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Hazmat transportation: driver training makes all the difference

At GEODIS, every truck driver is responsible for their cargo up to the final point of delivery, making sure the client is satisfied. The transport of sensitive, dangerous or hazardous materials (hazmat) however, comes with safety standards and expectations that are much higher than they are for common goods. Compliance with the associated regulations and environmental requirements is of crucial importance.

Hazmat planning and experience are key

That is why, when it comes to carrying hazardous materials, every aspect of the delivery has to be planned even more carefully. For overland transport, this means choosing the best routes and delivery sectors according to a number of additional factors that depend on the kind of material that is to be transported. Although not mandatory, hazmat drivers usually have a lot of experience in conveying special cargo.

“I’ve been doing dedicated runs for a Dutch healthcare, paint and chemicals group since 2010. I deliver soda, bleach and hydrochloric acid to its customers (…). As a rule, I start my workweek at 5 a.m. on Monday morning and get back on Friday evening. I work on my own, even during loading operations, having had special training,” explains Peter Van Mullem, a chemical tanker driver who has been working for GEODIS Road Transport in the Netherlands for over 30 years.

With this kind of material aboard a dedicated truck, the live report of delivery status and of problems along the way has to be more frequent. As always, the driver contributes to a good customer relationship, and represents the image of GEODIS as a brand: “The truck driver’s job has become much more professional. We have to follow more procedures than in the past, and be even more disciplined to meet ever-increasing customer standards. All these requirements mean we have to be very careful – especially when it comes to sticking to deadlines,” confirms Mr. Van Mullem.

GEODIS trains drivers for skilled hazmat transportation

Hiring highly skilled hazmat drivers is never easy. This is why GEODIS has invested significantly in providing complete training along the recruitment process, especially in France.

GEODIS has started an integrated training program and a career development course for job seekers at two GEODIS sites serving the chemical sector in France. These trainings are offered in partnership with the French national employment agency, the French Driving School and other training organizations. As part of the package, trainees are also being offered a 'hazardous materials' driver job with a permanent contract, a heavy vehicle license, and European authorization for the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road. In addition to preparing employees for these hazmat driver jobs, GEODIS also provides skills development for future drivers as well as training workshops on specific client processes.

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