Do Unused UN 4G Boxes Expire?
There are many applications for which UN packaging can be used. Whether you are shipping paint cans, plastic bottles, or lithium batteries, there is a UN packaging out there that can fit your needs. You may use a specific UN packaging on a regular basis for one application, but what if you have older UN boxes used for another application that haven’t been used? A few months back, a blog about re-using UN packaging was posted, but what about unused UN 4G boxes? Do they expire after a while?
Do UN 4G Boxes Expire?
The short answer is no. As long as the packaging was manufactured prior to the re-test date listed on the UN test report, it may be used at any time to transport an inner container and dangerous goods for which it is authorized. As a matter of fact, Non-bulk UN packagings generally do not expire per the 49CFR. Here is a PHMSA interpretation that backs this up.
However, keep in mind the shipper must determine that the packaging has been manufactured, assembled, and marked in accordance with the 49CFR. This also means that the packaging must still be capable of passing all of the required UN packaging performance tests, and it wasn’t stored in any conditions that would affect its overall performance, such as excessive humidity or dry conditions, for example. The key here is to ensure you closely follow the closing instructions and that the 4G box is still in good structural condition.
Do 4G boxes expire in any of the Other Regulations?
There isn’t anything in the other dangerous goods regulations that mention 4G boxes expiring once manufactured. However, there is one example of a non-bulk packaging restriction from IATA that I would like to share. In IATA section 220.127.116.11, it says that for plastic drums and Jerricans, the period of use is only permitted for the transport of dangerous goods for five years from the date of manufacture of the receptacles, except where a shorter period of use is prescribed because of the nature of the substance to be transported. This means if you have UN rated plastic drums or jerricans that are over five years old, you should probably think twice about using them to ship dangerous goods internationally by air. But it does mention that you can potentially overlook this requirement if you get prior approval from an appropriate national authority.
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