Beirut Disaster – Lessons To Be Learnt

Aug 7, 2020

Beirut Disaster – Lessons To Be Learnt, Evolution Forwarding

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Our hearts go out to the injured, the casualties, the families and everyone else affected by the distressing incident we have all witnessed in Beirut this week. A dangerous goods related explosion that should never have happened.

Ammonium Nitrate, which is believed to have caused the explosion, is classified as 5.1 dangerous goods under the heading ‘Oxidisers’. It is primarily used as a fertiliser and due its highly explosive nature, one of our customers is only allowed to store up to 10 kgs of the product in their warehouse at any one time.

Reports are suggesting that the Lebanese warehouse had been storing 2.75 million kgs (2,750 tonnes) of Ammonium Nitrate for 6 years, which had been previously confiscated from a cargo ship.

Considering the amount of product was 275,000 times over the recommended amount to be stored in the UK, it is hardly surprising that Lebanese leaders have promised the severest penalties for those involved.

Dangerous goods are not something that business should take lightly and perhaps this terrible incident will come as a wake up call for companies involved in their storage and transport.

We are still seeing undeclared and misdeclared dangerous goods being stored and shipped around the world. As we have reported on numerous occasions, there were a number of containership fires attributed to the problem last year, causing millions of pounds of damage.

While the majority of dangerous goods classified products are incapable of causing the damage we witnessed in Beirut, they are considered dangerous for a reason and are therefore capable of causing harm to people and/or the environment.

Even the smallest of harmful incident could result in prison sentences for anyone who incorrectly identified a dangerous goods product that led to personal injury.

So what is the lesson we can learn from the terrible incident in Beirut?



Evolution Forwarding specialise in the movement of dangerous goods internationally, by air, ocean and road. We provide a complete solution which includes packing, documentation, compliance and training for dangerous goods products. For further information please email or call 0800 4346244.


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