Air Freight: Dangerous Goods

SUPATH freight Dangerous Goods











Introduction To Dangerous Goods

Dangerous Goods in air cargo shipping (air freight) are  those goods that are hazardous in different ways to the environment and the world in general. Such goods have been classified into 9  classes with some of the classes having sub-divisions as explained below. The rules for the transport of dangerous goods are called DGR meaning Dangerous Goods Regulation and the IATA publishes the updated version every year.

Please note dangerous goods regulations for dangerous goods are different from the rules used in sea freight (ocean freight). Air cargo regulations tend to be extremely strict in comparison.

The following sections will give you a general idea of regulations in place for air cargo. Details about the documentation (shipper’s declaration, MSDS) will be taken up in separate posts.




IATA The Organisation

Here is what IATA says about itself. Text taken from the organisations website

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing some 250 airlines or 84% of total air traffic. We support many areas of aviation activity and help formulate industry policy on critical aviation issues.


The Classification

  1. Explosives : Explosive substances
  2. Flammable Gases
  3. Flammable Liquids
  4.  Flammable Solids
  5. Oxidising substances
  6. Toxic and Infections Substances
  7. Radioactive Material
  8. Corrosives
  9. Miscellaneous Dangerous goods

The Sub-Divisions

Some of the classes above have sub-divisions and these have their own rules. Details will be given on new posts.

1. Explosives

This division has six sub-divisions. (Courtesy: IMDO)

  1. Division 1.1: substances and articles which have a mass explosion hazard
  2. Division 1.2: substances and articles which have a projection hazard but not a mass explosion hazard
  3. Division 1.3: substances and articles which have a fire hazard and either a minor blast hazard or a minor projection hazard or both, but not a mass explosion hazard
  4. Division 1.4: substances and articles which present no significant hazard
  5. Division 1.5: very insensitive substances which have a mass explosion hazard
  6. Division 1.6: extremely insensitive articles which do not have a mass explosion hazard

2. Gases

  1. Division 2.1 Flammable
  2. Division 2.2 Non-Flammable, non-toxic
  3. Division 2.3 Toxic

3. Flammable Solids

  1. Division 4.1 Flammable solids, self-reactive substances and solid  desensitised explosives
  2. Division 4.2 Substances liable to spontaneous combustion
  3. Division 4.3 Substances, which emit flammable gases when in contact with water

4.  Oxidising substances and organic peroxides

  1. Division 5.1 Oxidising substances
  2. Division 5.2 Organic Peroxides


5.  Toxic And Infectious Substances

Division 6.1 Toxic substances

Division 6.2 Infectious substances


Below is a video about class 1, beautifully presented.




Another informative video



6.  Conclusion

This post gave you a very compact overview of what the freight forwarders refer to as DGR. The abbreviation actually stands for Dangerous Goods Regulations. Companies that store dangerous goods must abide by regulations in place, failing which, action can be taken against them. Safety first is the motto.

Further posts will continue this discussion.


7. Questions?

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    References for air cargo (air freight)


    Air Cargo – IATA

    Air cargo transports goods worth in excess of $6.4 trillion on an annual basis. This is approximately 35% of world trade by value. The sector itself generates …

    World Air Cargo Forecast – Boeing

    The Boeing Company issues the biennial World Air Cargo Forecast (WACF) to provide a comprehensive, up-to-date overview of the air cargo industry.


    Air Cargo – Port Authority of New York & New Jersey

    John F. Kennedy International. A photo of being loaded. JFK is the region’s biggest and busiest airport for international air cargo, offering a full range of service …

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