The Carrier Has The Final Say

Have you ever prepared a shipment that you were 100% certain was done according to regulation, only to have it refused by the carrier? The reason may be because carriers can put in place requirements that go above and beyond the regulations and will refuse your shipment if you do not comply. Finding these extra requirements can be simple for air shipments thanks to the Operator Variations listed in IATA Section 2.8.3. However, other modes of transport do not have the variations listed, and even the IATA variations don’t cover every possible extra requirement.

Below are a few ways you can determine if there are additional requirements for your shipment.

  1. Ask your carrier! If you are using a new carrier or shipping a new material with your current carrier, ask them if there are any additional requirements that you should be aware of before you prepare the shipment. Most carriers have dedicated Dangerous Goods agents who will be able to let you know about any extras.
  2. Check the IATA variations even for ground or vessel shipments. Many of the operator variations that are listed in IATA apply to all shipments for that carrier, regardless of the mode of transportation. One common example is FedEx’s FX-02, which requires Division 6.1 material in PG I or II to be in special permit packaging for domestic shipments.
  3. Trial and error. Sometimes, the way we learn about additional requirements is by having a shipment refused the first time we try to ship it. Most times, a carrier will let you know why they refused the shipment so that you know for the future.

Keep in mind, these additional requirements are changing just as often as the regulations are. Make sure that you are always up to date on your training and that you communicate with your carrier to ensure that your shipments are compliant. I always say in my training classes; “If your carrier wants every hazmat package identified with a pretty pink bow, go out and buy some ribbon if you want to use that carrier!”


Is your training up to date? To schedule your training, or to find out more information, call one of our customer relations centers today: 888-442-9628 in the US or 888-977-4834 in Canada.

Emily Walter

Emily Walter

Emily has over 10 years’ experience in hazardous materials/dangerous goods training and specializes in 49 CFR, IATA, IMDG, TDG, OSHA Hazcom and the GHS regulations. Recently, Emily has taken on the responsibility of overseeing ICC’s packaging department. Emily also assists in the health and safety services department by authoring safety data sheets and creating label text for customers. Her expertise extends to US OSHA Hazcom 1994 and 2012, Canadian Hazardous Products Act/Controlled Products Regulations (WHMIS) and Canada Consumer Chemicals and Container Regulations. Emily is active with the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD), recently speaking at ChemEdge along with other industry meetings regarding the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) and OSHA Hazcom 2012.

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