Samsung using hazardous materials permit to transport Galaxy Note 7 returns

Samsung received a special permit from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to ship 137,000 unopened Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones from retail locations back to Samsung, the agency said.

Further, the DoT agency said Samsung will likely use a “quantity-limited, thermally insulated outer package designed to contain fire or smoke” to ship additional defective devices to the manufacturer.

The details of Samsung’s ongoing Galaxy Note 7 recall efforts underscore the logistical difficulties Samsung faces in collecting and shipping potentially explosive devices from retail outlets around the country. According to the permits that Samsung applied for from the DoT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the company cannot ship the gadgets via airplane, and likely will use specially designed shipping boxes to move the returned Galaxy Note 7 smartphones from retailers like Verizon and Best Buy back to Samsung’s facilities.

“PHMSA will coordinate enforcement activities with CPSC [Consumer Product Safety Commission] to ensure the recalled devices are appropriately handled based on the regulations and any Special Permit(s) issued,” a PHMSA representative wrote to FierceWireless in response to questions about how Samsung will handle the logistical details of its Galaxy Note 7 recall.

Samsung declined to provide details on how it plans to handle the transport of returned Galaxy Note 7 devices. And representatives from retailers like Verizon, Sprint and Best Buy also declined to comment on the issue. But the CPSC – the U.S. agency charged with overseeing product recalls – referred questions on the topic to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The DoT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration granted Samsung two permits to transport the potentially hazardous devices:

  • One on Sept. 7, with the agency noting that “Samsung has also indicated plans to use an existing Special Permit issued to Americase, Inc. This permit may be used to facilitate the transport of the defective devices to the manufacturer. This Special Permit provides a quantity-limited, thermally insulated outer package designed to contain fire or smoke.”
  • And another on Sept. 15, with the agency noting that “PHMSA evaluated a Special Permit application from Samsung to transport approximately 137,000 un-opened Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone devices from retail locations back to Samsung via truck, rail, and cargo vessel. The devices will not be transported by air. The Special Permit provides a baseline for a safety standard for these materials.”

Samsung on Sept. 1 halted shipments of the high-end phone due to increasing reports of exploding batteries. The news knocked nearly $7 billion from its market cap. The Consumer Product Safety Commission officially announced an official recall of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 on Sept. 15, a move that paved the way for Samsung to work with the U.S. Department of Transportation on shipping the devices.

Samsung of course isn’t the only company concerned about shipping potentially explosive Galaxy Note 7s. Airlines across the country have been warning passengers not to use the devices while they travel on airplanes.

United Airlines is among those warning air travelers against using Galaxy Note 7s

Analysts have estimated Samsung could lose $5 billion in revenue after accounting for the cost of recalling the 2.5 million units that must be replaced. But it appears the company is finally making progress with the recall program: The company said last week that more than 60 percent of Galaxy Note 7 devices sold in the U.S. and South Korea had been exchanged through the replacement program, and roughly 90 percent of users had chosen a replacement model “since products became widely available.”

T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint recently resumed sales of the Galaxy Note 7.

Related articles:
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More than 60% of recalled Note 7 units have been exchanged in U.S. and Korea, Samsung says
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 sales were up 25% over last year’s model - prior to recall
U.S. officially recalls 1M Samsung Galaxy Note 7 units