International transport of dangerous goods and regulations

🌍International transport of dangerous goods and regulations🚨

Transporting dangerous goods is a highly regulated and potentially hazardous activity that involves moving goods that have the potential to harm people, property, or the environment. Due to the risks associated with the transportation of dangerous goods, there are strict regulations and guidelines that must be followed to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the process. In this paper, we will provide a comprehensive introduction to the transport of dangerous goods, covering the relevant regulations and the different modes of transportation. Whether you are involved in the transportation industry or simply curious about this topic, this paper will provide you with the knowledge you need to understand the complexities of transporting dangerous goods safely and legally.

TDG: regulations applicable to each mode of transport

The transport of dangerous goods (TDG) can be carried out by seaairroad, or rail, It can be carried out by international modal regulations and by multilateral agreements that allow several countries to carry out certain transport of dangerous goods not provided for by the regulations.

  • International transport of dangerous goods by rail is governed by the RID (Regulations Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail).
  • International air transport is subject to IATA regulations and ICAO regulations on the transport of dangerous goods.
  • River transport is governed by the ADN agreement (European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Inland Waterways)
  • Road transport is subject to the ADR (European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road.
  • The rules for international maritime transport are set by the International Maritime Organization.

For the transport of dangerous goods by sea, the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG) must be referred to.

Objectives of TDG regulations

TDG regulations serve to protect people, property, and the environment from potential hazards.
The regulation sets out which dangerous goods are prohibited and which are allowed, which goods pose a high risk, and the requirements for everyone involved in organizing a TDG event. Local regulation is based on the recommendations of the Organization's UN.

A system was developed by The United Nations about risk communication tools and hazard classification criteria. They have also established a model regulation that forms the basis for all international regulations.

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Ever-changing regulations

The regulations are evolving every 2 years, except for IATA which evolves every year.
During 2021, the 5 regulations have been modified about the transport of dangerous goods.

International classification for the transport of dangerous goods

Each dangerous good has one or more types of danger and has an "Organization's UN number".
Dangerous goods are divided into 9 classes:

-Class 1:
We have various explosive substances and articles who:

  1. Presenting a mass explosion hazard (dynamite)
  2. Presenting a projection risk (a shell)
  3. Presenting a fire hazard (fireworks)
  4. Presenting no significant risk outside the packaging (firearm cartridges)
  5. Presenting a mass explosion risk and are very insensitive (mine blasting explosives)
  6. Presenting an extremely insensitivity without mass explosion risk (extremely insensitive explosives)

-Class 2:
Gases substances and articles:

  1. Flammable gases.
  2. Non-flammable and no toxic gases.
  3. Toxic gases.
    (Butane, propane…)

-Class 3:
Flammable liquids: liquids with a flash point of 60°C or less.
Examples: perfumery products, gasoline...

-Class 4:
Here we have material:

  1. Easily flammable and ignite by friction (celluloid)
  2. Subject to spontaneous combustion (activated carbon)
  3. Water-reactive (sodium)

-Class 5:
1. Oxidizing materials who can cause/contribute to the combustion of a material (chlorate)
2. Organic peroxides who can ignite readily and undergo exothermic decomposition (peroxide)

-Class 6:
Materials who are:
1. Toxic who can damage health or cause death (arsenic)
2. Infectious who can cause infectious diseases in humans (bacteria)

-Class 7:
Materials who are radioactive:
They are defined by the Packaging and Transport of Nuclear Substances Regulations.
These are a potential danger of contamination, and we can find 3 categories:
1: no/low radiation outside the package.
2 and 3: materials who have radiation outside the package.

-Class 8:

We find here corrosive materials.
These can destroy human tissue and damage the transport (equipment, goods).
For example nitric acid.

-Class 9:
They are various hazardous materials, article and products.
These are materials that have none of the chances of other classes, or objects that include materials from several classes. (lithium batteries)


Our expert advice:

Firstly, it is important to know that for each request for quotation concerning the transport of dangerous goods, a safety data sheet (SDS) will be requested.
Secondly, when you send your dangerous goods by sea, we study the compatibility of the goods between them.

Visual identification: packaging, hazard labels and marking


It is mandatory to adapt the labeling to the goods.

All truck carrying dangerous goods must be identifiable by labels on the vehicle or by orange signs that vary according to the risks, the quantity transported or the mode of transport.

In addition to the hazard labeling on the goods

  • The Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road requires the inclusion of the UN code.
  • The International Air Transport Association Dangerous Goods Code requires the inclusion of the UN code with the proper shipping name.
  • The International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code Code requires the insertion of the UN code.

Dangerous goods packaging

The packaging protects the goods during handling, transport and storage. The packaging of dangerous goods must be agreed in accordance with the regulatory requirements.

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Dangerous goods transport documents

All transports of dangerous goods must be accompanied by a transport document called dangerous goods declaration.

Aerial Focus:

Shipments of dangerous goods on domestic and international flights that necessitate a dangerous goods shipper's declaration, as defined by the International Air Transport Association, the regulations must be registered with the airlines.

Our expert tip:

  • The consignor should provide the 24-hour telephone number of a person who is familiar with the hazards and characteristics of all dangerous goods being shipped.
  • The phone number, country code and area code must appear on the Shipper's Declaration of Dangerous Goods in the "Handling Information" box.

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