The Process of Hazardous Cargo Acceptance and Shipment

In this post, lets go through the actual process of how the hazardous cargo approval process works with the lines and port.

It starts with the client approaching the shipping line for hazardous cargo acceptance. Most lines have their specific templates for the hazardous cargo request. The client is required to fill up ALL fields in the request sheet and send to the shipping line. The shipping line which a lot of the time has a specialized hazard desk or hazard cargo center will check if all the information provided is correct. Assuming that all the info provided is right, they will then check the status of the vessel that is nominated to carry this hazardous cargo.

Usually each vessel has a fixed quota of how many and what type of hazardous cargoes can be carried on board. This will vary from ship to ship, line to line, port to port and depends also on the cargo that is already on board, if any.

If the hazardous desk then ascertains that this nominated ship can carry this type of hazardous cargoes, it will give the go ahead to the export desk and the client that the hazard cargo is acceptable.

Only after this is done, the hazardous booking can be made firm and client will be given the container release. So to all the shippers and forwarders out there, if a shipping line says that it can’t carry the hazardous cargo on a specific vessel but confirms to carry on the next vessel, this is usually the reason. Each ship is different in terms of stowage and carrying capacities. 

Once the container is packed according to the hazardous specifications, the container is moved to the container terminal within the stack period as usual. A Hazardous CTO needs to be passed for all hazardous containers moving into the ports. This is for the port to identify that this container is hazardous and provide the required special stow within the port area for the same. The client must also affix the CORRECT hazard labels on all 4 sides of the container WITHOUT FAIL. The port will NOT accept any hazardous container into the port without the labels.

Concurrent with the movement of the hazardous container, the hazardous packing declaration (also known as Dangerous Goods Packing Certificate) must also be filled out by the client and sent to the shipping line. As with the hazardous cargo request, each line has its own template of hazardous packing declaration paperwork. This hazardous packing declaration is a VERY VERY IMPORTANT document both for the ship and the shipping line, the client and the ports, specially when it comes to the various types of hazardous cargoes being handled.

The shipper must take care and be diligent while filling up the same as misdeclaration of the same has serious consequences on the lives of many of the people in the port, ship and transporters who handle this container along its route from Point A to Point B. All the fields in this declaration play a vital role and none of it must be excluded for the benefit of all concerned.

One copy of this hazardous packing declaration is always available on board the ship. The shipping line also submits a separate hazardous cargo manifest detailing ALL hazardous cargoes that are on board each of which will have its own hazardous packing declaration. 

The shipping line personnel also verify that the details provided in the hazardous packing declaration is the same as the details provided at the time of hazardous cargo acceptance.

In summery the process is below:

  • hazardous cargo acceptance sent to shipping line
  • shipping line authenticates the same
  • shipping line checks hazardous space on the vessel
  • shipping line confirms acceptance
  • client packs the container and affixes the correct hazardous labels
  • hazardous CTO is passed and container goes into the port/terminal
  • client fills up the hazardous packing declaration and gives a copy to the shipping line
  • shipping line provides the hazardous packing declaration to the ship along with hazardous cargo manifest