What do fireworks, men’s fragrances and batteries have in common? For logistics companies it is obvious. These goods are classed as dangerous goods. Working with them is challenging but interesting!
Georgij Baranov, Dangerous Cargo Transportation Commissioner at AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG, knows a lot about “dangerous logistics”.
Georgij, let’s get the basic definitions right. What does dangerous mean?
Let’s start with a short history of dangerous goods. The starting point was 1968, when the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) came into force. The agreement is binding in the EU, the CIS, and some other countries.
The ADR is a 2000-page book containing full information about the requirements for ADR transportation. The list of dangerous goods is included in the third part of the Agreement. It is updated every 2 years with new categories of goods. For now, there are more that 3000 categories.
These 3000 categories are divided into 9 classes. Each class has its own requirements regarding transportation safety. AsstrA AG provides logistics for all classes except the 1st (explosive materials) and 7th (radioactive materials). The transportation of these goods is highly specialized and in most cases regulated by defense ministries and environmental authorities.
When choosing transport for dangerous goods, it is important to take into consideration not only classes but also packing groups. Group I is for high-risk goods, II for lower-risk goods, and III for minimal-risk goods. And here is the most interesting part: some cargoes do not need to be shipped in by special transport with trained drivers. For example, up to one ton of a good in packing group III can be treated as standard cargo. Depending on its physical state, it is possible to fill some 1-litre containers with it and package it securely.
There are a lot of nuances and special conditions in the ADR. That is why, in order to help Clients avoid additional expenses and efforts, AsstrA decided to improve its specialists’ ADR competencies. For doing so, it was necessary to pass ADR certification exams. Dangerous Cargo Transportation Commissioner is more than just a title — to receive this status you need to prove your knowledge and understanding of those 2000 pages. After receiving the qualification, you need to re-certify every 5 years.
This investment in skills was not wasted. AsstrA Clients received tailored consultancy regarding their ADR questions, and the company always offers the best shipping options.
Georgij, what is important to take into consideration when preparing to ship dangerous goods?
If a Client works directly with a transportation supplier, he should verify that its drivers have received the proper training and check weather the trucks are fully equipped. ADR requirements apply even to shipments passing through just one country that is a signatory. Violating the requirements puts everyone at risk of not having the cargo clear customs — or worse. When Clients work with AsstrA, our specialists perform all the necessary work, including supplier selection and due diligence and the preparation of accompanying documentation for customs etc.
To register the transportation of dangerous goods there is a safety data sheet in the CIS and the MSDS in the EU. This document is an obligatory part of accompanying technical documentation for chemical products. It should provide customers with full and verified information about the industrial application, storage, transportation, and disposal of the chemical products being transported.
A card or a safety list is one more obligatory document. This provides instructions for the driver as to what must be done in case dangerous cargo is damaged or starts leaking. It is important to mention that the card must be in a language the driver understands. There have been several cases of a Lithuanian driver receiving such a card in French while loading the cargo. At that very moment, AsstrA quickly sent to him all the necessary information in Lithuanian.
ADR transportation has strictly regulated processes, but it is relatively easy to stay safe just by knowing the rules and following them.
ADR has a special way of fulfilling CMR requirements. It is necessary to write the UN reference number of a dangerous substance. Also the name of the material and its class, packing group, gross weight, and a rare parameter: a tunnel category (D, E, B, D/E, B/D, C/E, etc). This classification is used for transportation through tunnels. Each European tunnel with a road has a category. And many of them can not be used for ADR because they are not ventilated. That should be considered when first establishing the route and timeframe for a delivery.