Samsung's first round of Galaxy Note 7 handsets contained defective batteries that caused some of the units to literally explode. This, of course, was grounds for a full recall of all affected devices. Samsung managed to identify the source of the bum batteries as in-house supplier Samsung SDI, and thus stopped using their batteries in Note 7 units and gone to an outside party. Not too long ago, a number of US carriers resumed sales of the Galaxy Note 7 using new units that had been tested and marked safe, marking what should be the end of a sordid saga that analysts are saying may cost Samsung $5 billion or so when the smoke clears. For obvious reasons, Samsung has had to exercise the utmost care in getting the recalled Note 7 units back to the factory. In the US, at least, 137,000 units were shipped away from where they were to be sold and back toward Samsung using special hazardous materials permits from the US Department of Transportation.
While there is a lot of red tape that an entity has to traverse to transport and use anything considered hazardous materials in the United States, the permits that Samsung requested were special. Samsung requested a type of emergency permit that authorizes the use of special equipment made specifically for recalled equipment that contains lithium-ion batteries. According to the DoT, Samsung will be using "quantity-limited, thermally insulated outer package designed to contain fire or smoke" to transport the bum units to where they need to be. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will also be working closely with Samsung on coordinating the transportation of the recalled devices, as will the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The recalled phones will have to make their journey via truck, train, and barge back to Samsung's factories once they're all boxed up. Even with special safety precautions taken, hazardous materials guidelines dictate that the phones cannot be put on any sort of aircraft on US soil. Samsung applied for two sets of permits, on September 7 and on September 15, and will also be using an existing permit belonging to Americase in their quest to transport the unopened Galaxy Note 7 units back to their place of origin in Korea.