Industrial transportation services are often a bit different than standard trucking and freight services; when you arrange standard freight, the company may expect that items are packed in boxes or shrink-wrapped on a pallet. With industrial transportation, you may need to have an entire container of oil or a hazardous substance hauled, or may have other special considerations for whatever reason. Before you arrange such transportation services, note a few questions to ask and information to cover with any potential service so you know you make the right choice and know what's involved.
1. Ask what they consider to be hazardous materials
The legal definition of hazardous materials may vary from location to location, but each transportation company may also have their own definition. For example, they may consider anything flammable as being hazardous, including cooking oil, insulation, and the like. Even if your materials don't fit the legal definition of being hazardous, if a transport company deems them to be hazardous, you may face additional fees and may also be required to prepare them in a particular way so they're safe to transport. Always discuss this with any industrial carrier so you know what to expect.
2. Ask how they prepare their tanks, if you're not providing your own
If you're shipping materials in your own tanks, you may have special prep work you do to clean the tanks of sludge, dirt, and other such contaminants. However, if you use the tanks of an industrial transport company, you need to know what was transported in it before you load and also how they clean and prepare it. There may be chemicals they use for cleaning that could compromise your materials. Some chemicals might also do a poor job of cleaning out other materials, and this too can compromise your materials. Ask how they prepare their tanks so you know your materials will be safe when loaded and transported.
3. Note how they handle materials flow interruptions
Very often, any type of railcar or container will have a materials flow interruption, meaning materials might get stuck to the walls or to each other when being unloaded. An air cannon can blast these materials loose, or a company might use an industrial vibrator. The industrial vibrator might damage your materials if there is an entanglement risk, of they might tend to congeal. Ask about how they manage a materials flow interruption so you know they can unload your materials safely when needed.