Transportation of Hazardous Materials: Exporters’ Liability

    View Author March 2014

    Incidents involving chemicals and hazardous substances in transit may bring significant liabilities for cargo owners, manufacturers, shippers and purchasers who export these items. In many instances these liabilities are not fully understood.

    Cargo owners, even if they rely on services of professional carriers, are not immune from the legal risks inherent in the transportation of hazardous substances. Manufacturers and/or shippers, if at fault for an accident, can face claims asserted by transportation carriers, insurers, crew and third-party cargo interests. If an accident causes environmental damage, shippers may also have responsibility for cleanup costs and remedial actions. The value of the destroyed cargo, as well as uncapped and unfunded legal liabilities, results in extremely high stakes for shippers and cargo owners.

    Additionally, manufacturers of hazardous substances face significant risks related to the transportation of their products. This co-authored white paper, by Squire Sanders partners Douglas R. Burnett and John J. Reilly, and Alliant Insurance Vice President Christopher Alviggi, explores these issues. Based on three fictitious scenarios involving a US chemical manufacturer exporting its goods to a Polish buyer, the authors discuss the exporter’s potential exposure to liability under various US federal and state laws, as well as European Union (EU) and international laws, and introduce methods of mitigating exposures.