What is HAZMAT Shipping and How Does it Work?
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What is HAZMAT Shipping and How Does it Work?





Shipping HAZMAT means the transport of hazardous materials. To many, the first thing that comes to mind is nuclear waste or some other scary chemical. But, there are actually many everyday products that are classified as dangerous- such as nail polish or e-cigarettes.

These items are considered dangerous, because if the products are damaged or certain liquids spill during the transloading/shipping process, the people exposed are put at risk. In fact, HAZMAT shipping is carefully regulated, and for shippers it can be an expensive and complicated procedure. 

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that these goods be handled by a licensed professional, and if laws are not adhered to, heavy fines may be implemented.

How to ship HAZMAT goods

In this section I’ll briefly outline how to prepare HAZMAT cargo for safe shipping.

Classify & Package

The first thing you’ll want to do is ensure that your cargo has the correct classification information for labelling and packing. You can locate the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) that comes with the cargo that provides an ID number, the packaging group, a shipping name and a hazard class. Use this info to consult the Hazardous Materials Table as a guide to classify, organize and prep your shipment.

Package Your Goods

Care is key with HAZMAT to prevent leaks and ruptures, so special attention must be paid to the packaging of these delicate goods. Follow the packaging requirements outlined in the regulations for the inner and outer materials. Performance packaging is specially designed for HAZMAT, to enhance safety. 

Labeling & Preparing Your Shipping Paper

You’ll need to label your goods accurately, then prepare a shipping paper with a detailed description of the HAZMAT. Here’s what else should be included:

  • UN identification number
  • Shipping name
  • Hazard class
  • Packing group
  • Quantity, number and type of packages 
  • Emergency
  • The shipper’s certification

Choose a carrier

You’ll want to research carriers and choose one based on experience, safety standards and certification. A carrier must be trained and licensed to transport HAZMAT materials. Before partnering, inquire about the regulations and make sure every rule is adhered to so you can ship with peace of mind. Look at customer testimonials and past experience to ensure your cargo is in the best hands.

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