Freight Shipping Hazardous Material Table: Freight Tools
What is HAZMAT, and what does it mean for your freight and shipping needs? Explore the nine US HAZMAT classes by clicking on any sign in our Hazardous Materials Table for sub-categories, examples and other key information.
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“Dangerous goods” are defined as any solids, liquids, or gasses with hazardous susceptibilities that can cause harm to living things, property, or the environment. In the US, UK, and Canada, these goods are referred to as hazardous materials or HAZMAT. Dangerous goods can include materials that are radioactive, flammable, toxic, explosive, and those of similar characterizations.
There are nine overarching classes of hazardous materials, most of which are then further divided into multiple subcategories. Each hazard class is assigned it’s own diamond shaped label to communicate the hazard and class number. Hazard classifications are also known as hazard identifiers.
The transport of dangerous goods needs to be regulated in order to avoid accidents and damage when possible. Most countries regulate hazardous materials by federal and international law, but classifications may vary by country, mode of transport, and type of goods.
In order to unify international classification systems and facilitate the transportation of dangerous goods, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) issues the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, which serve as the basis for most regulatory policies monitoring the transportation of dangerous goods. Those standards have been adapted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for the specifications of air freight, and by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for ocean freight. IMO member countries also abide by the HNS Convention, which offers compensation for spills of dangerous goods in the sea.
There is a certain amount of specific documentation required for shipping hazardous materials and dangerous goods. First of all, a detailed description of the goods must be provided on the freight quote, commercial invoice, bill of lading, shipment packing list, and all other relevant shipping documents.The Shipper’s Letter of Instruction needs to detail how to handle the goods, and should include emergency contact information.
In addition, the shipper needs to provide a special declaration called a Material Data Safety Sheet, which identifies and details the following:
Product identification (name, use, etc.)
Hazardous ingredients included in the goods
Physical data about the goods
Fire and explosion data
IATA and IMO both provide standard formats of HAZMAT shipping papers for air freight and ocean freight, respectively.