Rejected package but checklist doesn’t reference prepared package

I had a very “interesting” air shipment rejection recently. Let me tell you what happened. 

A client dropped off some products that needed to be prepared for air transport. It was two different UN#s and less than a liter for each product. Since it was a small volume and both fell under hazard Class 3 (UN1133 and UN1993), I decided to do the “All Packed In One” option. Calculated the Q value, which equated to 0.3.  Packaged both containers inside a 4GV packaging with plenty of absorbent material. On the outside of the box, I added one class 3 label since both UN#s are the same hazard class and included the shipping name, UN#, and quantity per each next to the class 3 label. Prepared the shipper’s declaration as required when shipping under All Packed In One. 

Package and four copies of colored shipper’s declaration were picked up by the client’s carrier. Usually, this is the end of our service.  

The following day I get an email from our client who said the package was rejected by the airline and he has to ship it via ground now. He had sent over the checklist. The following was the reasons for rejection:

17 – Wording “Overpack Used”

30 – Same number and type of packagings and overpacks delivered as shown on DGD

42 – The label(s) identifying the Primary hazard as per 4.2, Column D properly affixed.  

From what I understood of this rejected checklist is that “they” took the one package that I had repacked and placed it inside an overpack, i.e., pallet, so clearly it’s no longer compliant for air transport. I asked my client if that was the case, and he said no. His carrier delivered one box. I told him that’s not possible as none of the rejected reasons line up with what I had done, explained what each of those rejections meant and how that’s not related to the package by itself. I had sent him pictures of the completed package so he understood my confusion on how this package could be rejected.  

I asked him to follow up with the airline and ask for a picture of the shipment as it was delivered to them. He said he will. I followed up with my client a couple of days later for an update and he said he still hasn’t heard back.  

This is a common error when untrained folks handle dangerous goods. Although the package itself is prepared correctly, they assume they can consolidate it with other packages for ease of shipping. Unfortunately, when it comes to dangerous goods, the rules are quite specific, and any alteration (i.e., placing on a pallet) causes delays and rejections.  

By the way, I still haven’t heard back from my client. I assume something somewhere was altered; hence, no response.  

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Racheal Mani

Racheal Mani

Racheal Mani, based out in our Delta, B.C. office, has over 12 years of experience working under different auspices of federal, provincial, and municipal regulatory framework. She specializes in TDG Clear Language, IATA, IMDG, and WHMIS 2015 training. Racheal’s extensive knowledge in the dangerous goods industry is driven from her hands-on experience from packaging of dangerous goods for all modes of transport and her consistent liaison with ICC clients to ensure dangerous goods consignments meet the applicable regulatory requirements prior to transport.