Transportation of Hazardous Materials

  • Holland & Knight has considerable experience handling hazardous materials (HAZMAT) transportation investigations and penalty cases.
  • Our team represents shippers and carriers in investigations and proceedings involving a variety of agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Federal Railway Administration.
  • We assist clients with a wide range of HAZMAT-related compliance and regulatory issues, and advise on U.S. regulations and their interaction with international regimes.

Holland & Knight has extensive experience representing clients in hazardous materials (HAZMAT) transportation penalty cases, as well as counseling clients on HAZMAT compliance. We have regularly advised on the U.S. Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) and the interaction between the HMR and international regimes, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) technical instructions for the Safe Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Air and the corresponding International Air Transportation Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations. Our clients include shippers and carriers, including several airlines, and we have advised on HAZMAT products ranging from oxygen generators to lithium batteries.

Penalty Cases & Investigations

Holland & Knight has handled numerous Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) HAZMAT investigations and penalty proceedings for both air carriers and companies shipping products by air. We have represented companies in HAZMAT investigations and penalty proceeding from agencies having jurisdiction over other modes of transportation, including the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Federal Railway Administration (FRA). At Holland & Knight, we understand the delicate balance between advocating vigorously for our client, while at the same time cooperating with a government investigation and demonstrating the credibility and integrity of our client's organization through specific actions such as corrective measures in order to mitigate penalties.

Representative cases include:

  • represented a foreign airline in a FAA HAZMAT penalty case involving alleged improper shipment of oxygen generators as COMAT (company materials)
  • advised a third-party logistics provider on a USCG case involving shipment of acid
  • represented an electronics manufacturer in several FAA HAZMAT penalty cases involving improper marking, packaging and transportation of lithium batteries
  • handled several FMCSA cases for foreign fireworks manufacturer
  • negotiated a settlement on behalf of a major department store chain to charges of intentionally shipping perfume samples in violation of the HMR
  • represented a construction company and a furniture manufacturer in cases involving one-off shipments of alcohol-based solvents and finishes

Counseling and Compliance

Holland & Knight provides legal advice to clients on a wide range of HAZMAT-related compliance and regulatory issues. For example, we assisted a multi-national equipment manufacturer in developing a strategy to change ICAO regulations with respect to a particular category of HAZMAT. In addition, we have counseled U.S. companies on contractual and other steps to ensure foreign suppliers comply with specific U.S. HAZMAT regulations without assuming liability for mistakes made by foreign suppliers. For example, Holland & Knight has:

  • performed HAZMAT program and environmental due diligence on an aviation manufacturer in a M&A transaction
  • counseled U.S. electronics manufacturer with regard to the transport of lithium batteries including advising on changes in U.S. and ICAO/IATA regulations and drafting guidance to vendors on such changes
  • worked with U.S. perfume manufacturer to develop procedures to properly utilize ORM-D and special permits when transporting perfume resulting in minimizing the need to break-up and re-remark packages
  • reviewed training materials and procedures for various clients' HAZMAT programs
  • provided specific guidance on HAZMAT requirements and procedures in China, as well as other country requirements and/or adherence to international protocols