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 is easily and consistently the best option for compliance training. I've learned new information from every instructor I've had.

Rachel Mathis

EHS Specialist

The instructor took a rather drab set of topics and brought them to life with realistic real-life examples.

Tom Berndt

HSE Coordinator

The instructor had knowledge of regulations and understanding of real-world situations. The presentation style was engaging and fostered a positive atmosphere for information sharing.

Linda Arlen

Safety & Environmental Compliance Officer

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

The instructor was very engaging and helped less experienced people understand the concepts.

Steve Gall

Safety Leader

The price was reasonable, the time to complete the course was manageable, and the flexibility the online training allowed made it easy to complete.

Felicia Rutledge

Hazmat Shipping Professional

The course was very informative and presented in a way that was easily understood and remembered. I would recommend this course.

Jeffrey Tierno

Hazmat Shipping Professional

These are the best commercial course references I have seen (10+ years). Great job!

Ed Grzybowski

EHS & Facility Engineer

This is the best RCRA training I've experienced! I will be visiting Lion training again.

Cynthia L. Logsdon

Principal Environmental Engineer

I can take what I learned in this workshop and apply it to everyday work and relate it to my activities.

Shane Hersh

Materials Handler

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

Find out what makes DOT hazmat training mandatory for employees who sign the hazardous waste manifest, a “dually regulated” document for tracking shipments.

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.