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Inaugural Dangerous Goods roadshow off to a flying start

Inaugural Dangerous Goods Roadshow off to a flying start

Coinciding with imminent changes in the Dangerous Goods Regulations

Richard Shreeve, Key Account and Marketing Manager at the organisers Labeline International Ltd, reviews this highly successful Roadshow held at Heathrow, East Midlands Airport and Aberdeen in November 2016

The first leg of Labeline International’s inaugural Biennial Dangerous Goods Roadshow got off to a flying start at the Sheraton Skyline, Heathrow – a superb venue with a stunning, tropically themed poolside bar. Here, on the evening prior to the event, Labeline organised an ice-breaker, where presenters, exhibitors and delegates had the opportunity to meet in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere over drinks and canapés courtesy of one of our sponsors.

The next stop on the Roadshow was the Hilton Hotel, East Midlands Airport, and then on to the final leg at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Aberdeen. Over 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 arriving from the USA, Latvia, Switzerland, Netherlands, Portugal, Hungary and Ireland.

The comprehensive delegate pack contained a feedback form, and the responses given to the ‘Biennial’ were 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 format, with the morning sessions being kicked off by the exhibitors and sponsors, who each gave a brief introduction to their company.
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 Dangerous Goods Regulations for all modes, and the processes that lead to amendments being implemented.

Between them, they cited a number of major incidents which have had a direct influence on regulatory change. Their presentation was illustrated by 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 went on to present informative talks on the Regulations pertaining to the mode of transport in which they are proficient.
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.

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 effect of the disaster. Images showed the vessel alight and the aftermath of the explosion and fire caused by polymerisation. Richard went on to explain the resulting changes to the IMDG Code.

Software solutions
Images of stricken cargo ships, some quite spectacular, were also prominent in the presentation by James Douglas of 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 Masters’ 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 DGOffice’s Managing Director, Herman Teering, triggered a lot of interest in the solution.

When things go 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.

The US experience
L’Gena Shaffer from Currie Associates, Labeline’s partner in the USA, covered the Regulations which apply over there, and highlighted the consequences of non-compliance by describing some of the penalties issued in recent years. Peter Mackay, Editor-in-Chief of Hazardous Cargo Bulletin, 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, since he has chaired all six 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 any reported incident on board an aircraft. Where lithium batteries have been suspected to be the source of a fire, the culprit has been 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 on 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.

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 on 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 the UK has previously negotiated some national derogations.

His opinion is that any move away from ADR is unlikely, since it would not be in the UK’s interests to do so. The Regulations for sea and air are mandatory worldwide (almost), so that Brexit would have no impact. Ironically the subject barely got a mention in Aberdeen.

Many of the questions were of a technical or regulatory nature. However, in Aberdeen, the panel were asked: ‘What do you think we will be discussing in two years’ 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 related certification process.

Peter Mackay, the high-profile Editor-in-Chief of Hazardous Cargo Bulletin magazine, was our Master-of-Ceremonies. He has had many years’ experience of hosting events and managing seminars in our industry all around the World. He was as efficient as ever on the clock, keeping the speakers to time and providing a seamless link between presentations.

Organiser’s comment
We at Labeline International were extremely pleased with how the series of seminars were received. 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 whom 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 delegates took away with them 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, Managing Director of Labeline International, remarked: ‘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, Hazardous Cargo Bulletin and Truck and Track.

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

‘The Biennial Dangerous Goods Roadshow was created as a not-for-profit event designed to bring together all those involved in Dangerous Goods, and not only from within the UK. Our overseas visitors and exhibitors provided an international flavour, so that we could all share problems and experiences. 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 Kingham explains how the project came to fruition: ‘Richard Shreeve 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 there was no better time to hold it than when the Dangerous Goods Regulations are about to change.

‘We admit the challenge was great as we wanted to cover the whole of the UK as best we could. However, the programme and locations paid off handsomely with all three events exceeding our expectations.’ 
Richard recalls how the concept became reality: ‘At HCB’s 35th Anniversary evening in February 2016, I sought the opinions of some well-known personalities in our industry, including Jeff Hart, Peter Mackay and the late Desmond Waight – all of whom thought that we should go ahead. Having secured the services of Hazardous Cargo Bulletin as our marketing partner, and the support of the aforementioned speakers, exhibitors and sponsors, the first Biennial Dangerous Goods Roadshow was born.’

In addition to the comments given earlier, the Labeline office received numerous calls to congratulate those involved in putting on such a good show, and we have also received emails for the bouquet file, 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 comments such as ‘Congratulations on putting on three great events!’ and ‘Well done, Labeline!’

Following such very positive feedback, Labeline has now set the standard for the future and has already started planning the next Biennial Roadshow as a bigger and more international event. So, if you would like to be kept informed about the 2018 Roadshow, please send an email to, and we will notify you as soon as we release further details.