Labeline International’s inaugural Biennial Dangerous Goods Roadshow

The first leg of Labeline International’s inaugural Biennial Dangerous Goods Roadshow got off to a flying start recently at the Sheraton Skyline, Heathrow. Next stop for the roadshow was the Hilton Hotel, East Midlands before the final leg at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Aberdeen. 

More than 200 people attended the three events and as the roadshow had a multimodal theme, it drew in a broad spectrum of delegates from across industry. There was an international flavour too, with attendees coming from USA, Latvia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Hungary and Ireland.

The feedback was overwhelmingly positive with comments such as “Excellent”, "Very professional”, "Informative speakers", “Very informative”, “Well presented”, "High standard of exhibitors” and “Brilliantly arranged and very well organised”.

The seminars all followed the same programme, with the morning sessions being kicked off by the exhibitors and sponsors, who each gave a brief introduction to their company. They included: 

Jeff & Geoff (Hart & Leach)

Following the commercials came the highly informative and, at times, humorous double act performed by two of the leading protagonists in the dangerous goods industry, Jeff Hart OBE and Geoff Leach.  Their experience as former regulators and Chairmen of the UN Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and the ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel respectively, gives them the authority to discuss not just the changes to the regulations but also the reasoning behind them.

They provided a fascinating insight into the origin and evolution of the dangerous goods regulations for all modes, and the processes that lead to amendments being implemented. 

Between them, they cited a number of major incidents that had a direct influence on regulatory change. The presentation was punctuated with some frightening statistics, archive news articles, graphic photographs and video footage to highlight the scale and significance of each one.

Luminaries from across the world of dangerous goods then presented informative talks on the regulations pertaining to the mode of transport in which they are proficient.

Air

IATA’s Manager of Cargo Standards, Alexandra Jimenez, gave an overview of the regulatory changes in the 2017 ICAO Technical Instructions and the 58th Edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations. Alexandra is one of IATA’s dangerous goods team of experts and, as secretary of the IATA Dangerous Goods Training Working Group (DGTWG), she specialises in training standards.  Explanations were given on the updates and amendments that will need to be complied with from January 2017, including the introduction of many new Special Provisions and revisions of existing ones.  Paul Horner, IATA’s Manager of Dangerous Goods, presented this session with aplomb at the Aberdeen leg.

Sea

Having detailed knowledge of a major incident involving a container ship carrying polymerising products that instigated a new set of UN Numbers, it was appropriate that our maritime expert, Richard Masters, spent part of his presentation highlighting the cause and the impact of the disaster.  Images showed the vessel alight and the aftermath of the explosion and fire that was caused by polymerisation. Richard subsequently explained the changes to the IMDG Code that resulted from the disaster.

Software solutions

Images of stricken cargo ships, some quite spectacular, were also prominent in the presentation by James Douglas from Exis Technologies. James emphasised the importance of training, which has been a requirement of the IMDG Code since 2008, and introduced the company’s E-learning programmes for both Dangerous Goods and the CTU Code, which are available through Labeline.  He also delivered Richard’s presentation in Aberdeen.

Labeline is also a leading partner distributor of DGOffice, the world-renowned software for generating compliant dangerous goods documentation. An intuitive demonstration by Managing Director, Herman Teering, triggered a lot of interest in the solution.

When it goes wrong

After lunch, NCEC’s Dr. Tom Baker gave examples of what can happen when things go wrong by referring to three incidents involving chemicals in transit.  He emphasised the financial implications for the companies concerned, the tarnishing of their reputations and how the impact could have been reduced - or even avoided - with better training, improved working practices and robust emergency response plans. 

For those interested in the practical side of emergency response there was the opportunity during the intervals to take a 'tour' of Braemar’s chemical incident response vehicle.

USA

L’Gena Shaffer from Currie Associates, Labeline’s partner in the USA, covered the regulations that apply over there, and highlighted the consequences of non-compliance by listing some of the penalties that have been issued in recent years. HCB’s Editor-in-Chief demonstrated his knowledge of the subject by taking over this section at both the East Midlands and Aberdeen seminars.

Lithium batteries

Back to the stage came Geoff Leach to unravel the mysteries of the regulations surrounding the transport of lithium batteries and why they are so stringent, and indeed controversial. He is ideally placed to present on this hot topic as he has chaired all 6 of IATA’s Lithium Battery Workshops. 

It soon became clear from his talk that there is, to date, no evidence to point the finger at lithium batteries that have been tested, packaged and shipped in compliance with the regulations to be the cause of a reported incident on board an aircraft. Where lithium batteries have been suspected to be the source of a fire, the suspicion has fallen on counterfeit products. 

Geoff made the point that specialist training is essential for anyone involved in the shipping of lithium batteries, and that the limited reference to them in a standard shippers course cannot be considered to meet the demands of being “commensurate with their responsibilities”. Geoff runs Labeline’s CAA accredited training courses, including the popular two-day course on “The Safe Handling of Lithium Batteries by Air” in which candidates are given an understanding of how to interpret the provisions for classifying, packing, labelling and marking. 

Road

The microphone was then handed back to Jeff Hart to cover the final topic on the agenda: the changes to ADR.  For many years, Jeff was the voice of reason as the UK’s representative at the UN where he had a significant hand in the drafting of some of the amendments to the regulations. Highly experienced at delivering talks on the subject, his knowledge shone through in a slick and concise presentation – especially when describing the nuances around the new UN numbers for vehicles, engines and machinery.

Question time

Delegates were asked to save their questions until the last session of the day and, at both of the first two events, there were questions relating to Brexit and whether the regulations will or could change as a result. Jeff emphasised that ADR now has many signatory states outside Europe and that UK has previously negotiated some national derogations.  His opinion is that any move away from ADR is unlikely as it would not be in the UK’s interests to do so.  The regulations for sea and air are mandatory worldwide (almost) so Brexit would have no impact. Perhaps, ironically, the subject barely got a mention in Aberdeen.

A number of the questions were of a technical or regulatory nature however, in Aberdeen, the panel was asked: “What do you think we will be discussing in two year’s time?”  The response was that lithium batteries will undoubtedly still be on the agenda, and that one of the major changes to ADR will relate to road/rail tank construction and the certification process thereof.

The organiser’s reaction

Labeline International is extremely pleased with how the series of seminars were received. Key Account Manager, Richard Shreeve, said: “We are thrilled with the response to our first foray into event management and have already started planning the 2018 Biennial Dangerous Goods Roadshow. 

“The quality of the speakers was extremely important to us and we were delighted that all those who we asked to present were able to do so.  Their commitment boosted the credibility of the Roadshow and helped raise the profile of the event in our marketing campaign. The clear message that delegates took away was that all those involved in the classification, packing or shipping of dangerous goods should familiarise themselves with the latest versions of the regulations.”

Keith Kingham, MD of Labeline, added: “The Biennial Dangerous Goods Roadshow was created as a not for profit event designed to bring together all those involved in dangerous goods, not only from within the UK - our overseas visitors and exhibitors provided an international flavour so that we could all share problems and experience. The exhibitors were invited to cover a range of products and services that help operators and shippers, throughout the supply chain, to be compliant when handling dangerous goods.”

Keith explains how the project came to fruition. “Richard and I discussed our previous experiences at the many events that Labeline support and agreed that we often saw the same core attendees each time. We wanted to change this and bring in staff at all levels, from warehouse operatives, packers, shippers, carriers and purchasing managers up to experienced dangerous goods professionals. We also wanted to attract expertise from overseas to discuss international issues. To make it work, we needed to have an educational bias and when better to hold it than when the dangerous goods regulations are about to change.”

“We admit the challenge was great but the programme and locations paid off.  Of the three events, both Heathrow and East Midlands exceeded our expectations. With the condition of the oil industry at a low, the Aberdeen leg had fewer delegates than we’d hoped for, however we wanted to cover the whole of the UK as best we could.”

He added: "We know all the exhibitors and sponsors very well, and indeed have partnership agreements with most of them. We’d like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the following businesses for their support: DGOffice, Braemar Howells, Air Sea Containers, Exis Technologies, Safeware Quasar, NCEC, Currie Associates, IHMM, BADGP, HCB and Truck and Track. 

"Labeline is IATA’s leading distributor for their DGR worldwide so we were also pleased that Roman Orlik, Sales & Business Manager and James Wyatt, IATA’s newly appointed Asst. Director for the Dangerous Goods Publications were each able to attend one of the shows."

Feedback

Apart from the comments listed above, the Labeline office received a number of calls to congratulate those involved in putting on such a good show and we have also received a few emails, such as this from Cliff Collie of Petrofac Training Services who attended the Aberdeen leg: “Thank you for organising such a well run roadshow. I certainly found it worthwhile and it is definitely a 'must attend' for anyone in the industry.”

Some of the speakers have also emailed with comments such as “Congratulations on putting on three great events!” and “Well done, Labeline!”.

Following the very positive feedback, Labeline has now set the standard for the future and has already started planning the next “Biennial” as a bigger and more international event. 

If you would like to be kept informed of the 2018 Roadshow, please send an email to sales@labeline.com and we will notify you when we have further information.