transport modes for dangerous goods

When transporting dangerous goods, the mode of transport has a significant impact on their labelling requirements. Hazard factors, such as mechanical stress, magnetivity, humidity and pressure can vary from one mode to another and it is of vital importance to know the hazards your goods pose and how to handle and label them correctly.  

You should also be aware of the latest regulations and legislation that cover their labelling and packaging.


Modal Regulations

Different modes of transport are covered by different regulations.  These are divided into five categories:

  • AIR – ICAO/IATA Regulations  (International Civil Aviation Organization / International Air Transport Association)
  • RAIL – RID Regulations  (Regulations concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail)

  • ROAD– ADR Regulations  (Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road)
  • INLAND WATERWAY – ADN  (International Agreement for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Inland Waterway)

  • SEA – IMDG Code  (International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code)

The objective of these regulations is to transport goods safely and this is achieved by eliminating, or minimising, potential risks for both people and the environment.  There are many common elements among the different regulations, and although much of the legislation is very similar, those responsible for labelling and packaging of such goods should not presume that the requirements for one mode of transport are fully applicable to another.


Things to consider

It is vital that you are aware of which set of regulations cover the different modes of transport as these provide a high level of detail specific to that type of transportation. For example, the ADR Regulations, for Road, cover very specific topics, such as the type and size of the placards that are required for different types of transport units – and where to place them.

It is important to keep up to the most recent set of regulations, as these are frequently updated – IATA regulations are updated every year, whilst the ADR, IMDG, ADN and RID regulations are updated every two years

Strong magnets, if transported by road, may not pose a particular problem, but if shipped by Air, they could have a very serious impact on the mechanics of the plane.  Are the goods in solid, liquid or gaseous form? – this will also have an impact on how they should be packaged and labelled.

A further issue to be considered is that of intermodality, or multimodality.  This is the use of two or more transport modes for the same shipment.  In these cases (e.g. dangerous goods travelling by land and then by sea) attention to labelling must be even greater to ensure that both modes of transport are covered.

Checks on international shipments are quite stringent, and serious, or even minor, labelling non-compliance, could result in the shipment being delayed and even halted, resulting in fines and other forms of economic loss.

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Hibiscus Plc has been providing labelling solutions for the chemical and hazardous goods industries for over 40 years.

If you have any queries regarding the labelling of your goods for transport, just call us on: 0113 242 4272