Shipping Dangerous Goods by Air: How to Calculate Q Values

Posted on 5/29/2012 by James Griffin

Q. I want to ship a package that contains multiple dangerous goods in the same package. What special concerns do I have when preparing it for air shipment?
A. When shipping dangerous goods by air, most carriers require you to follow the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR). The DGR set maximum quantity limits for each package of dangerous goods. These limits can be found in Columns H, J, and I of the List of Dangerous Goods (DGR Section 4.2). For combination packages, there are also limits on the capacity of each inner packaging. These limits are found in the packing instructions.
When packing different dangerous goods together in the same package, you need to be sure you do not exceed the limit for one full package of dangerous goods. For example, a package prepared for passenger and cargo aircraft could not hold both 5 liters of acetone and 1 liter of acetyl chloride, since those are the individual allotments for each dangerous good.
In order to confirm you are within the package limits, you must calculate the “Q” value based on the fraction of a full package each dangerous good would account for. The “Q” value must be less than or equal to one (1.0). You must write this value on the shipping paper with the quantity information.
To calculate the “Q” value for a mixed package, use the following formula:
Q = n1/M1 + n2/M2 + n3/M3…
  • Where “Q” is the sum of each fraction, n is the net quantity of each good packed in your package, and M is the maximum net quantity authorized per package.
  • *Round all fractions up to the nearest tenth, i.e., if Q = 0.31, round up to 0.4.
Learn More About IATA Regulations
Learn about “Q” Values, general packaging requirements, marking and labeling packages, and more at Lion’s Hazardous Materials Air Shipper Online Course. Meet all of your IATA training needs with this convenient and complete online course. This course meets IATA training standard at IATA 1.5, and includes comprehensive coverage of the rules for shipping hazmat by air.

Tags: hazmat, IATA, shipping, shipping papers

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

Lion courses are the standard to which all other workshops should strive for!

Brody Saleen

Registered Environmental Health Specialist

If I need thorough training or updating, I always use Lion. Lion is always the best in both instruction and materials.

Bryce Parker

EHS Manager

This training broke down the regulations in an easy-to-understand manner and made them less overwhelming. I now feel I have the knowledge to make more informed decisions.

Amanda Oswald

Shipping Professional

Much better than my previous class with another company. The Lion instructor made sense, kept me awake and made me laugh!

Marti Severs

Enterprise Safety Manager

I really enjoyed this training. Even after years on both sides of the comprehension coin, I find myself still learning! The quality of the delivery exceeded much of the training I have received in the past.

Neil Ozonur

Safety Officer

I had a positive experience utilizing this educational program. It was very informative, convenient, and rewarding from a career perspective.

John Gratacos

Logistics Manager

Attending Lion Technology classes should be mandatory for every facility that ships or stores hazmat.

Genell Drake

Outbound Lead

I have attended other training providers, but Lion is best. Lion is king of the hazmat jungle!!!

Henry Watkins

Hazardous Waste Technician

We have a very busy work schedule and using Lion enables us to take the course at our own time. It makes it easy for me to schedule my employees' training.

Timothy Mertes

Hazmat Shipping Professional

Course instructor was better prepared and presented better than other trainers. Course manual and references were easier to use as well.

Marty Brownfield

Hazardous Waste Professional

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

Explore ten hazardous waste management errors that caused generators in California the most trouble last year.

Latest Whitepaper

By submitting your phone number, you agree to receive recurring marketing and training text messages. Consent to receive text messages is not required for any purchases. Text STOP at any time to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. View our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.