As we all know, fireworks can bring summer fun right to your backyard. But to have the most fun outside (and in the sky!), it's important to remember safety measures. And when it comes to safety, following the correct shipping procedures is essential. Understanding the best ways to ship, receive and retrieve your fireworks after delivery helps ensure your fireworks show is the best one around.
Because fireworks are considered explosive, they are delivered in one of two ways — straight to your door via tractor or directly to a freight terminal with a tractor trailer's help. If you've never had fireworks shipped to a freight terminal before, understanding the process might seem tricky.
But don't fret! Here, you can learn everything you need to know about how freight terminals work, how to safely retrieve your merchandise from a freight terminal and the closest terminals near you.
Let's dive in (or blast off) into how you can pick up your fireworks.
How Do You Ship Fireworks?
To understand freight terminals, let's start from the beginning. The United States Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) considers fireworks hazardous materials, also known as hazmat. And, to be fair, they are. Anytime you transport fireworks, you run the risk of potential explosions.
To keep everyone safe, the PHMSA issued safety regulations for fireworks shipments. These regulations, known as Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR), explain how to safely pack and transport fireworks. Some of the rules include:
- Including a shipping paper that lists important info like ID number and hazard class.
- Packing fireworks in tightly so they can't jiggle around during shipments.
- Handling only by trained, certified professionals (sounds like a pretty cool job, huh?).
- Using signage that informs other drivers of the hazmat materials.
- Planning security methods for emergencies while on the road.
In other words, you can't wrap fireworks up in a bow and send them through the regular postal system. But how cool would that be? Instead, they need to be shipped by registered and trained carriers. You don't want to skip any of these regulations, either. Violators can face criminal penalties like fines or even imprisonment. As fireworks enthusiasts, it's our job to follow the rules and keep everyone safe.
But what do these regulations have to do with fireworks buyers? All online orders for fireworks must follow the PHMSA requirements. So, once you decide to place an online order for fireworks, you have two shipping options:
- A registered tractor-trailer delivers the fireworks directly to your door.
- A registered tractor-trailer transports the fireworks to a freight terminal.
A little tip from us to you — local regulations can sometimes limit the shipping and possession of fireworks, so it's important to check those out first. Either option is great and lets you have fun with your fireworks in no time. Still, some buyers prefer freight terminals because they want to enjoy lower costs. Since you won't have a dedicated driver headed straight to your place, the terminal prices can be lower.
But if you've never used a freight terminal before, you might be confused about the little details. No worries — Red Apple is here to help clear up your confusion.
Why Should You Use a Freight Terminal?
So, what is a freight terminal and why should you use one? To put it simply, a freight terminal is a connection facility. Trucks and other carriers use them to transfer shipments during the distribution process. Carrier drivers can also use freight terminals to switch vehicles. All in all, they make it easier for your fireworks to arrive safe and sound.
If you're placing an online order for fireworks, you should think about which shipping option is better for you. Getting fireworks transported straight to your door is always a convenient option, but freight terminals offer many benefits, too.
Here are some reasons you might want to use a freight terminal for your fireworks order:
- Restricted delivery point: No matter your location, you're sure to have a great time with our fireworks. But if you plan on shipping them to a residential address, storage unit or other limited location, carriers might not be able to hand the fireworks over to you. And if they do reach you, they could tack on additional delivery fees. If you know your location might be tough to reach, the freight terminal option might be better.
- Lower fees: Using a freight terminal can also save you money. You won't have to pay extra delivery fees, because your fireworks head straight to the terminal. Choosing the freight terminal shipping option could cost less overall, so it's a great option if you're on a budget.
- Quicker shipping times: If you need your fireworks right away, sending them to a freight terminal might speed up the process. These facilities process goods quickly. You get to choose the best pickup time for you and can retrieve your fireworks at your convenience. This process is sometimes quicker than waiting for direct delivery.
You might choose the freight terminal shipping option for any of these reasons or other deciding factors. It's all about what makes you most comfortable.
How Do Freight Terminals Work, Anyway?
Let's dive into how freight terminals work. Freight terminals are useful for many transportation types, including:
To keep things running smoothly, freight terminals use loading docks. Workers can load and unload shipments as they pass through the terminal.
We all love online shopping and ordering new products — who doesn't? — and the thousands of terminals across the country organize all of our purchases. Carriers can ride drive through and pick up or drop off shipments easily. Freight terminals make it easier to transport goods across the country so you can enjoy all your online stuff sooner.
If you opt for your fireworks to be shipped to a freight terminal, you get to travel there to get your exciting package. Your fireworks provider will typically explain nearby terminal options. For instance, Red Apple Fireworks uses a bunch of terminal locations across the United States. During checkout, you'll tell us you want to use our popular Stash House™ shipping option, and we'll help you find the terminal closest to you.
When the exciting pickup day arrives, you can head over to your selected freight terminal. Most terminals require you to bring identification forms like:
- Photo ID
- Proof of purchase
- Progressive rotating order (PRO) number
Workers might also ask you to fill out a proof of delivery form, just to make sure you received all items and they're in good condition. Your total shipping cost will vary depending on what and how much you ordered. For fireworks, the cost usually depends on your order's total weight.
Once you get your fireworks, it's time to head home and prep for your exhilarating night of fun!
What Are the Different Types of Freight Terminals?
Next, let's explore your different options for freight terminals. Trust us — knowing how to tell the difference between freight terminals can help smooth your ordering process. We know you want to get your hands on the fireworks as soon as possible, so reading up on these definitions can get you there sooner.
Freight terminals are separated into categories based on cargo type. In other words, each freight terminal focuses on one type of goods. This method makes it easier to sort packages and helps workers understand handling techniques.
These are the different types of freight terminals:
The term "general cargo" means items you can transport in one piece. The products are shipped in closed containers. Whether it's a pallet, a package, a box or a barrel, these items are individual units. When workers at freight terminals handle these pieces, they unload them one by one. General cargo can include goods from pharmaceutical supplies to tobacco shipments. Whatever the product is, it's shipped in individual units instead of in bulk because of higher costs and changes in demand.
Next, freight terminals can carry bulk cargo. This cargo type features products that are loose and unpackaged. Unlike general cargo, which is shipped in closed, individual containers, bulk cargo is often transported in quantities that depend on the vehicle's size. For example, coal is transported in bulk. Let's say a ship transports the coal to a freight terminal. The amount of coal the ship could move depends on the ship's available storage space and load capacity. Either way, bulk cargo loads aren't shipped in containers but mass quantities. You can classify bulk items as dry, liquids or free-flowing. Other examples include grain (a dry product), iron and oil (liquid).
Passengers and Vehicles
Ever been on a cruise? If you have, you've spent time on the smallest freight terminal type — passengers and vehicles. Some cargo ships might be able to carry a limited number of passengers to other destinations. Or, passenger ships are boats that specialize in the transport of people. Cruise ships, ferries and ocean liners usually carry mostly passengers. These freight terminals work a little differently than other terminal types because they're more for personal transportation rather than moving goods.
Fireworks are usually shipped in closed containers, making them general cargo. So, when it's time to pick up your order, the freight terminal will feature a wide range of general cargo products. Understanding the differences between freight terminal types can help you have a blast during pick-up and in the skies!
Tips for Picking Up Fireworks From a Freight Terminal
When the big day arrives for you to go get your fireworks, some preparation can ensure an easy transaction at your nearby freight terminal. If you have no clue how to pick up merchandise from a freight terminal, we're here to help. Don't let your first trip to a freight terminal lower any of your excitement for your upcoming blast!
Retrieving your fireworks from a terminal or one of Red Apple's Stash House™ locations is hassle-free. Here are some tips for your fireworks pickup:
Make Sure Your Car Is Good to Go
Before you head off to the terminal, be sure to consider the best vehicle. Freight terminals expect you to take the entire order at one time, so make sure your vehicle can fit the entire load. Double-check your vehicle's weight capacity and make sure it's in the right condition for transport. If you need any straps or cords to haul the goods off, remember to grab those before you head out the door. Try to plan which vehicle you'll use ahead of time to reduce any last-minute mix-ups.
Pick Up the Phone Before You Head Out
Next, make sure to call ahead to schedule an appointment time with the freight terminal. Facilities all have different rules and preferences, so it's usually good to call ahead and see the best way to handle your pickup. The terminal worker can work with you to find the pickup time that works best for both parties. Remember that most terminals aren't available 24/7, so don't expect them to fit you in at an unexpected time. The terminal worker might also provide you with important information about your pickup day, like where to park or what information to bring.
Keep Your Cool
Another tip for freight terminal pickups is to stay flexible. Your ideal retrieval time might not be available, but that's okay! Stay adaptable and work with the terminal to find another time that works. And be prepared for potential supply chain disruptions or shipping delays that push back your shipping date. If your order gets delayed, stay flexible and find the next available time. Not to worry — you're sure to enjoy your big boom in no time.
Double- and Triple-Check Your Location
You should double-, triple- or even quadruple-check your terminal location. Accidentally sending your goods to the wrong terminal could mean lengthy delays. With the right terminal, you can make sure your fireworks arrive safe and sound. Red Apple Fireworks uses a location radius to automatically detect the closest terminal near you, so you can reduce the possibility of a mix-up.
Grab Your IDs
The identification you have to bring will depend on the terminal you choose. You can always call and double-check which identifying information to bring to the terminal. But it's usually a safe bet to bring your ID, proof of purchase or tracking number, PRO number or other similar information. That way, you can process your order more quickly.
Make Sure Your Order Is Ready for Blast Off
Lastly, take the time to inspect your order after you load it into your vehicle. Make sure to compare the packing list to the actual products in the shipment. You should also look for damages or other potential issues with your products, which could sour your fun. You can alert the terminal or the original supplier of any defects or missing items.
These tips should help you stay on track as you pick up your fireworks from a nearby freight terminal.
Light Up the Sky With Red Apple Fireworks
Here at Red Apple Fireworks, we love fireworks more than anything. For over four decades, we've provided fire-tastic fun and lifelong memories to families across the country. But we're also committed to your safety, and we design our shipping procedures to make sure your fun stays safe.
Interested in safely receiving your fireworks but unsure how freight terminals work? Feel free to visit our website to get in contact with a specialist. Our dedicated team is on standby, ready to answer any questions that may arise.