There are no restrictions or requirements when transporting magnetized material by ground or sea, but when magnets are transported by air they are regulated as dangerous goods. This is because the plane’s basic magnetic compass is still an important part of aircraft navigation and strong magnets, stored as cargo, may compromise the accuracy of the plane’s electronic equipment and compass readings.  Magnetized Material Labels play an important role in the identification of such cargo.

magnetized material label IATA

How is Magnetized material defined?

Magnetized material is defined in the IATA (International Air Transport Association) Dangerous Goods Regulations as ‘all material that when packaged for air transportation possesses a magnetic field force of 0.002 gauss or more, at a distance of 2.1 metres (7 feet) of any point of the surface of the consignment’.

IATA Packaging Instruction 953 imposes restrictions and requirements on magnetized materials (UN2807) and states that they will be accepted only when:

  • devices such as magnetrons and light meters have been packed so that the polarities of the individual units oppose one another;
  • permanent magnets, where possible, have keeper bars installed;
  • the magnetic field strength at a distance of 4.6 m (15 ft) 15 feet) from any surface of the package. Below this threshold, there are no specific restrictions or requirements from any point on the surface of the assembled consignment:

(1) does not exceed 0.418 A/m (0.00525 gauss), or

(2) produces a magnetic compass deflection of 2 degrees or less.


The operator must package the magnetized material in such a way that minimizes its possible effects on a plane’s instruments. When packing magnets for transport, they should be padded with ample space between the magnetand the outside of the container in order to reduce the force of attraction; a magnet’s attractive strength drops very quickly with distance.

magnetised material package box

Magnets are also commonly shipped in steel-lined boxes to neutralise their strength.

magnetic block in box for transport by air iata


The shipper must make prior arrangements with the operator identifying the magnetized material and all packages containing magnetic materials must be clearly identified by means of a  specific Handling Label.

Magnetized Material labels inform the cargo handler that the load must be kept away from the aircraft compass detector unit during the loading and transit process.magnetised material label IATA

The handling label must be as shown in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (see above) and must be a minimum size of 110x90mm.  The colour of the label must be Pantone Blue 285 on a white background.


This article should not be used in substitute for checking the exact requirements in the applicable modal regulations.