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Feature Article: Keeping Up With the Changes to International Dangerous Goods Regulations

Posted on 11/16/2011 by James Griffin

On January 1, 2012, the next editions of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code come into effect. Here’s a quick guide to impending changes and deadlines you should know about.
International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR)
On January 1, 2012, the 53rd edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations comes into effect, and the 52nd edition will become obsolete. The International Air Transport Association has been good enough to prepare a short summary of significant changes to the new edition.
Lion Technology has reviewed the new edition, and our materials will reflect the changes starting in December of this year. The current year’s (2011) edition saw a complete renumbering of the packing instructions and the new limited quantity marking. This year’s (2012) changes are not as obvious. Of note, the packing instructions, marking requirements, and shipping paper provisions for overpacks, lithium batteries, magnetized materials, and dry ice have been edited in several places to clarify confounding regulations and to reinforce those rules that are not always adhered to.
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International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code
The 2010 edition of the IMDG Code, incorporating amendment 35-10, was published in late 2010 and has been in effect on a voluntary basis all this year while the 2008 edition phases out. Starting January 1, 2012, the 2010 edition will be in force on a mandatory basis worldwide.
This is the first edition of the IMDG Code to include reference marks (i.e., squares, triangles, and circles with an “x”) in the margins identifying which rules have been added, amended, or removed since the last edition. These editorial markings are similar to existing marks in the IATA/ICAO air rules.
Key changes to the IMDG Code in the 2010 edition include:
  • The new limited quantity markings will be mandatory. In addition to an exception for marine pollutant markings and Proper Shipping Names, limited quantity packages won’t require the material’s UN identification number. As it is no longer necessary, the special exception that was provided for “consumer commodities” has been removed.
  • Provisions for fumigating containers have been consolidated in Section 5.5.2 of the IMDG Code. They include mandatory training for fumigators, marking and placarding requirements, and the need for a fumigation certificate for UN 3359 in transit.
  • Engines, vehicle flammable liquid/gas powered (UN 3166) are now fully regulated unless specifically excluded under the new Special Provision (SP) 961.
    • SP 961 provides exceptions for roll–on/roll–off ships, empty or near–empty fuel tanks, and wet or dry electrical battery–powered vehicles.
    • SP 962 provides the carriage requirements for UN 3166. These include limiting liquid fuel tanks to 1/4 full or 250 L max; documentation; visual inspections of fuel tanks and batteries; and an exception for marks, labels, and placards.
  • There are even some new Proper Shipping Names: toxic inhalation hazards (UN 3488–3493), Petroleum sour crude (UN 3494), Iodine (UN 3495), and Batteries, nickel–metal hydride (UN 3496).

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As maritime and dangerous goods security has evolved, shippers and carriers have taken to affixing tracking devices and alarms to shipping containers. To acknowledge this relatively new practice, the IMDG Code now includes a new Section 7.5.4 in Chapter 7.4 (Packing of Cargo Transport Units) to cover how these devices may be used safely to monitor dangerous goods shipments. In the future, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will be working on developing guidelines for packing cargo transport units, including a stand–alone non–mandatory volume of regulations and a checklist and set of guidelines for CTU inspectors.

Tags: hazmat, IATA, IMDG, new rules, shipping

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