Shipping dangerous goods, e.g. explosives, flammables, toxic or corrosive substances (in North America also known as hazardous materials or HAZMAT), requires a lot of paper work and can quite frankly be a hassle. This is our quick guide on how to manage shipping dangerous goods as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
When transporting hazardous cargo, documentation is required to ensure the cargo is shipped safely. The health and life of people handling the goods under ways to the receiver, drivers, port workers, warehouse personnel etc., depends on the documents being correctly and thoroughly filled in, as they have no way of knowing what is packed inside the boxes, crates and containers they are handling. Correct documentation ensures that the dangerous goods is handled correctly all the way to the destination and is required by law in most countries.
Dangerous Goods Classes:
- Explosive substances and articles
- Flammable liquids (e.g. lighter fluid, petrol)
- Flammable solids
- Oxidizing agents and organic peroxides
- Toxic and infectious substances
- Radioactive substances
- Corrosive substances
Dangerous goods are divided into a number of different classes (see below, can vary slightly from country to country) with several subcategories and the consignor is always responsible for classifying, packaging and marking any dangerous goods that are to be transported, regardless of the transportation method, i.e. land, air or sea transport. It is self-explanatory that chemicals and explosives can be dangerous to transport, but less obvious is that items such as paint, certain types of batteries and the like also requires Dangerous Goods documentation.
Transport documents for Dangerous Goods includes a number of things:
- Written instructions on how to deal with the goods in an emergency situation needs to be carried and easily accessible in the driver’s cabin.
- A license or permit for Dangerous Goods training must be present upon request from officials.
- Declaration from prepared by the consignor, which includes information on the consignor’s name and address, the name and address of the consignee, descriptions of each of the types of Dangerous Goods, along with their quantity, classification and packaging; and emergency contact information. Requirements for the declaration depends on mode of transport and which country/countries the shipment is transported in/through on its way to the final destination.
Documentation that can be very time consuming to write up if done manually. However, software solutions that make shipping dangerous goods easier are available, for example DG Office, which is the world leader in the field. If your Delivery Management System can be integrated with a Dangerous Goods Management system, the Dangerous Goods documents can even be filled in and printed automatically, including transferal of all relevant data to your chosen carrier at the moment a new shipment is created.
Find more facts about Dangerous Goods and documentation for air transport on IATAs (International Air Transport Association) website and for sea transport go to IMOs (International Maritime Organization) website. For land transport regulations vary from country to country, but the regulations for the EU can be found here
Text by: Consignor, firstname.lastname@example.org