Beveridge & Diamond helps companies in all industries to move hazardous materials and dangerous goods of all types, by all modes of transport, and across all regions of the globe.
Our lawyers assist clients with all aspects of transporting hazardous materials (also known as “hazmat”) and dangerous goods, both in the United States and internationally, by air, road, rail, and sea. We provide the full range of regulatory services in this area, including counseling clients on compliance with applicable rules, advising on strategic planning, responding to inspections and enforcement actions, advocating for changes to the relevant regulations, obtaining regulatory interpretations from governing authorities, applying for special permits and competent authority approvals, and petitioning for determinations that U.S. federal rules preempt related state regulations.
Our work has involved virtually every type of hazardous material and dangerous good, including lithium batteries and products containing such batteries, flammable liquids, corrosives, poisons, compressed gases, explosives, radioactive materials, and infectious substances. We help companies with regular “forward” shipments of their core products, reverse logistics (e.g., for products that are damaged, recalled, discontinued, fail to sell through, or collected as part of a mandatory or voluntary takeback program), waste shipments, and one-off shipments of materials that the companies normally do not handle. Common issues relate to classifying materials, packaging, marking, labeling, placarding, shipping papers, emergency response information, security planning, registration, and employee training.
With supply chains and distribution networks now extending worldwide, much of our work in this area involves not only the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR), but also international regulatory regimes (e.g., the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations for shipments by aircraft, and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code for shipments by vessel), regional regulations (e.g., the European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) for highway shipments within Europe and neighboring countries), and national rules in countries throughout the world.
Our deep knowledge of and experience with all of these rules and their application in a wide variety of contexts gives us a unique perspective and enables us to efficiently craft business-oriented solutions to the transportation challenges facing our clients.
Our clients include a broad array of manufacturers (e.g., makers of chemicals, electronics, appliances, and medical devices), service sector companies (e.g., telecommunications, utilities, reverse logistics, building maintenance, waste management, and oilfield services), retailers/distributors of consumer products, cargo carriers (e.g., airlines, railroads, and trucking companies), and related trade associations.
We handle projects of all sizes, from helping startup companies with one-off shipments of small quantities of materials in the U.S. to assisting leading multinational companies with developing worldwide compliance systems for regular shipments of bulk materials. Because even many of the largest companies do not have in-house counsel focused on these issues, our lawyers excel in working alongside business leaders, logistics professionals, and technical staff. In some cases, we have become fully integrated with company teams working on day-to-day transportation issues. We also frequently provide training on hazardous materials and dangerous goods issues in general and on specific issues of particular interest.
Our work in this area is grounded in an understanding of the vital importance to all businesses of maintaining the proper flow of products, raw materials, intermediates, wastes, and other materials in a safe and secure manner that complies with applicable legal requirements. We always strive to find creative solutions to advance the client’s business objectives, for example, by identifying approaches to packaging of products that will enable shipments to qualify for regulatory exceptions that minimize compliance obligations, or by crafting carefully tailored applications for special permits or competent authority approvals that authorize alternative transportation safeguards that are easier and cheaper for the company to implement.
We provide practical advice that logistics personnel can easily use, frequently in the form of flow diagrams, charts, or tables, rather than lengthy and complex legal memoranda. In the case of enforcement actions, we keep an eye toward not only resolving the immediate issues raised by government authorities in a favorable fashion, but also ensuring that any settlement does not create obstacles to future operations.