Dangerous goods materials are regulated in most countries by law, and they are subject to several international treaties.
The European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) regulates the carriage of dangerous goods by road. There is an element of risk associated with transportation of dangerous goods by road.
Dangerous goods are further classified (depending on the type of danger) by class and packing group (PG). There are three packing groups (PG I, PG II & PG III). The packing group and class define how a dangerous goods material must be packed (inner & outer packaging) and labelled for transportation.
Where a Spillage of a dangerous good occurs this can lead to one or more of the following hazards:
- Chemical burn
- Environmental damage
- Human contamination/intoxification
The carriage of dangerous goods by air is regulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO). International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulates the carriage of dangerous goods by air. These Technical Instructions are an internationally agreed set of provisions. Transportation of dangerous goods can be either via a passenger aircraft or cargo aircraft or both.
There are five levels of carriage of goods by road/air:
1) Carriage of Non-dangerous goods – There are no packaging/ transport restrictions. These products can be shipped by Courier/Air Freight
2) Carriage for goods packed in Limited Quantities (LQ) – This is applicable to shipments by road or air. LQ for airfreight cannot be used. The total gross mass of the package must not exceed 30kg. There are also fewer requirements for labelling on the packaging.
3) Carriage for goods packed in Excepted Quantities (EQ) – This type of shipment is generally dependent on the packing group and class. Examples of this can be seen in the table below. The maximum inner and outer packaging limits must not be exceeded. There are also fewer requirements for labelling on the packaging. These products can be shipped by Courier/Air Freight.
Example of packing in Excepted quantities
4) Carriage of full dangerous goods – These materials require extra precautions for storage and for their transportation. Furthermore the packing group and class define how a dangerous goods material must be packed. The material of choice for the inner & outer packaging and what labels and documentation are required for transportation. A full dangerous goods consignment can be shipped by Courier/Air/Sea Freight
Only certain couriers can transport goods which are classified as full dangerous goods by road. Where a country is not specified on the courier’s destination list airfreight can be used.
5) Air Forbidden goods – Some dangerous goods are forbidden by air transportation. In this case they must only be transported by road. Products which are highly toxic by inhalation are forbidden to be transported by aircrafts. In this case these goods must be shipped by road or Sea Freight only.
Dry ice is considered hazardous during air transport and for this reason is classified with a UN number. Products which require dry ice are shipped globally via Courier/Airfreight. Typically the maximum effectiveness of a shipment requiring dry ice is between 5 to 6 days.