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Transport of dangerous goods

Dangerous goods are a special type of shipment due to the level of danger during their transport. This type of cargo requires increased caution and strict restrictions, so shipping them can be a challenge. When sending such goods for shipment, you need to be up to date with the provisions of transport law and guidelines regarding the method of packaging, marking of shipments and their documentation. What are the types of dangerous goods and where can I find the conditions of carriage depending on the mode of transport? You will find out by reading the text below.

What are dangerous goods?

Dangerous goods, DG for short, are materials that pose a risk to health, safety, property or the environment during transport. Without looking too far, many everyday items can be classified as hazardous materials. Products such as aerosols, magnets, bleach, batteries and accumulators, coolants, adhesives and even perfumes can be hazardous in transit. Each of us knows it from our own experience, for example security checks at the airport before departure. It is a place where our luggage is checked for the content of hazardous materials. Dangerous goods are divided into hazard classes, including: explosive materials and objects, gases, flammable liquids, flammable, toxic and infectious solids, corrosive materials, radioactive materials, various hazardous materials and objects.

Packaging that contains hazardous materials can often be identified by pictograms, most often in the form of a clearly visible diamond. The color of this figure indicates a hazard, e.g. flammability is red and explosive is orange. The non-flammable and non-toxic gas is marked green because all compressed air tanks have this color in France after World War II - this is where the diamond system for identifying hazardous materials was developed.

Road transport of dangerous goods

What is ADR transport? It is the carriage of dangerous goods by road in Europe; this abbreviation comes from the French name of the convention concerning the carriage of dangerous goods by road by road (L'Accord européen relatif au transport international des marchandises Dangereuses par Route). The ADR agreement was drawn up in Geneva on September 30, 1957 and signed by 9 countries, and its depositary is the Secretary General of the United Nations. The countries that signed the above agreement (including Poland in 1975) are obliged to follow its guidelines.

Air transport  of dangerous goods

Packages transported by air that contain dangerous goods must be prepared in accordance with the conditions of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) contained in the Technical Manual for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. These conditions in turn are the basis of the Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR), enforced by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), tailored to individual government and airline requirements. Regardless of where our shipment is going, its journey must comply with the provisions of DGR. Air transport is subject to the greatest restrictions in terms of the type and quantity of hazardous materials allowed for transport.

Rail transport of dangerous goods

Everyone involved in the transport of dangerous goods by rail is obliged to comply with the provisions of RID, developed by the Intergovernmental Organization for International Carriage by Rail. The RID regulations are Annex C to the Convention Concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF), which was drawn up on May 9, 1980 in Berlin. We will learn how dangerous goods transported by rail should be marked, and describe what the requirements are for their transport and loading.

Deep-sea transport of dangerous goods

Sea transport is a special type of transport, which is characterized primarily by large tonnage, the possibility of transporting loads of great weight. For this reason, the potential damage caused by the transported dangerous goods may be proportionally greater than in the case of other modes of transport. This is reflected in the regulations that regulate security issues.

These provisions are regulated by the IMDG Code (International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code). All this to reduce the risk of a potential hazard, and thus increase the safety of transport. IMDG includes, among others external conditions prevailing during the carriage of dangerous goods in maritime transport (ship movements on the water or humidity). The member countries of the International Maritime Organization have also developed the HNS Convention to provide compensation in the event of leakage of dangerous goods into the sea.


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Rhenus Logistics S.A.

Radonice 46 B

PL 05-870 Błonie

Tel.: +48 22 463 95 00

Fax: +48 22 463 95 09

E-Mail:rhenus.logistics@pl.rhenus.com