20 Nov 2017
In trucking, the transport of hazardous materials is highly regulated. A shipper is required to notate several things on a bill of lading if a chemical being transported is explosive, flammable, corrosive, combustible, toxic, poisonous or otherwise dangerous. The specific type of hazard must be indicated, as well as the packing group to which it belongs. Packing groups indicate what degree of danger the product presents—I meaning high danger, II meaning medium and III meaning low. Also affecting classification is the handling unit, such as cartons, drums or tanks; therefore, the handling unit type should be listed on the bill of lading. The presence of this information serves to inform drivers what placarding, if any, is necessary when moving the product. It also serves to help carriers determine which NMFC item and class apply.
It is very important that shippers indicate the type of handling unit, the applicable hazard class (from Class 1 Explosives to Class 9 Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods) and the correct packing group that applies to the dangerous goods being shipped to avoid being overcharged. If a shipper indicates a hazard class with no packing group, for instance, the carrier has the right to assume that the highest danger packing group—Packing Group I—applies. The lower the packing group, the higher the charges are, typically. The carrier also has the right to assume that the handling unit type used was the one that results in the highest charges.
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