What is HAZMAT?

Hazardous material, or HAZMAT, are the goods capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and infrastructure — if not handled and transported with care.

Key regulatory frameworks control the transport of HAZMAT. These include:

  • IATA’s Dangerous Goods Regulations
  • ICAO’s Technical Instructions
  • United Nations Recommendations on Transport of Dangerous Goods
  • European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road
  • Hazardous Materials Transportation Act
  • IMDG’s International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code

What items are considered HAZMAT

Hazardous material, or HAZMAT, can be classified into 9 classes based on the type of dangerous materials.

  • Class 1: Explosives that can combust or detonate, such as ammunition, fireworks, flares, detonators, rockets, and TNT, among others.
  • Class 2: Gasses that pose a severe risk due to flammability. These include aerosols, compressed air, gas cartridges, fire extinguishers, lighters, and more.
  • Class 3: Flammable liquids which are volatile and combustible, like paints, perfumes, adhesives, and gasoline.
  • Class 4: Flammable solids that can combust or contribute to fires, including sodium cells, matches, camphor, and metal powders.
  • Class 5: Oxidizing substances like calcium nitrate, hydrogen peroxide, and chlorates.
  • Class 6: Toxic substances that may cause death or serious injury. These include biomedical waste, dyes, acids, and tear gas substances.
  • Class 7: Radioactive material such as medical isotopes, radioactive ores, enriched uranium, and the like.
  • Class 8: Corrosives that degrade by chemical reactions, like batteries, paints, acid solutions, and fuel cell cartridges.
  • Class 9: Miscellaneous includes dry ice, ammonium nitrate fertilizers, lithium-ion batteries, and magnetized material, among others.

How to ship HAZMAT

HAZMAT requires special attention and care while handling, storing, and transporting. They’ll often be transported in tank containers. 

Shippers must provide key details when transporting any HAZMAT, including:

  • Shipment goods name
  • Hazard classification
  • UN identification number
  • Packing group
  • Mass or volume
  • Additional description
  • Special handling instructions
  • Contact number of supplier
  • Emergency response information

Other things while shipping HAZMAT includes:

  • Proper packaging. Shippers need to follow specific packaging guidelines for the HAZMAT they’re transporting. For instance, dangerous liquids must be stored in steel, aluminum, or plastic drums, depending on their composition.
  • Accurate labeling. The materials must be appropriately labeled for clear visibility and not obscured by other labels.
  • Provide safety data sheets. (SDS) A product SDS is legally required for handling dangerous items. SDS guides and familiarizes workers in handling these products.
  • Separate containers. Carriers cannot move all types of HAZMAT in the same container. Each class follows its own compatibility with other classes.

Transportation hazardous material (HAZMAT) is sensitive in nature, and, hence, needs attention to detail and compliance with regulations for safe shipping.

HAZMAT is governed by local and international laws and can vary from region to region. It is essential to know all the prerequisites before transporting hazardous material and complete all the correct paperwork before shipping.

Terms related to HAZMAT

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