In a year of shipping chaos, from vessel shortages to containers catching on fire, the list of issues is still continuing to increase. 

One of the newer issues is ocean carriers refusing to transport hazardous materials and chemicals. The US Federal Maritime Commission has been receiving an alarming number of complaints from various shippers regarding the refusal of services from carriers. 

Carl W. Bentzel, a Federal Maritime Commissioner, recently held a meeting with chemical importers and received similar feedback. Chemical distributors are also concerned about the shipping industry’s growing reluctance to transfer hazardous materials. 

Bentzel states that he is “troubled by reports that ocean carriers might be refusing to serve shippers importing hazardous materials,” as “the inability to import these commodities could, in turn, harm US manufacturers.” And many US programs, like their water purification project, and other services and commodities, rely heavily on international shipping of hazardous materials. 

But US shipping regulations actually do prohibit carriers from unreasonably refusing to carry particular commodities. 

The rules are there to make sure that hazardous materials are not being discriminated against just because carriers do not want the hassle that comes with shipping hazardous goods. And if shippers follow the guidelines properly, carriers do not have any grounds to argue against transporting dangerous goods.