Hazardous Cargo Operating Procedure


August 14, 2023


August 14, 2023

Hazardous Cargo Standard Operating Procedure – Garden City Terminal

The rule establishes a hazardous materials plan that includes the following components, policies, and procedures regarding the storing and handling of hazardous materials; incident reporting and response procedures within the Authority’s jurisdiction; and specified roles and responsibilities relevant to the proper notification, segregation, and response to hazardous material transiting Authority facilities.

The Authority is dedicated to the safety of its employees, tenants, and the community. It is the Authority’s policy to comply with all relevant provisions of 33 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 126, 49 CFR Part 176, and any temporary orders mandated by the United States Coast Guard, Captain of the Port (COTP).

In accordance with OCGA § 52-2-7, the Authority is authorized to make necessary rules and regulations for its government. This policy aligns its purpose with federal regulations governing its operations. The Authority will comply with relevant provisions and requirements outlined in 33 CFR, Part 126, 49 CFR, Part 176, and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG) as it relates to storage, segregation, and hazardous material response procedures. The Authority requires all shippers to comply with all rules and regulations outlined in this policy.


Prohibited Storage
Hazardous Materials: Explosives 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, Infectious Substances 6.2, and Oxidizing Substances 5.1 (Ammonium Nitrate only) may not be stored on the terminal for any duration. Handling of these types of materials must be coordinated with the Authority, ocean carrier, USCG, and the stevedore.

Limited Storage
Hazardous Materials: Explosives 1.4 and 1.6, and Radioactive Materials 7; must be discharged or loaded shipside and not stored on terminal unless Authority management approves and coordinates the storage of such hazardous materials at least ninety-six (96) hours prior to the material arriving at the terminal. Hazardous materials, of all other classifications, may be stored on the terminal in compliance with USCG and the Code of Federal Regulations.


Transport and Segregation Operations (Note 1)
All transport, segregation, and storage operations involving hazardous materials will be managed by a designated member(s) of the Authority’s operations department. The designated member will be the primary point of contact for all hazardous storage and segregation matters. All hazardous materials authorized for storage will be segregated in accordance with requirements outlined in 49 CFR part 176. Electronic access to Title 49 CFR can be acquired from

(Note 1): All hazardous containers require placards for acceptance at Authority terminals. The Authority reserves the right to reject any hazardous cargo that may be deemed unsuitable for segregation and storage. The Authority requires a minimum of forty-eight (48) hours notice of arrival for classes 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 5.1, 6.2, and Class 7 hazardous cargo. The Authority must approve these listed hazardous cargo types before they are allowed on terminals.


1. Import and Export Cargo Operations
Stevedores must submit an import space request to the Authority’s Live Lift Group prior to commencing vessel operations. Each request must specify the total number and type of hazardous cargo. Upon receipt of a request, the Live Lift Group will review, approve, and provide written authorization of terminal space. Hazardous material cargo will not be placed in any unauthorized stack or yard location. The Authority’s container operations Assistant Managers will maintain a copy of 49 CFR Part 176.

The Assistant Manager will monitor their assigned areas for compliance with the approved terminal space authorization. Matters of concern involving segregation or storage of hazardous cargo will be communicated immediately to the Authority’s primary operations hazardous material liaison. The liaison will conduct facility assessments at least three (3) times daily ensuring proper segregation of all hazardous material cargo on the terminal. In the event unauthorized segregation is discovered, the Authority operations hazardous material liaison will coordinate immediate resolution. Should a civil penalty be levied against the Authority for improper segregation or storage, the Authority reserves the right to recoup the civil penalty through civil litigation against the responsible party.

2. Class I Hazardous Cargo Vessel Notification Procedures
Not less than 48 hours prior to vessel arrival, the ocean carrier or their representative must fax or e-mail USCG permits, container number(s), and the trucking company name that will import or export the hazardous cargo. The preceding information must be faxed to the Authority’s Ship Operations Department at 912-964-3962 or e-mailed to [email protected]. Additionally, a copy of the permits must be e-mailed to the Authority’s Port Police Department at [email protected]

i. Berth Assignment for Vessel Arrival
The vessel will dock at Garden City Terminal CB03, CB04, CB05, CB06, and/or CB07, which are the berths that are utilized for the import or export of hazardous cargo class 1.1 and/or 1.2s. The Net Explosive Weight (NEW) restrictions are as follows: CB03-95,000 lbs., CB04-120,000 lbs., CB05-80,000 lbs, CB06-80,000 lbs, and CB07-95,000 lbs.

ii. Vessel Arrival and Departure
The vessel arrival and departure will determine the trucking company’s arrival time for loading and off-loading of hazardous cargo class 1.1 and 1.2s. The vessel arrival must be communicated by the ocean carrier to the Authority’s Ship Operations Department at least 24 hours in advance to ensure that the vessel arrival or departure is not delayed. The ocean carrier must immediately notify the Authority’s Ship Operations Department of any changes to the vessel schedule.

3. Class I Hazardous Cargo Truckers Arrival and Departure
i. Export
The ocean carrier and vessel are responsible for the truck’s arrival and must ensure that the truck does not arrive more than thirty (30) minutes prior to the hazardous export cargo loading the vessel. The hazardous container must interchange on the dock prior to loading the vessel. Gate 1 and Gate 5 are authorized gates for acceptance.

ii. Import
Once the truck has been loaded with the hazardous import cargo and after the stevedore interchanges the container at the dock, the stevedore must ensure the truck immediately departs the Authority’s terminal. Gate 1 and Gate 5 are authorized outbound gates for hazardous cargo departure.

iii. Terminal storage not allowed for Hazardous Class 1 Cargo
Hazardous Class 1 cargo is not allowed to remain on terminal nor will the Authority allow trans-loading of class 1 cargo on any of the Authority’s terminals. Class 1 containers unable to import or export because the USCG determined they have deficiencies, must be immediately removed from the Authority’s terminal under the coordination and direction of the ocean carrier.

iv. Vessel Operations and delays to other vessels
Due to USCG restrictions on the importing and exporting of class 1.1 and 1.2 cargo, the Authority cannot guarantee the loading and unloading of this cargo. The Authority may require vessels importing and exporting class 1.1 and 1.2 cargo to modify the vessel work start time to ensure noninterference with other cargo operations. The ocean carrier must complete all applications and permits for handling hazardous material cargo prior to discharge. A copy of the USCG application and permits may be obtained from
These documents are located in the Port Directory tab, Savannah unit, Prevention, Facilities. Shippers can send the completed documents via email to [email protected]

B. Release and Emergency Response
OCGA 12-14-1 defines a spill or release as the discharge, deposit, injection, dumping, spilling, emitting, releasing, leaking, or placing of any hazardous substance into the air or into or on any land or water of the state.

1. Spills Aboard Vessels
Ocean carriers that become aware of any hazardous material release on board a vessel shall notify the Authority’s Ship Operations Department prior to the vessel’s arrival. The ocean carrier is also responsible for notifying the USCG of leaking container(s), identifying the cargo, and communicating plans to contain the leak aboard the vessel. The Authority does not allow leaking container(s) to be discharged from a vessel until the on-site HAZMAT team has identified and secured the leak. The Authority will work on a case-by-case basis, in close coordination with the USCG’s Marine Safety Unit (MSU), on any incident regarding leaking containers aboard a vessel. Ocean carriers shall notify the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to ensure the incident does not constitute a violation of the Federal Jones Act or Merchant Marine Act of 1920.

2. Notifications and Response to Vessel Spills
The Authority’s Port Police Department must be notified of a vessel spill and/or release approved for facility discharge before the Authority’s Ship and Container Operations departments, and the designated hazardous material contractor act in concert to store the cargo. The Authority’s Port Police Department must notify the Authority’s Emergency Manager; document the incident; and support mitigation and response efforts. The Emergency Manager will ensure the National Response Center (NRC) is notified. The NRC will be contacted by calling 1-800-424-8802.

3. Notification and Response to Facility Spills
If a hazardous or nonhazardous material incident occurs within the jurisdiction of the Authority, the Port Police Department will be notified immediately by calling (912) 963-3911 or by the Authority’s radio channel 6-A. The Authority’s Security Operations Center (SOC) must immediately dispatch Port Police to the scene and notify the Authority’s Emergency Manager and the Emergency Management Team as directed by the Emergency Manager or on-scene supervisor.

Responding officers will remain upwind and assess the scene to determine what immediate emergency actions are required. The on-scene Port Police supervisor will assume the role and responsibilities of Incident Commander (IC) and ensure the scene and area is secure. Responding officers will exercise discretion in area evacuations, utilizing the outlined guidance within the current Emergency Response Guide (ERG) and available Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) as an immediate reference.  The Authority may at its option engage Third-Party vendors to provide emergency response services, including but not limited to spill/leak containment or cleanup.  All charges related to the emergency response services shall be billed per MTO Schedule 5-A, Rule 34-025. 

C. Emergency Assistance and Mutual Aid
In the event outside resources or support is required to mitigate an immediate life safety risk, the SOC will act as the central communications point for outside first responders. Emergency notifications to the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department’s Communications Division will be made by calling “911.” The Authority’s Emergency Manager may also request assistance from the local emergency management agency to support prolonged response and recovery efforts. The Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) mobile Emergency Operations Center (EOC) may be requested and utilized as the on-scene incident command post, as approved by CEMA staff. The SOC may be directed to make official requests for support by calling the CEMA Duty Officer direct at (912) 201-4500. The on-scene IC is responsible for managing the incident until properly relieved. A transfer of command will not occur until an official command briefing is conducted and documented.

D. General
The discharge or release of any hazardous cargo container that has been identified as the source of a release, spill, and/or leak will not be authorized without the approval of the USCG. However, with USCG approval, transport of a damaged container to a mitigation area may be permitted on a case-by-case basis.

E. Emergency Contacts
In the event of any spill or release, or hazardous material-related emergency, contact the Port Police Department immediately. Port Police may be contacted by calling (912) 963-3911 or 5588, or by radio channel 6-A.