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Statutory Documents - IMO Publications and Documents - International Codes - CTU Code - IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units - Chapter 10. Additional advice on the packing of dangerous goods

Chapter 10. Additional advice on the packing of dangerous goods

 10.1 General

10.1.1 The advice of this section applies to CTUs in which dangerous goods are packed. It should be followed in addition to the advice given elsewhere in this Code.

10.1.2 International (and often national) transport of dangerous goods may be subject to several dangerous goods transport regulations, depending on the origin, final destination and the modes of transport used.

10.1.3 For intermodal transport involving different modes, the rules and regulations applicable depend upon whether it is an international, national or regional move (e.g. transport within a political or economic union or trading zone).

10.1.4 Most national and international regulations are based on the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Model Regulations (Orange Book). However, international (ADR, IMDG, ) and national rules (CFR49, ) may differ from the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.

10.1.5 Transport of dangerous goods by road, rail or inland waterways is subject to various regulations and agreements. Examples are:

  • European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR);
  • European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Inland Waterways (ADN);

  • Regulations concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail (RID); and

  • Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations of the United States.

10.1.6 For international maritime transport, the provisions of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code apply. The IMDG Code provides detailed provisions on all aspects of the transport of packaged dangerous goods by sea.

10.1.7 Dangerous goods are classified into nine hazard classes. Some of these are subdivided into divisions. All details are set forth in the applicable dangerous goods regulations as mentioned above. The consignor is responsible for ensuring that packages containing dangerous goods are authorized and bear the appropriate labels and marks.

 10.2 Before packing

10.2.1 The IMDG Code and other international and national regulations require that the consignor provides transport information on each dangerous substance, material or article. This information should include at least the following basic items:

  • The UN number;
  • The proper shipping name (including the technical name, as applicable);

  • The class and/or division (and the compatibility group letter for goods of class 1);

  • Subsidiary risks when assigned;

  • The packing group when assigned;

  • The total quantity of dangerous goods (by volume or mass, and for explosives the net explosive content); and

  • The number and kind of packages.

    Other items of information may be required, depending on the mode of transport and the classification of the goods (e.g., flashpoint for transport by sea). The various items of information required under each regulation and applicable during intermodal transport operations should be provided so that appropriate documentation may be prepared for each shipment.

10.2.2 The consignor is also responsible for ensuring that dangerous goods are classified, packaged, packed and marked in accordance with the applicable regulations. A declaration by the consignor that this has been carried out is normally required. Such a declaration may be included with the required transport information.

10.2.3 The shipper is responsible for ensuring that the goods to be transported are authorized for transport for the applicable modes to be used for the transport operation. For example, self-reacting substances and organic peroxides requiring temperature control are not authorized for transport by rail under the RID regime. Certain types of dangerous goods are not authorized to be transported on board passenger ships and therefore the requirements of the IMDG Code should be carefully studied.

10.2.4 The carrier is responsible for ensuring that dangerous goods declared by the shipper are transported in accordance with applicable international and national regulations.

10.2.5 Current versions of all applicable regulations should be easily accessible and referred to during packing to ensure compliance.

10.2.6 Dangerous goods should only be handled, packed and secured by trained personnel. Supervision is required by a responsible person who is familiar with the legal provisions, the risks involved and the measures that should be taken in an emergency.

10.2.7 Suitable measures to prevent incidents such as fires should be taken, including the prohibition of smoking in the vicinity of dangerous goods.

10.2.8 Packages of dangerous goods need to be examined by the packer and any found to be damaged, leaking or sifting should not be packed into the CTU. Packages showing evidence of staining, etc., should not be packed without first determining that it is safe and acceptable to do so. Water, snow, ice or other matter adhering to packages should be removed before packing. Substances that have accumulated on drum heads should initially be treated with caution in case they are the result of leakage or sifting of contents. If pallets have been contaminated by spilt dangerous goods, they should be destroyed by appropriate disposal methods to prevent use at a later date.

10.2.9 If dangerous goods are palletized or otherwise unitized, they should be packed so as to be regularly shaped, with approximately vertical sides and level at the top. They should be secured in a manner unlikely to damage the individual packages comprising the unit load. The materials used to bond a unit load together should be compatible with the substances unitized and retain their efficiency when exposed to moisture, extremes of temperature and sunlight.

10.2.10 The packing, labelling, marking and method of securing of dangerous goods in a CTU in compliance with applicable international and national regulations should be planned before packing is commenced.

 10.3 Packing

10.3.1 Special care should be taken during handling to avoid damage to packages. However, if a package containing dangerous goods is damaged during handling so that the contents leak out, the immediate area should be evacuated and personnel immediately moved to a safe place until the hazard potential can be assessed. The damaged package should not be shipped. It should be moved to a safe place in accordance with instructions given by a responsible person who is familiar with the risks involved and knows the measures that should be taken in an emergency in conformance with national regulations.

10.3.2 CTUs should be packed so that incompatible dangerous or other goods are segregated in accordance with the rules of all modes of transport. In some instances even goods of the same class are incompatible with each other and should not be packed in the same unit, e.g., acids and alkalis of class 8. The requirements of the IMDG Code concerning the segregation of dangerous goods inside CTUs are usually more stringent than those for road and rail transport. Whenever an intermodal transport operation does not include international transport by sea, compliance with national relevant regulations and the respective inland transport regulations may be sufficient. However, if there is any possibility that a part of the transport operation will be international by sea, the segregation requirements of the IMDG Code generally apply.

10.3.3 Some dangerous goods should be segregated from foodstuffs by a certain distance within the CTU or are even prohibited in the same unit. More advice is to be found in the applicable dangerous goods regulations.

10.3.4 When dangerous goods are being handled, the consumption of food and drink should be prohibited.

10.3.5 Packages should be handled and packed in accordance with their markings (if any). Further details regarding markings are provided in annex 7, appendix 1.

10.3.6 Drums containing dangerous goods should always be stowed in an upright position unless otherwise authorized by the competent authority.

10.3.7 Stacking heights, stacking load tests and stacking limitations are set forth in applicable dangerous goods regulations that should be strictly followed.

10.3.8 Dangerous goods consignments which form only part of the load of a CTU should, whenever possible, be packed adjacent to the doors with markings and labels visible. Particular attention is drawn to annex 7, subsection 3.2.7 concerning the securing of cargo at the doors of a unit.


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