How To Ship Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Internationally?

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Reviewed by:

Maryana Serafinas

Maryana Serafinas


What is HAZMAT Shipping?

HAZMAT shipping refers to transporting hazardous materials, necessitating specialized shipping and handling procedures to mitigate potential risks. These materials encompass solids, liquids, and gases that could harm individuals if improperly stored or packaged. Both federal regulations and carrier-specific requirements govern the classification of HAZMAT goods, ensuring safe and compliant transportation.

Internationally shipping hazardous materials (HAZMAT) requires careful management and adherence to strict safety protocols. This aspect might not be relevant for some merchants, but for others, such as cosmetics brands dealing with hazardous substances, it becomes crucial to tailor their shipping strategies accordingly.
The transportation of dangerous goods demands specialized knowledge and compliance with regulations to minimize risks during transit. This article delves into HAZMAT shipping intricacies for safe transport and provides insights into the essential steps and regulations involved in safely shipping dangerous goods across borders.


Knowing the various sets of hazardous materials regulations is crucial when shipping dangerous substances. These regulations provide guidelines for safe hazmat transportation and handling. Here are the key regulations to consider:

  • U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) Title 49:
    Title 49 of the code of federal regulations governs the transportation of hazardous materials within the country, encompassing vital aspects like handling, shipping, and labeling protocols.
  • IMDG (International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code) Code:
    The IMDG Code regulates the safe shipping of hazardous goods by sea for international transportation. It protects crew members and the marine environment from potentially harmful substances.
  • ICAO / IATA:
    The ICAO is a UN agency responsible for international civil aviation that establishes standards for the international air transport of dangerous goods. IATA, a non-governmental organization, which includes HAZMAT transportation via commercial airlines, covers private-sector norms.


Hazardous materials, commonly known as HAZMAT, encompass many substances that present potential risks during transportation and handling. These materials are classified into nine different classes based on their danger level. Each class has distinct properties and characteristics, leading to varying regulations for shipping, packaging, labeling, and handling hazardous products.

Class 1: Explosives

Class 1 includes materials with a high likelihood of exploding

Class 2: Gases

Class 2 includes gases that transportation involves compressing and storing. Class 2 hazardous materials include oxygen, aerosols, carbon dioxide, natural gas canisters, and lighters.

Class 3: Combustible liquids and flammable liquids

Combustible and Flammable liquids can ignite when exposed to an open flame. These substances require specific packaging and labeling to ensure safe transportation. Class 3 hazardous materials include acetone, paints, adhesives, gasoline, ethanol, perfume, and vanish.

Class 4: Flammable Solids

Materials of Class 4 will ignite if they come into touch with a flame. Examples include sulfur, matches, sodium batteries, and magnesium.

Class 5: Oxidizer and Organic Peroxides

Class 5 involves substances that act as oxidizers, causing combustion in the presence of oxygen or organic peroxides that are chemically unstable and produce flammable vapors. Examples include potassium permanganate, hydrogen peroxide, ammonium nitrate fertilizer, sodium nitrite, and oxygen generators.

Class 6: Toxic and Poison Substances

Materials in Class 6 are those that are known to result in severe harm or death when ingested, breathed, or exposed to the skin. Examples include methyl bromide, forensic materials, biological products, and tear gas.

Class 7: Radioactive Materials

Class 7 involves materials that emit radiation at levels higher than 0.002 microcuries per gram. Examples include radioactive ores, medical isotopes, depleted or enriched uranium, and X-ray machines.

Class 8: Corrosive Substances

Class 8 includes substances that cause damage to human skin or corrode steel or aluminum rapidly. Examples include sodium hydroxide, batteries and battery fluid, sulfuric acid, drain cleaners, and paint strippers.

Class 9: Diverse Hazardous Materials

Class 9 encompasses hazardous materials that do not fit into the classifications of Classes 1 through 8. Examples include lithium batteries, vehicles, first-aid kits, and dry ice.

Why Is It Important To Choose An Experienced Company To Ship HAZMAT?

Selecting an experienced company for HAZMAT shipping is vital as it demands specialized knowledge. Not all hazmat transportation companies possess the necessary equipment to handle hazardous materials, making expertise crucial for safe and compliant transportation.

What Issues Can You Face If You Ship Hazardous Goods Incorrectly?

Incorrectly shipping dangerous goods can lead to severe repercussions. The margin for error is minimal, but the impact can be substantial, including potential injuries, property damage, and even life-threatening situations. Therefore, hazmat shipping must exercise utmost caution to prevent such issues.

HAZMAT Shipping Manual

The HAZMAT Shipping Manual is a comprehensive guide designed to assist businesses and individuals in safely transporting hazardous materials. It provides essential information on handling, packaging, and shipping dangerous goods to minimize risks and ensure compliance with regulations. Here are crucial guidelines and procedures outlined in the HAZMAT Shipping Manual to help you navigate the complexities of HAZMAT shipping and protect both people and the environment:

Identifying Hazardous Goods for Shipping.
The first step in the HAZMAT Shipping Manual is to confirm whether the shipped product is classified as hazardous and determine its specific hazard class. This determination influences various aspects, such as the required packaging and the mode of transportation, whether by air or ground.
To accomplish this, consulting the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is essential, as it contains vital information mandated by law for all hazardous materials or substances. The MSDS provides details like the Proper Shipping Name, Hazard Class, and UN Identification Number, along with packaging and labeling requirements, ensuring safe and compliant shipping practices.

Obtain HAZMAT Shipping Certification.
Companies must obtain a specific certification mandated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) for HAZMAT shipping. This certification entails proper training in classifying, packaging, marking, and labeling dangerous goods for shipment. Failure to comply can lead to severe fines. “HAZMAT employees” are individuals involved in the following:

  • Handling hazardous materials
  • Preparing hazardous materials for transportation
  • Operating vehicles used for hazardous material transport
  • Designing, manufacturing, inspecting, marking, reconditioning
  • Maintaining/repairing, or testing hazardous materials packaging

One can avoid this time-consuming process by outsourcing dangerous goods shipping to an experienced HAZMAT team.

Identify Appropriate Packaging for HAZMAT Shipping.
The packaging requirements vary based on hazardous materials’ hazard class and quantity. Title 49 categorizes packaging into three “packing groups”:

  • Packing Group I for great danger
  • Packing Group II for medium danger
  • Packing Group III for minor danger

Proper Labeling and Marking for HAZMAT Packages.
Mark and label HAZMAT packages correctly to ensure safe handling, including package orientation and protection from heat.

Creating the Shipper’s Declaration for HAZMAT Shipping.
Essential shipping documents for both Ground and Air shipments include:

  • The UN identification number
  • Proper shipping name
  • Packing group
  • Hazard class
  • Quantity
  • Type of packages
  • Shipper’s certification
  • Emergency response information
  • Any additional required details.

Atlantic Project Cargo has an extensive global network and partnerships with leading carriers to provide customized, fast, and cost-effective solutions for HAZMAT shipping. Our experienced team ensures complete regulatory compliance, proper handling, and documentation preparation, prioritizing safety and efficiency throughout the transportation process. Trust Atlantic Project Cargo for the secure and efficient movement of hazardous materials.

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