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LPS Industries Marks Anniversary of Exempt Pack

MOONACHIE, NJ | LPS Industries reports it has been 40 years since it set out to solve a problem facing the world’s largest freight carriers. Company says it accepted and met the challenge of developing a safe and proven method of packaging hazardous materials that did not have to be segregated by shippers. The result was the DOT-SP 8249 exempt UN packaging system which established and remains the gold standard for safely shipping hazardous materials and chemicals.

The origins of DOT 8249 can be traced back to the 1970s when a growing United Parcel Service (UPS) sought to expand its capabilities and revenue by developing a protocol for safely shipping hazardous materials mixed with other freight types via their standard trucking process.

Up to that point, federal regulations prohibited any size of hazmat shipment labeled as “poison” to be comingled with any consumables on the same truck. This forced manufacturers and distributors of dangerous goods to segregate, palletize, and ship the hazardous materials via a general freight carrier trucking company. In addition to adding time to the delivery cycle by having to use general freight carriers, the associated extra cost to ship in this manner was passed on to the customer, often at a premium of up to 10x the cost of UPS’s standard delivery rates.

At the same time, UPS was also receiving many requests from smaller shippers, e.g., chemical companies, paint and coating manufacturers, and distributors, among others, to find a solution to their hazmat shipping challenges. Their collective need was for a practical, cost-effective method of delivering small quantities of hazardous materials, typically products or samples in 1 liter or smaller primary containers, to stores and customers.

The UPS loss prevention team challenged LPS to develop a DOT-certified packaging solution that would have the integrity to be certified “exempt” (i.e., not requiring a poison label or any other hazardous warning label for domestic deliveries) so the packages could be comingled with drivers’ standard loads while providing optimal protection.

LPS designed, tested, and ultimately manufactured a packaging system that would respond to UPS’s needs while satisfying strict federal regulations. The approved “poison pack” was awarded the federal designation DOT-E 8249 Exemption Package, with the “E” standing for “Exempt.” The DOT recently changed the designation to DOT-SP 8249 with the SP standing for “Special Permit.” Everything about the package remains the same; only the DOT designation has changed.

As the 8249 exempt pack became the industry standard, LPS was soon contacted by FedEx who expressed interest in the product for air shipments. The DOT invited LPS to provide packaging samples for testing to quantify the integrity of the system. The testing was conducted by loading a plane with samples of LPS’ exemption package and crashing it into the Mojave Desert. The packaging survived the test and was approved for use in air freight. FedEx adopted the LPS packaging system and was shortly followed by other air freight carriers, including UPS.

Company says the 8249 exempt pack safely ships toxic/poisonous materials as well as a wide range of other hazard types, examples include flammable liquids and solids, self heating materials, corrosive materials, pyrophoric materials, and oxidizers, regardless of their being in powder, granule, liquid, or solid form.

The packaging system comes in 0.5- and 1.0-liter primary container sizes for liquids and 1# to 6# sizes for solids. Both options are available in single, two, and four-pack varieties. All are exempt from carrying a poison/toxic label, and can be transported internationally along with standard UPS, FedEx, and other carriers’ shipments.


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