonality is that they could harm people, property, or the environment during the shipping process if not properly packaged. Common examples of hazardous materials include gasoline, chlorine, diesel fuel, and fireworks. 

Are there different types of hazardous materials?

Hazardous materials are divided into nine classes, ranging from the most dangerous materials, such as radioactive materials, to more everyday items like nail polish. Each class also has divisions (sub-classes) that provide more details about the particular classification. 

The nine classes of hazardous material are:

  • Class 1: Explosives. This class contains products that explode under certain conditions. Examples include fireworks and ammunition. 
  • Class 2: Gases. This class contains products that include gases that are harmful when inhaled or in contact with certain surfaces or substances. These gases can be flammable or non-flammable. Examples include aerosols and fire extinguishers.
  • Class 3: Flammable liquids. This class contains liquids that ignite when they come into contact with a heat source. Examples include gasoline and varnish.
  • Class 4: Flammable solids. This class contains solids that ignite when they contact a heat source. Examples include matches and coal.
  • Class 5: Oxidizers/organic peroxides. This class contains chemicals that oxidize in reactions, which can cause or increase the chance of combustion. Examples include bleach and hydrogen peroxide. 
  • Class 6: Toxic and infectious substances. This class contains substances that are harmful or even fatal to humans when inhaled or consumed. Examples include biomedical waste and arsenic. 
  • Class 7: Radioactive materials. This class contains any material that gives off ionizing radiation. Examples include radioactive medicines and X-Ray machines.
  • Class 8: Corrosives. This class contains materials that cause destruction or corrosion to human skin, steel or aluminum. Examples include hydrochloric acid and mercury thermometers. 
  • Class 9: Miscellaneous hazardous materials. This class contains any other materials that pose a risk to people, animals, property, or the environment during transit. Examples include first-aid kits and dry ice. 

What is hazmat shipping?

You may not have heard of hazmat shipping before, but it accounts for 12% of all freight tonnage shipped within the US. Hazmat shipping involves shipping hazardous materials from one place to another. Unlike shipments of non-hazardous materials, hazmat shipping comes with extra costs, rules, and regulations. These extra precautions are necessary because of the danger the products pose to people, the environment, or property. If not properly packaged, these shipments can injure a person or animal or damage the environment. In worst-case scenarios, ingestion or contact with products (especially explosives and toxic substances) can be fatal.

What are the special considerations for shipping hazardous materials?

Because of the risk of injury or damage that hazmat shipping poses, packaging and shipping hazardous materials requires extra considerations. Hazardous materials need to be correctly packed to meet regulations in a process known as hazmat packaging. Hazmat packaging involves taking hazardous material and repacking the contents to meet IMDG, DOT, and IATA requirements. The crating company involved also has to issue a hazardous declaration so the package can ship on the corresponding freight mode. 

You’ll also need to correctly label your package depending on the class, ID number, and weight of the material you’re shipping. Even simple mistakes such as the incorrect orientation of arrows can cause issues along your shipment’s journey, so pay close attention to detail when labeling your package. 

A crating company’s job is to pack the box or crate as required, placard and label it correctly, then issue the HAZ dec (or Hazardous declaration) to the shipping company. Some crating companies can take up to two weeks to properly pack hazardous materials, risking the event of your shipment arriving late. In contrast, reputable crating companies should be able to turn around hazmat packaging in a 24-hour window, allowing for maximum convenience.

What’s the benefit of using a crating company for the shipment of dangerous goods?

Instead of attempting to organize the packaging and shipment of dangerous goods by yourself, it’s much simpler to hire a crating company to manage it for you. That way, you’ll have peace of mind that professionals are handling your precious goods.

Here are just some of the benefits of outsourcing your hazmat shipping needs.

Convenience

Attempting to package hazardous materials by yourself is time-consuming. Time is required to delicately package your shipment, not to mention the time spent researching the required paperwork beforehand.

Let a crating company give you the gift of time by worrying about your hazardous materials on your behalf. Outsourcing your dangerous goods shipping needs saves your to-do list from yet another time-consuming job.

Compliance

If you fail to properly comply with the paperwork and packaging required for hazardous materials, at best, your shipment will be delayed. At worst, you’ll have to pay a hefty fine. 

For peace of mind, opt for a crating company with hazmat packaging experience. That way, you’ll know your package complies with IMDG, DOT, and IATA requirements and is accurately labeled. 

Speed

Researching regulations, sourcing the correct packing materials, and figuring out how to classify your goods can be a slow process. If you’re shipping your goods by a particular deadline, time is of the essence.

Opt for a crating company with a 24-hour hazmat packing turnaround time. That way, your hazardous materials will arrive at their destination on time, every time. 

How to find a reputable crating company for packaging hazardous materials 

Although there are many crating companies across the US, not all of them specialize in packaging dangerous goods. Here are just some of the capabilities to look for when selecting a crating company to package your hazmat.

Speed

Some crating companies take two weeks or more to repackage hazmat. If time is of the essence for your shipment, look for a crating company that can provide at least a 48-hour turnaround when packing your goods. 

Regulations

Adhering to regulations is crucial when shipping hazardous materials. Look for a crating company with knowledge of IATA, DOT, and IDMG regulations to ensure that your shipment’s journey to its destination runs smoothly.

Reputation

When it comes to choosing a crating company to work with, you need confidence that you’re doing business with a team you can trust. Whether you’re sending purchased goods to your eCommerce customers or shipping sentimental goods to a family member, the crating company you choose should understand the importance of transporting your goods as safely and securely as possible. Opt for an experienced crating company that offers various services and is experienced in shipping hazardous materials. If in doubt, check online reviews of your chosen crating company before going ahead with the shipment. 

Frequently Asked Questions around shipping hazardous materials

A trusted supplier of hazmat packaging services

Choosing the right crating company to ship your hazardous materials can mean the difference between your items making it to your destination safely or receiving a fine for shipping dangerous goods incorrectly. You could try packaging hazardous materials yourself and run the risk of a fine. Or, you could get in touch with an experienced crating company specializing in hazmat repackaging today for a stress-free shipping experience.

Here at South Shore Crate and Pack, we know all there is to know about shipping hazardous materials. We’re experts in how to safely package and send dangerous goods in a way that meets regulations and keeps all parties safe. Plus, we only require a day’s notice for hazmat packing, and we can have your goods safely packaged and ready for shipment within 24 hours. 

Our services

At SSCP, we don’t just package hazardous materials. Our expertise spans multiple services, including auction crating, ocean container loading, on-site crating, and warehousing. We even offer custom crates to protect delicate goods such as heavy machinery and antiques. Plus, we only ever use the highest-quality lumber for our standard and custom shipping crates. 

Whatever you’re shipping, we work with customers in the New England area to get your essential goods to their destination in perfect condition. We provide a quick, friendly, and easy service, so you can focus on your other priorities while we focus on your shipments.

Contact us today to begin your crating journey with South Shore Crate and Pack. 

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