FedEx Express broke the rules on handling hazardous air cargo in 2010, according to aviation industry regulators in the United States.
The Federal Aviation Administration is threatening fines of $681,200 against the Memphis-based integrator, accusing the company of improperly accepting several dozen shipments containing hazardous materials in “numerous locations” around the country during August 2010.
The problems came to light following an inspection of FedEx facilities in Los Angeles by FAA inspectors from 2nd August to 12th August 2010.
The FAA said it was alleging 19 instances of FedEx failing to provide pilots flying to and from LA with the required “accurate and legible written information” about hazardous shipments before accepting them for transport by air.
FedEx has conceded there were “limited documentation and shipping label errors” at the time, but insisted today that at no time were the public or staff at risk.
The company told Post&Parcel today that it will now sit down to negotiate with the FAA regarding the case details and the final size of the civil penalty involved.
The FAA said FedEx violated the terms of the US Department of Transportation’s Hazardous Materials Regulations through what inspectors uncovered in records at FedEx facilities in the LA area during August 2010.
As well as failing to notify pilots correctly regarding hazardous shipments, the FAA said FedEx had also failed to document hazardous materials training and testing for three of its individuals who were among those accepting the shipments.
Training includes security awareness, with initial and ongoing training required on the handling of hazardous materials to comply with the US regulations, the FAA said.
Michael P Huerta, the acting FAA administrator, said: “To ensure the safe transport of hazardous materials aboard aircraft, operators must follow appropriate rules and procedures, and provide proper training.”
FedEx Express now has 30 days to respond to the FAA’s enforcement letter. Spokesman Chriss Stanley told Post&Parcel that his company would now sit down to talk through the issues with the aviation regulators.
Regarding the allegations, the FedEx spokesman said in a prepared statement: “FedEx Express safely and reliably transports millions of items classified as dangerous goods every year. While we realise that limited documentation and shipping label errors did occur, at no time was the safety of the public or our team members at risk.
“Our goal is 100% compliance and we have put processes in place to ensure these errors are not repeated.”
The FAA proposed a $689,800 fine for FedEx just over a year ago related to similar problems with providing information to pilots regarding hazardous shipments, following inspections at the Bradley International Airport facility in Hartford, Connecticut, in 2009.
That case saw 89 allegations of documentation problems from June to September 2009.
Under the US regulations, carriers’ customers are also liable for penalties where they have failed to provide a shipping company with the necessary information about hazardous shipments.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was leveled a $175,000 civil penalty back in September 2011 regarding a package sent in August 2009, which caught fire on a FedEx sorting facility conveyor in Medford, Massachusetts. The package had included hazardous batteries that were not labelled as such.
Source: Post&Parcel/FedEx Express