The rules for the international transportation of Dangerous Goods are governed by several international organizations, the main ones being the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). These organizations are responsible for overseeing and enforcing guidelines, codes, and ordinances that help keep the crew, cargo, and transport vessels safe.

What are Dangerous Goods?

According to the IATA’s Regulations, Dangerous Goods are defined as “items or substances that are capable of creating a hazard to health, safety, property, or the environment”.

When Dangerous Goods travel by Air

According to IATA more than 1.25 million tons of hazardous materials are flown annually. The number of hazardous materials shipments is expected to increase dramatically over the next five years since air cargo growth averages 4.9% annually. Due to the prevalence of air transport for hazardous materials, strict compliance with safety requirements is essential.

The work of IATA is vital in the identification of risks and collaborates with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to revise the laws when needed and provide the shipping community with the most up-to-date recommendations on how to handle and transport dangerous commodities properly.

IATA developed the Dangerous Goods Regulation (DGR) and all goods considered dangerous and traveling by air must comply with these regulations following strict requirements for labeling, packing, and declaration (Dangerous Goods Declaration or DGD).

When Dangerous Goods travel by Sea

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the agency created by the United Nations responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships. The IMO developed the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code to lessen the fatalities that occur when transporting hazardous materials across international waters, which serves as a complement to the current SOLAS treaty (The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea) which was enacted in 1974 and addresses several issues related to maritime safety, including the proper handling and transit of dangerous products.

In 1965, the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG) was adopted by the maritime authorities as a set of suggested, but not mandatory, regulations for the packaging and carriage of hazardous materials. In 2002, with support from the SOLAS convention, the IMO made it mandatory.

The Code contains information about all types of potentially dangerous compounds, whether they be substances, elements, or products. Guidelines for isolating materials that aren’t compatible and correct packaging, stowage, and transportation of containers are also included. The IMDG Code is updated every two years with suggestions submitted to the IMO by Member Governments and with the recommendations of the United Nations (UN).

This process ensures that any changes made to the IMDG Code are consistent with the most recent version of the UN Recommendation. The IMDG Code goes into great detail about how you should pack each item and how to carry, store, separate, and put it in a container. A new version of the IMDG Code, Amendment 41, will become mandatory on January 1, 2024.

Dangerous Goods Forms

The dangerous goods shipper’s declaration is a form that must be prepared when shipping dangerous goods. This form attests that the consignment complies with dangerous goods regulations with regard to labeling, packing, and declaration.

For air shipments, the form is called Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods (DGD), and for ocean shipments is the IMO Dangerous Goods Declaration.

Promptus has been in the transportation industry for over 20 years. Our personnel receives training on a regular basis and is aware of any changes in the regulations. If you need assistance coordinating the shipping of hazardous materials, our staff is here to assist you through the process. Call us today at 1-877-776-6799 or write to info@promptus.us.