What are dangerous goods?

Dangerous goods (DG) are substances that pose a risk to property, the environment, and most importantly, the health and safety of people during transportation.

Examples of such goods include fireworks, batteries and accumulators, adhesives, coolant fluids, and even magnets. These types of cargoes require the carrier to exercise additional caution and comply with strict restrictions.

DGs are divided into hazard classes, such as gases, explosives, flammable solids and liquids, toxic materials, infectious substances, corrosives, or radioactive materials. Packaging containing dangerous goods can typically be easily identified by the diamond-shaped pictograms displayed on them. Below are examples of such markings.

Transporting dangerous goods poses significant challenges, especially in international transportation. Therefore, it is necessary to stay up to date with legal regulations regarding the transportation of dangerous goods by a particular mode of transport, as well as guidelines on how to pack, secure, and label such goods.


Transporting dangerous goods by road

The International Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) was developed on September 30, 1957, in Geneva. Initially, it covered 9 European countries. Today, it includes 52 countries, including some Asian (e.g., Kazakhstan, Tajikistan) and African (e.g., Tunisia, Nigeria) countries.

Currently, every company involved in the transportation of dangerous goods by road is obligated to cooperate with a Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor (ADR advisor). The role of such an advisor is to assist in meeting the requirements imposed by the agreement, preparing mandatory annual reports, and implementing appropriate safety procedures and instructions. Poland acceded to the agreement in June 1975.


Transporting dangerous goods by air

Dangerous goods in air transportation must be prepared for transport according to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) conditions outlined in the Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. These conditions form the basis for regulations enforced by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

These regulations are adapted to the individual requirements of specific governments and airlines. Regardless of the purpose of the journey, the shipment must comply with the Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR). It is worth emphasizing that air transport undoubtedly faces the greatest restrictions in terms of the type and quantity of dangerous goods allowed for transport.


Transporting dangerous goods by rail

All participants involved in the railway transportation of dangerous goods must comply with the Regulations concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail (RID), a special regulation for the international railway transport of dangerous goods. It is Annex C to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF), of which Poland is also a signatory.


Transporting dangerous goods by sea

The International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, issued by the International Maritime Organization, regulates the safe transportation of dangerous goods by sea.

The IMDG (International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code – Wikipedia) Code takes into account not only the characteristics of dangerous goods but also external conditions during the movement of such cargoes, such as humidity or ship movements on water.

If you need a company specializing in any of the above areas, our advisors will be happy to assist you: