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Your Guide To Shipping Dangerous Goods

Shipping dangerous goods is a complex and highly regulated process, requiring strict adherence to regulations and guidelines to ensure the safety of individuals and protect the environment. In this blog post, we explore dangerous goods, covering their definition, classification as well as regulations governing the transport of dangerous goods across various modes of transport.

shipping dangerous goods

What Are Dangerous Goods?

According to ICAO, dangerous goods are defined as articles or substances which are capable of posing a risk to health, safety, property, or the environment while shipping. IATA further defines dangerous goods as items that may endanger the safety of an aircraft or persons on board the aircraft. Dangerous Goods are also known as restricted articles, hazardous materials, and dangerous cargo. Many common items found in your household can be considered dangerous goods for the purpose of transport.

Classification of Dangerous Goods

Dangerous goods are divided into universally accepted 9 classes based on the type of risk they pose.

  • Class 1: Explosives

  • Class 2: Gasses

  • Class 3: Flammable Liquids

  • Class 4: Flammable Solids, Substances Liable to Spontaneous Combustion, and Substances that Emit Flammable Gases When in Contact with Water

  • Class 5: Oxidizing Substances and Organic Peroxides

  • Class 6: Toxic Substances and Infectious Substances

  • Class 7: Radioactive Materials

  • Class 8: Corrosive Substances

  • Class 9: Miscellaneous Dangerous Substances and Articles

Dangerous goods are further identified by their UN numbers or 4-digit numeric codes, making it easy for shippers to properly package and transport them. UN numbers are referenced on labels and safety data sheets, which also communicate potential hazards and guidelines on how to safely store, use and dispose of dangerous goods, emergency response protocols, etc.

Regulations for the Transport of Dangerous Goods

Transport and handling of dangerous goods are governed by a host of national, regional, and international regulations. These regulations are all based on the UN classification system and organized by modes of transport:

The regulations provide comprehensive guidelines and standards for the safe transportation of dangerous goods, covering classification, packaging, marking, labeling, documentation, handling, and emergency response procedures.

Packaging Requirements

Dangerous goods must be packaged in containers that meet specific UN packaging standards. It includes drums, jerricans, boxes, bags, composite packaging, and cylinders, each suitable for different types of dangerous goods. These requirements aim to prevent leaks, spills, reactions, and other risks that may arise during handling, storage, and transit. Here are the packaging requirements you need to keep in mind while shipping dangerous goods.

  • UN Number: This is a 4-digit code preceded by the letters UN. The number is assigned to a single substance or a group of substances. For example, the UN number for Methyl bromide is UN1062.

  • Proper Shipping Name: Proper shipping name (PSN) is a standard technical name to describe dangerous goods. For example, the PSN for UN1061 is Methyl bromide. This name should be used on all shipping documents for dangerous goods.

  • Packing group: Some dangerous goods are divided into three UN packing groups based on the degree of danger they present - Packing Group I, II, and III. The groups help determine the degree of packing required for a particular product.

Paperwork For Shipping Dangerous Goods

Depending on the shipping mode and the type of dangerous goods being shipped, the following documents may be required for transportation:

  • Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS): contains information about the potential hazards and how to work safely with dangerous goods during transportation.

  • Dangerous Goods Declaration (DGD): states the category of dangerous goods. It also includes the identification marks, states the special packaging, and the labels. Must be issued by an authorized DG specialist.

  • Other documents may include commercial invoices, packing lists, shipper’s letter of instruction, etc

Failure to comply with documentary requirements for dangerous goods can result in serious financial and legal consequences for all involved - shippers, forwarders, and carriers.

Shipping Dangerous Goods with CargoPoint

At CargoPoint, we assist businesses with shipping dangerous goods locally and internationally. Our teams have a wealth of practical knowledge and experience in handling all types of dangerous goods. Our IATA-trained DG specialists ensure that, regardless of a hazard class, your dangerous goods are properly packaged, labeled, and delivered to their intended destination, safely and on time.


About CargoPoint

At CargoPoint, we connect Central Asia to the rest of the world through our freight forwarding and logistics solutions. We combine our global presence, industry expertise and world-class service to help businesses reach international markets with speed and efficiency. We offer a complete range of services in international shipping, logistics and customs clearance to meet your supply chain needs, regardless of your industry, business size or location. Contact Us if you require assistance with shipping and/or are experiencing any logistical issues that need to be addressed.


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