Business is booming! Fireworks shipping season is upon us, and now is the perfect time to get all the answers you need to fully optimize your fireworks shipping strategy. You’d be surprised how tricky it can be to ship fireworks, and how many steps there are in the journey from shipment to an awesome Independence Day firework show. Here’s how to ship fireworks like a true pro—safely and securely.
Americans love fireworks, which probably comes as no surprise. In fact, Americans love fireworks so much they spend more than $1 billion every year on fireworks alone! That means about 268 million pounds of fireworks being sold, shipped, and launched in spectacular displays.
As a fireworks retailer, you want to be sure your business is ready to ship all those fireworks to consumers, safely and securely. Additionally, you want to be sure you understand the laws and regulations at both national, local, and state levels. Fireworks are considered a hazardous item, so there are extra steps you need to take as a fireworks retailer and shipper that we go into detail about below.
Know About Hazmat Shipping
Shipping fireworks classifies as a hazmat shipment. But there are some things you need to know about shipping hazardous items. The big difference between hazmat shipments and other kinds of freight (besides the potentially more dangerous nature of the cargo) is how hazmat shipments are classified. Every LTL shipment has a designated freight class, but in addition to that, every hazardous shipment has to be classified under one of nine hazard classes regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT):
- Class 1: Explosives
- Class 2: Gases
- Class 3: Flammable and Combustible Liquids
- Class 4: Flammable Solids
- Class 5: Oxidizing Substances, Organic Peroxides
- Class 6: Toxic Substances and Infectious Substances
- Class 7: Radioactive Materials
- Class 8: Corrosives
- Class 9: Miscellaneous Hazardous Materials
And most of these classes have class divisions within them for more specific items. Knowing the freight class and hazard class of your shipment is a vital step because whichever carrier you choose needs to be sure they have the capacity and ability to handle your hazmat or fireworks shipment. A wrong freight or hazmat class could result in reclassification, which is a billing adjustment post-shipment, or a refused pickup leading to a rescheduling dilemma for you.
Licensing and Paperwork
Just as you need a qualified, licensed carrier to ship your fireworks, you as the shipper also need to be certified as a hazmat shipper. Simply put, if you’re not a certified hazmat shipper, your shipment isn’t going anywhere. No licensed carrier will handle an unlicensed hazmat shipper’s shipment, so this is a crucial thing to get taken care of. Visit the Transportation Compliance Associates’ website here to get certified as a hazmat shipper.
And speaking of handling your shipment, something else plays an important role in the process—properly filling out the needed paperwork. Because hazardous or potentially explosive items have to be shipped under strict requirements and with certified carriers, you will have to be extra careful when filling out or reviewing paperwork.
Here are the seven items that must be on your hazmat shipment’s Bill of Lading (BOL):
- Identification Number - UN or NA Number.
- Hazard Class.
- Packing Group (I, II or III).
- Hazmat material’s Proper Shipping Name.
- Emergency response company’s name and phone number.
- Weight of the hazmat material.
- Packaging of the hazmat material.
An accurate BOL means a smoother shipping process and reduces the risk of surprise charges months after your shipment is completed. Make sure everything is accurate and correct when filling out official shipping paperwork.
Other Fireworks Shipping Pro Tips
Shipping fireworks, or any hazmat shipment, can be risky and dangerous. Ensuring your cargo is packaged properly is yet another crucial step in the process. Some of the most common packaging that would work best with hazardous items are:
- Corrugated fiberboard box.
- Drum and Pail.
- 4GV packaging.
As far as what the best packaging supplies for shipping hazardous materials is all depends on your needs and your items. We also put together a comprehensive Guide to Freight Packaging to help you further understand different types of packaging and what works best in your supply chain.
Another important thing to remember is read up on the state laws applicable to your fireworks shipment. Some states have no fireworks restrictions whatsoever, others might have some more limitations. Always operate within the confines of the law when shipping fireworks.
Partner with FreightCenter
FreightCenter works with fireworks wholesalers around the country, providing the expertise you need for these uniquely classified shipments. We can help you through all aspects of hazardous material shipping.