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Doing It All: Our Mission to Serve Clients With Extreme Care for HAZMAT Shipments

Safe, professional, and reliable, shipment of goods via air, sea, or ground is always important – and Prime Logistics has the experience to make that happen for its valued customers. But some cargo, classified by U.S. authorities as “hazardous goods” (HAZMAT) or alternatively, internationally, as “dangerous goods,” requires extreme care and top-of-class expertise at every step of the packaging and shipping process.

Fortunately, Prime Logistics can handle packing and shipping services for multiple types of cargo. When we’re asked to assist a client with a HAZMAT shipment, we work to ensure the safety and protection of our employees, transportation companies, the general public, and the communities we serve.

Complying with Diverse Regulations
Heavily regulated by U.S. and international government agencies as well as industry organizations such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), global, and domestic HAZMAT shipments have the potential of a higher-than-normal risk to the public and the environment. As a result, strict rules, regulations and legal requirements for these types of goods are imposed by regulators and can vary from country to country.

Fortunately, Prime Logistics knows the ins and outs of these requirements with “boots on the ground” all around the globe – employees who know local requirements, as well as which airlines or ocean cargo operators will carry specific types of HAZMAT cargo, such as perfume, flammable fuels, or even aircraft engines that by their nature contain oils and other components deemed as dangerous goods (DGs). It’s definitely not a cookie-cutter process.

Expertise on the shipping side, whether it’s domestic or international in nature, is critical. For example, HAZMAT goods can include everything from corrosive goods to explosives, gases, flammable and combustible liquids and solids, oxidizer and organic peroxide, poison, explosives radioactive items, and corrosive goods.

Training, Training, and More Training
“Safely and efficiently transporting HAZMAT boils down to specialized training on an annual basis, emphasizes Edgar Campana, general manager, Prime Logistics. “Training, training and more training – Nothing is more critical.”

In fact, Prime Logistics’ multifaceted training program covers all the basic aspects of all services provided to customers. That includes annual HAZMAT training, during which employees learn how to identify and safely package HAZMAT materials for shipment, critical to the company’s full-service mission of moving all types of cargo for clients.

Why proper packaging is s important
Even the most responsible customers who know the complex rules and regulations for HAZMAT may simply never get close enough to their own products on the shipping side to assure that those goods are packaged properly. In turn, Prime Logistics’ priority is to ensure any dangerous goods presented for shipping by customers are packaged correctly with the correct items.

“That way our employees can advise the transportation company if the package or cargo received is ‘good to fly’ or, alternatively, has issues,” says Campana. If there are problems, Prime Logistics can take the appropriate action to rectify those. It also takes great care to assure its own employees should not be put at risk.

Campana stresses that “we as a company have to know how to properly identify such cargo, learn what we need to clean, contain the material right away, and eliminate risk for employees and the environment.” Among the many steps along the shipping journey, employees must follow varied domestic and international rules and regulations for classifying, identifying, packaging, marking, labeling, documenting, placarding and separating HAZMAT cargo.

Striving for Safe, On-Time Deliveries
It’s a reality that some forwarders that specialize in transportation of cargo simply don’t feel comfortable in dealing with HAZMAT shipments. While handling those certainly isn’t Prime Logistics’ prime business goal, they fall within our full-service approach to serving customers.

HAZMAT is just another element in the shipping process, another way to assist clients. Then, “at the end of the day, it falls on us to help make sure the customer’s shipment makes it to the final destination safely, intact and without a delay at Customs that could be caused by improper packaging or other HAZMAT issues,” he emphasizes.

Keeping People Safe
One facet of Prime Logistics’ HAZMAT service for its shipping clients is unwavering – the safety and protection of employees, customers and the public. It’s also a team approach inside the company. Even Campana has taken the annual HAZMAT training “because the best way to know what people are doing is to know what they are doing day to day, and if they need help, I am ready.”

Beyond HAZMAT certification, Prime Logistics’ employees also offer diverse skill sets and other important certifications. Employees are trained to safely operate forklifts, manage perishables, understand good distribution practices and safely handle specialized products such as vaccines that require lower temperatures. Some also take TSA training to assure they understand Customs requirements.

“As a result, our employees have all the tools they need to safely do their jobs and protect customer shipments,” Campana stresses. For example, if cargo comes to Prime Logistics packed in dry ice, the employee knows how to safely work with it and avoid injury, as dry ice is dangerous to touch and can burn eyes.

“It’s all about having all the expertise needed to assist our clients and handle the shipment with the utmost care,” he points out. “From client to client, cargo always comes in differently and goes out differently, whether it’s fluids, a product that needs to be below zero, dry cargo, or perishables.”

The Right Stuff
Making Another point Campana makes? The supplier may believe “all is okay,” but “if the packaging is not up to our specifications for the transfer to airlines, this is where our expertise comes in – to ensure smooth packing and transport so the customer delivery is not delayed.”

In some cases, Prime Logistics may have to open a crate and repack it to meet HAZMAT regulations or other specifications. Since Prime Logistics is certificated in the U.S., it obviously follows U.S. regulations, but Campana say the company’s employees across the globe understand the requirements and nuances of government rules outside the U.S.

Knowing those local regulations – whether in Rio de Janeiro, Amsterdam, Singapore, or elsewhere – is a plus for customers. “Otherwise, the shipment will get stuck at Customs if we aren’t on top of what’s regulated – and know the right way to move the cargo through,” he adds. That could mean a loss of time for the customer, as well as a loss of money due to fines or extra taxes.

So, while often a customer’s prime concern is that Prime Logistics succeeds in getting their product from Point A to Point B on time and in good shape, Campana emphasizes that “we must handle everything in between, whether a normal shipment or HAZMAT goods.” Fortunately, Prime Logistics has both the experience and expertise to accomplish that in a safe, timely and efficient manner” whatever is being shipped.

Additional Readings: 

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Prime Logistics clients depend on our international network of coordinated cargo and freight service specialists to operate shipping routes across the globe. Our experienced customer service representatives are available to answer your calls and address any international freight forwarding and shipping questions you may have promptly and courteously. We are here for you!