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Amazon slapped with more fines over alleged dodgy shipments

Amazon HQ
Ken Wolter / Shutterstock
These fines for the alleged improper shipping of hazardous materials are starting to add up for Amazon.

Just over a week after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed a $350,000 fine for Amazon after accusing it of inadequately packaging dangerous goods, the agency is suggesting two further penalties worth a total of $130,000 for similar actions that allegedly violated strict rules on how such items are handled.

The first of the two new fines relates to a 2014 shipment from Illinois to Florida, handled by FedEx, that reportedly resulted in corrosive rust stain preventer leaking through the cardboard box in which it was being transported.  The FAA wants Amazon to pay $78,000 for that particular alleged transgression.

The other proposed fine, put at $52,000, involves a shipment of flammable gas from California to Kentucky in the same year. Spotted by UPS workers, it’s alleged Amazon failed to properly label the shipment as containing hazardous materials, Forbes reported on Wednesday.

A couple of weeks back, the FAA proposed a $350,000 fine for an alleged incident where the partial contents of a one-gallon container of corrosive drain cleaner leaked on its way from Kentucky to Colorado, with nine UPS employees claiming to have felt a burning sensation after touching it.

The FAA accuses Amazon of failing to properly package the consignment, and says it wasn’t sent with a proper declaration notifying handlers that it contained hazardous materials. There was also an absence of emergency response information with the package, the FAA claimed, and those handling it had not received the required level of training.

Amazon has a month to respond to each of the three accusations.

“Amazon has a history of violating the Hazardous Materials Regulations,” the FAA said in a release, explaining that between February 2013 and September 2015 the company breached rules 24 times.

Shipment of hazardous goods is understandably a serious issue for the FAA. There have been a number of serious incidents in recent years, including in 2010 when a UPS cargo plane leaving Dubai crashed soon after take off, killing both pilots. The accident report pinpointed the cause as a lithium-battery fire that started in its cargo hold.

In a bid to cut costs and improve its delivery reliability, Amazon is currently taking significant steps to build its own end-to-end delivery network, a move that’s set to ease its reliance on services operated by the likes of UPS and FedEx.

It’s already using its own cargo planes for moving large shipments around the U.S., while an Uber-style delivery scheme was recently launched for last-mile deliveries. And we mustn’t forget its Prime Air drone, though that ambitious plan is yet to get off the ground.

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