What 40% of Shippers Miss About DG by Air

Posted on 4/21/2022 by Roseanne Bottone and Roger Marks

40% of shippers are unaware of the regulations for hazardous materials air transportation, according to a survey conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 2019. 

Hazmat/dangerous goods shippers who don’t know the restrictive rules for air transport can easily make mistakes that lead to rejected shipments, customs delays, fines and penalties, and emergency incidents aboard aircraft.

In most cases, even shipments that travel by air within the US must be prepared according to international standards.

To ship hazardous materials by air efficiently, US-based businesses need to understand the relationship between three sets of rules, and how to apply them:   
  • US DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR)
  • ICAO Technical Instructions (TI)
  • IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR)
Note: Dangerous goods or DG is a synonym for hazardous materials used internationally.

DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR)

Found in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR), Parts 171—180 et. al., the HMR contains the bare minimum compliance standards for hazmat shippers in the United States. The HMR contains requirements for classifying hazardous materials, shipping names, packaging, markings and labels, employee training, and much more.

To move cargo on most major airlines, shippers must comply with the HMR as well as some stricter, international requirements.

ICAO Technical Instructions (TI)

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. Representatives from UN member states, including the US, have developed the Technical Instructions for the Safe Transportation of Dangerous Goods—usually shortened to Technical Instructions or TI.

US DOT allows shippers to follow the ICAO TI when all or part of the trip is by air, subject to certain conditions and limitations (49 CFR 171.22(a)),  

IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR)

Most airlines are members of an industry trade group called the International Air Transport Association (IATA). That includes major carriers FedEx, UPS, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, DHL, and nearly 300 others.

IATA member airlines require shippers to comply with transportation safety standards in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) manual. The IATA DGR is the guidance manual used by shippers and carriers worldwide to ensure safe transportation of hazardous materials by air.

The DGR incorporates the ICAO Technical Instructions and adds requirements imposed by individual countries and air carriers (“state variations” and “operator variations”). In other words, shippers who use the IATA DGR to properly prepare an air shipment are fully compliant with the ICAO Technical Instructions.

IATA publishes a new edition of the DGR every year. Compliance with the current edition (the 63rd) is mandatory as of January 1, 2022.

US DOT Requirements for Air Shipments 

To ship to, from, or through the United States, shippers must comply with some US DOT requirements that are not mentioned in the IATA DGR or ICAO TI, like:
  • DOT Registration (49 CFR Part 107)
  • Incident reporting and material-specific requirements (49 CFR Part 171)
  • Providing emergency response information and facility security (49 CFR Part 172)
  • Hazmat training for employees (49 CFR Part 172)
  • General packaging requirements (49 CFR Part 173)
Cargo and passenger aircraft transport more than 250,000 tons of dangerous goods/hazardous materials every year, according to US FAA.

Lack of awareness about the requirements for shipping hazardous materials by air is a common cause of US DOT/FAA civil penalties that increase annually. Shippers who don’t know that unique regulations exist or apply to their activities can also make unforced errors that cause rejected shipments, customs delays, and emergencies aboard aircraft.   

IATA DGR Training for Air Shippers

Lion's Hazmat Air Shipper Certification (IATA) covers the additional requirements that air shippers need to know, including changes in the new Dangerous Goods Regulations in effect as of January 1, 2022. The training is available in three formats—an in-person workshop, a self-paced online course, and a live webinar.

To get a stronger grasp on the latest US DOT (49 CFR) and IATA DGR requirements for ground and air shippers, join Lion for in-person workshops coming up this year. 
St. Louis May 4–6
San Diego May 18–20
Nashville July 13–15
Dallas July 25–27
Orlando  August 3–5 
Houston August 16–18

More hazmat workshops for 2022 

Tags: hazardous materials regulations, hazmat air shipping, IATA, IATA DGR, ICAO TI

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