Shipping regulations and customs processing are more complicated now especially when it comes to Hazardous Cargo. Without an expert looking into your order, there are just too many risks.

1- Paying unnecessary fees;
2- Wasting time due to red tape, and;
3- Missing deadlines.

A few years ago, we worked with a customer who wanted to ship a 10’x20’ ocean crate from California to Shaghai, China.  The crate includes empty battery cells and our Director of Sales, Dimitri Malinbaum, immediately foresaw a series of complexities with this job:

  • This was not going to be cheap, but there was no need for the job to cost an arm and a leg. Before providing the client with a sticker-shock price or an under-estimate, Dimitri knew further research was required.
  • Potential dilemma: do the empty battery cells contain any residual acid? If the answer to that question is “yes,” then the container would be considered hazardous.
  • If the shipment was hazardous: Must satisfy the safety standards as laid out on the product data sheet (MSDS) prior to pricing or booking the cargo.
  • Unlike most shipments of used battery cells: The manufacturer based in China was not able to immediately offer internationally accepted proof that the items were 100% clean. Thus, we didn’t have knowledge if batteries are free of acid and non-hazardous.

Here’s what happened:

Dimitri communicated all of these complications to the customer. Emphasizing that any error on the paperwork (such as an incorrect schedule B declaration), would most likely trigger a US customs inspection. This is something that is always to be avoided. Even if the cargo is follows all US customs procedures, red tape during inspections can delay a shipment by days or even weeks.

Because of Dimitri’s forward-thinking initiative and expertise in the industry, he was able to ask for the necessary backup from the supplier and shipper. He was able to prove that the cases were safe, and non-hazardous. Dimitri’s proactivity helped the client to save money as he didn’t have to go down the proverbial hazardous rabbit hole

To date, we have shipped nearly 100 containers for this customer. Some traversing the furthest edges of North America and beyond. This client knows that they can trust us to get their shipment where it needs to go – on time, and on budget.

Looking at the past 35 years in the shipping business, it’s no surprise more shippers prefer smaller, better prepared, managerial-type smaller freight service providers… like us!

ETC is honored and eager to help you with your next freight shipment! Contact us for an estimate, we’ll reply within the same business day.



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