Most consumers and small businesses using mail and parcel shipping centers don’t intentionally ship hazardous, illegal, prohibited, dangerous or restricted items, but to be sure such shipments aren’t improperly introduced into the mail or parcel networks or shipped aboard aircraft (in the case of items restricted to ground movement) the Associated Mail and Parcel Centers (AMPC) launched its Ship Responsibly program. The association, representing more than 3,300 mail and parcel shipping locations across the United States, said that research showed that of the 29 million prepacked parcels presented for shipping at AMPC member locations one in 200 contained hazardous materials or other prohibited, restricted or illegal contents. (That’s 145,000 shipments in the 12-month study period.)
The retail centers are prohibited from opening and inspecting shipments charged to third-party accounts, according to AMPC, which covers many of the carriers’ personal shipping accounts. But, where AMPC members were able to open and inspect parcels, 68% discovered hazardous materials or other restricted or prohibited items being shipped up to 50% of the time. Overall, 76% of AMPC members who open and inspect parcels found hazardous or restricted items.
The AMPC Ship Responsibly program is designed to inform not only the operators of the parcel/mail centers but their customers of the restrictions and hazards of shipping dangerous items. It is offering a store counter kit that includes signage, counter mats and a customer disclosure form.