From Across the Pacific to Heartland America
Many of you enjoyed the July 4th fireworks. The display of images created by craftsmen and chemists never fails to impress the viewers. Over the years the fireworks have become very sophisticated. Most of the fireworks that we admire come from China.
Fireworks are considered hazardous cargo and designated under two categories by IMO and U.S. Code of Federal Regulations -- Class 1.4G and Class 1.3G Explosives, the latter being the more hazardous. Special requirements apply to carriage of such cargo by land and sea (prohibited for transportation by air).
Large volume of fireworks shipments arrive every year during the month of June. This year was no exception. QualityOne Logistics of California was involved with transportation of a number of shipments from China for importers in different parts of the country. All shipments were needed for display on 4th of July and arrival of the ships from China posed tight deadlines.
This is about two 40' ocean containers with Class 1.3G Fireworks from Liuyang, China (a major fireworks manufacturing center), to Inman, Kansas, in heartland America -- a distance of more than 7,000 miles by sea and land.
From the factory in Liuyang the containers were trucked to Beihai on the coast and loaded on a feeder ship for HongKong where they were transferred to a large container vessel for carriage to the United States. Danske Line of Copenhagen provides regular, fast service from China to all coasts of the United States. Because of the location of Inman, the fastest and most economical route was via the port of Los Angeles, California. The containers were discharged at Los Angeles and then put on an intermodal freight train to Dallas, Texas. QualityOne specializes in shipments to and from China, and had made arrangements for through movement from Beihai to the importers' warehouse which included trucking from Dallas to Inman.
As it sometimes happen in travel, transportation and in other areas, best laid plans go awry. Checking the progress of the containers on the freight train as it moved from Los Angeles, it became obvious that getting the containers to Inman in time for the importers to prepare for July 4th would be touch and go. Mandatory certification (for drivers) and special insurance coverage are required for motor carriers to qualify for carriage of such hazardous shipments. There are not too many of them and shipments intended for July 4th place heavy demands on their services.
The containers were due to arrive at Dallas on Sunday, June 29th. Southern Freight (the trucking company chosen for carrying the containers to Inman) informed us that it would not be possible for them to move them before Tuesday, July 1st. at the earliest. Dallas to Inman is 428 miles, about 8 hours' drive under optimal conditions. The importers, Sky Color Display, felt that receipt of the containers late on Tuesday would not allow them enough time to unload them and set up the fireworks. They offered to drive to Dallas and receive the shipments. That, too, presented problems. The importers would have required an interchange agreement with the steamship line to move the containers, and they would have had to return the empty containers to the rail ramp at Dallas which would have been quite expensive. Michael Huntsinger at Southern Freight offered a solution. Huntsinger said he could move the containers on Monday morning (June 30th) from the rail yard to Southern Freight's terminal and transload the cargo from the two ocean containers to Sky Color's trucks. Steve Bell of Sky Color accepted the plan; felt that it would work.....give them sufficient time to make the necessary arrangements before July 4th.
For the operation to proceed as planned there was need to obtain "rail pick up numbers" from Danske Line to enable Southern Freight to remove the containers from rail yard. That was accomplished early on Monday morning. Huntsinger confirmed that Sky Color Display's equipment and crew were in position and everything was "go". The transloading operation was completed without hitch and Sky Color's trucks departed for Inman before noon. It was gratifying to get an e-mail from Betty Bell of Sky Color that said: "received our products".
In this particular case, efficient and prompt response from all concerned -- at Danske Line's North American Rail Operations, Southern Freight, Dallas, and Sky Color -- made it possible to meet the deadline.
Note: Fictitious names of individuals and organizations were used for this post.*****