The International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code is the international standard for packing and shipping hazardous materials by vessel. It is created and maintained by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. Unlike the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations, which is published annually, the IMDG Code is published only once every 2 years. This unique publication schedule leads to “staggered” compliance requirements, which can cause confusion for ocean shippers.
The current edition of the IMDG Code is Amendment 36—12, also called the 2012 Edition. This edition was published in late 2012 for use in 2013 through 2015. Any changes from the previous edition (2010) are indicated with symbols in the margins. Following is the explanation given in the current IMDG Code:
IMDG Code Voluntary Compliance Year
For the first year after a new edition of the Code is released, compliance with the new rules is voluntary. During a voluntary compliance year, you may use the current enforceable Code or use the most recently published Code. For example, this year, 2013, the 2010 edition of the IMDG Code remains in force, but you may choose to use the updated instructions of the 2012 edition.
IMDGCode Mandatory Compliance Year
The second year after a new edition is released, compliance with the new edition is mandatory. On January 1, 2014, for example, the 2010 edition of the IMDG Code becomes obsolete and you MUST comply with the 2012 edition. During every mandatory compliance year, a new edition is published and the cycle begins again.
The one-year transition period between editions gives shippers time to prepare for changes that affect their operations, learn new regulations, and take the steps needed to comply. To ensure your shipping operations keep pace with updated packaging and shipping rules, a best management practice is to have a copy of the new edition of the IMDG Code well in advance of the mandatory compliance deadline. New and updated rules may require you to re-train personnel, change operating procedures, or possibly make adjustments to your hazmat shipping papers.
Get up to speed with the latest vessel shipping rules before the January 1 compliance deadline at the Hazmat Vessel Shipper Certification (IMDG) Webinar. The latest version of the IMDG Code includes new marking specifications for hazardous material packages, new EHS/GHS criteria, a complete revision of Part 7, and hundreds of other changes!
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