How to transport DG Cargo? Explained about DC Class and UN Number for International Logistics.

When you hear “transportation of DG cargo”, you may wonder how we can transport these items.

There are different types of DG cargo. Things which you use daily may be considered as DG cargo.

This time, we will check what goods are categorized as DG cargo for international transport and how their transportation can be arranged.

Explaination about How to transport DG cargo? on Video

About DG Cargo

There are plenty of goods considered as “dangerous” in international transport, such as Car engines, batteries, engine oils, spices, dried ice, pressured tanks, lithium batteries for laptops, spray cans, paintings and etc.

There are many cases where you may think that items are not dangerous, however they actually are.

If you transport DG cargo as normal cargo, it may cause problems for airplanes and vessel operations and you may be fined even if there are no problems.

If you doubt that your cargo may be considered as DG cargo, please check with your freight forwarder in advance.

UN Number and DG Class

There is an international rule for transporting DG cargo. We need to follow the “Transport of DG cargo, (Orange Book)”, rules outlined by the United Nations.

All DG cargo are allocated with a United Nations Number. They are categorized from class 1 to 9 based on the degree of risk.

We will introduce these 9 classes.

Class 1. Explosives : Fireworks, smoke candles
Class 2. High Pressure Gases: Fire extinguishers, burners
Class 3. Flammable liquid: Spices, paints
Class 4. Flammable solids: Active charcoals, matches
Class 5. Oxidizing substances: Bleaching agents
Class 6. Toxic substances: Insecticides, disinfectants
Class 7. Radioactive material: Nuclear fuels
Class 8. Corrosive substances: Mercury, muriatic acids
Class 9. Miscellaneous DG cargo: Lithium batteries, dry ice

These items are categorized as DG cargo in international transportation.

Shipping Line and Air Line

Only certain DG cargo can be transported by shipping lines and airlines, and they have a weight limit to consider as well.

Each company has a different set of rules, therefore you need to check if the DG cargo can be loaded in advance.

There are instances where DG cargo were declined from transport by one shipping line, but were accepted by another shipping line.

You can find whether the cargo can be loaded or not by providing the UN number. Remember that the UN number identifies the goods and UN class also identifies the hazard of the goods.

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In general, airline companies are more strict than shipping lines.

What is SDS?

Now, how can we identify the UN number and the hazard class?

They are listed in the document called SDS. SDS is a short version of Safety Data Sheet and this is issued with any chemical products.

SDS used to be called “MSDS”, therefore, the sheet is both known as SDS and MSDS.

Where we get SDS?

SDS is issued to users by the chemical manufacturer, or supplier. This document is required for international transport.

Important information for Logistics in SDS

SDS contains information of how to handle the product, containment method in the event of leaks and hazards of the product.

There are 16 sections in total and the areas that need to be checked for an international transport are;

Section 9: Physical and chemical characteristics

Section 9 outlines DG cargo information of the cargo’s flash point and ignition point.

Section 10: Stability and reactivity

Section 10 outlines the conditions to avoid and the hazardous chemical reactions.

Chemical products may have a low ignition point and there are DG cargo that can catch fire at room temperature.

Therefore, this is considered essential information for both air and ocean shipments.

Section 14: Transportation information

Section 14 Transportation information contains the UN number and 9 classifications which we previously explained to check whether the cargo can be loaded or not.

Packing Group

The packing group which is required for the packaging container level is also included. Normally, you would check the packing group when you ship by air.

There are other rules such as the Fire Service Act in Japan, classification and international regulations.

Customs Clearance for DG Cargo

DG cargo require special attention for customs clearance.

When importing DG cargo, free time is very short, therefore customs clearance needs to be quick.

If there is a problem with customs clearance, which delays the approval, it could not only delay the schedule but may also increase the cost of demurrage.

You need to prepare in advance to understand the contents of SDS and take time for customs clearance preparation.

Domestics Transportation for DG Cargo

There are things to consider when transporting DG cargo domestically and when storing DG cargo.

Do not just pay attention to the Orange Book for international transport, although this cargo is internationally transported.

For example, if the cargo is located in Japan, you need to comply with the Poisonous and Deleterious Substances Control Act, the Fire Service Act and High Pressure Gas Safety Act.

There are different types of domestic related regulations and we must comply with these regulations before handling the cargo.

Also, when storing the cargo, it needs to be stored at the specific storage for DG cargo.

DG Cargo handling in each countries

When handling DG cargo, you need to send the SDS to a shipping line, yard, port and the customs broker. Also, the DG cargo declaration (a.k.a. Red Paper) needs to be submitted in advance to send instruction to handle the cargo safely.

There are detailed rules for labels to be attached to a cargo, a case mark and type of packing containers which will be used.

Also, the importing and exporting countries also have DG cargo rule.

Therefore, it is better to send an English version of the SDS to the delivery location in advance to avoid future troubles.

By now, I hope you understand that there are different rules when transporting DG cargo safely.If you are not handling DG cargo regularly, it is hard to transport DG cargo.

When importing or exporting DG cargo, it is recommended that you to speak to a freight forwarder with DG cargo transportation knowledge and cooperate with a specialized company.