The classification of dried distillers grains with solubles as a non-hazardous cargo by the International Maritime Organization became official Jan. 1.
Erick Erickson, director of global strategies for the U.S. Grains Council, told DTN that until two years ago, DDGS had no classification at all with the IMO. Without classification, insurance companies and shippers formulated their own categorization and many considered DDGS as a hazardous material because of concerns that its oil and moisture content might be combustible. Since DDGS was only allowed on ships that had special fire suppression systems, the cost of freight increased, DDGS shipments were disrupted and booking ships became difficult.
After being approached by members of the ethanol industry, the Council coordinated an effort in 2010 to have DDGS classified as non-hazardous, Erickson said.
The Council worked with the Coast Guard to coordinate a series of scientific testing required by the IMO to prove DDGS was not a hazardous cargo, as well as collecting correspondence from shippers and a search of insurance claim records to confirm there had never been issues caused by DDGS shipments.
The Coast Guard then took the information the Council gathered, and presented and defended a proposal to the IMO Sub-Committee on Dangerous goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers. The subcommittee approved the proposal and while waiting for the mandatory waiting period, the Coast Guard provided a letter to shippers stating that DDGS would be treated as non-hazardous until Jan. 1, 2013, when the action became official and the classification is now official in IMO code.
The Council is now undertaking a similar process to clear corn gluten meal and corn gluten feed, which have previously been classified as hazardous in the category of seedcake. Both CGF and CGM are expected to receive official non-hazardous classification on January 1, 2015.
Cheryl Anderson can be reached at Cheryl.firstname.lastname@example.org
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