What Are the Regulations That Govern DG packaging?
Dangerous goods (abbreviated as DG) or otherwise known as hazardous materials or hazmat are basically defined as products or materials with inherent high-risk properties, which if not properly contained, can pose a great danger to the health and well-being of all living organisms, including humans, as well as the safety of property and the environment. Dangerous goods come in a myriad of forms which could be liquids, solids, or gases.
They can have different properties like cold or hot, odorless or pungent, transparent, or colored and their effects may fall anywhere between minimal to deadly. They may be pure chemicals, mixtures of substances, manufactured products, or individual articles on their own. Further, hazardous goods are identified and categorized according to the nature of the hazard they impose whether they are flammable, inflammable, poisonous, explosive, and such.
Because of their perilous nature, DG packaging is highly regulated as there are human lives and property involved at all stages of transport and in all modes whether by land, sea, or air. Each mode of transport has a particular set of regulations that shippers and carriers alike need to be aware of because these vary greatly from one jurisdiction or territory to another.
As far as DG packaging for transport by sea is concerned, the same is governed and regulated by the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (abbreviated as IMDG Code) which is the internationally accepted regulation for the safe transportation of dangerous goods and hazardous materials by sea. The IMDG Code is created to protect the ship’s crew and personnel, prevent marine pollution, and ensure safe transportation.
The code is implemented mandatorily. It contains topics on terminology, packaging, labeling, placarding, markings, stowage, segregation, handling, and emergency response in relation to carrying dangerous goods by sea. Its latest revision is the 2014 Edition of the IMDG code Incorporating Amendment 37-14 which became mandatory on 1 January 2016.
While the IMDG Code rules upon the carriage of dangerous goods and hazardous materials by sea, each country has independent regulations governing the packaging, shipping, and transportation of hazardous goods by road such as in Europe where the carriage of dangerous goods by road vehicles are governed by ADR in Europe (European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road).
As far as air freight is concerned, the internationally agreed and accepted regulations for packaging and transporting dangerous goods are covered by the International Dangerous Goods Regulations as developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). When it comes to packaging, the IATA DGR guide is regarded as the world’s most trusted and relied-upon set of instructions. No wonder that it has been followed by over 200 different airlines worldwide for the past 60 years. The IATA regularly releases revisions to their manual every year to make certain that dangerous goods and other hazardous materials are in fact properly handled, and that the standards are amended to keep up with the dynamic pace of the industry. The IATA guide includes national, international, and airline-specific regulations for shipping, packaging, and labeling dangerous goods.
In conclusion, the safe and efficient shipping of dangerous goods depends a lot on its correct packaging. If the wrong packaging is chosen, one could end up being severely injured, harm the environment, or cause catastrophic damage to an aircraft, ship, truck, or other property. These domestic and international regulations for the safe transportation of dangerous goods are strictly imposed upon stakeholders in order to ensure that they work together in a common manner acceptable to and enforceable by all. It cannot be gainsaid that thorough knowledge of and faithful compliance by the nuance of these regulations, and their annual revisions, are truly important.