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Limited and Excepted Quantities of Dangerous Goods in Logistics Blog

Customers often ask us about shipping small amounts of hazardous materials by air. The fact is that IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations contains provisions for shipping limited quantities of Dangerous Goods that can save you both time and money. These regulations can be confusing at times. Here is an explanation of excepted or limited quantities that may make things a bit clearer for you. You can also download our white paper "Preparing Limited and Excepted Quantities of Dangerous Goods" that features detail explanation of regulations and packaging examples.

The Regulations offer certain rewards to shippers who keep package quantities down to low levels, presumably because less quantity means more safety. There are two different types of “limited quantities” differentiated in the IATA DGR, Excepted Quantities and Limited Quantities. The differences are as follows:

Shipping dangerous goods in excepted quantities

Applicable to shipments where each inner receptacle contains, in general, no more than 30 ml or 30 g, and each complete package contains, in general, no more than 500 ml or 500 g.

There are no shipping papers required, the box is a normal inexpensive one that can pass a drop test and stacking test, and there is just one label to be applied to the outside of the box:


Shipping dangerous goods in limited quantities

Applicable to shipments where each inner receptacle contains, in general, no more than 0.5 l or 0.5 kg, and each complete package contains, in general, no more than 1 l or 1 kg.

The Shipper's Declaration for Dangerous Goods is required. Note that as of January 2011 no longer should the words "LTD QTY" appear in the "Authorizations" column, as the "Y" before the PI number is considered sufficient to indicate the use of the Limited Quantities Provision. The box may be a normal, inexpensive one that can pass a drop test and stacking test. The box must be marked with the Proper Shipping Name and UN Number. In addition, the box must bear the Dangerous Goods in Limited Quantities label (technically a mark but best purchased from a label printing company):


The advantages of Limited and Excepted Quantities

You must have noticed that I kept adding “in general” to the descriptions above. That's because each Dangerous Goods commodity has its own quantity requirements, and those do vary. But the central advantages for Excepted Quantities is the savings in preparation time and package costs, and of Limited Quantities - the considerable package cost savings.

These provisions are described in detail in the IATA DGR, Section 2.

White Paper:  Preparing Limited and Excepted Quantities of DGs
Easy to follow guide on the IATA regulations regarding shipping dangerous goods in limited and excepted quantities:

  - an overview of the regulations
  - packaging and labeling tips
  - examples of the limited and excepted quantities shipments 

About the author

HAZMAT Training & Compliance
Michael Gotz has developed IATA-certified Dangerous Goods training programs and has been a panelist in numerous IATA Dangerous Goods international conferences. He is the author of published journal articles on the subject of the air... Read more.


david chenard December 12, 2012 11:45:06 -0800
Excepted Quantity the package requires no DG paperwork or labeling other than the red/white EQ label. Can other items be in the package with the DG product? Normally DG is shipped separately.
Hadhi July 30, 2013 13:02:37 -0700
Its almost similar to david question but a little bit of twist. Can EQ shipment bagged and uplift with normal courier shipment under one MAWB?
Kim August 10, 2013 18:18:56 -0700
So is the only savings in packaging costs? Do you need proper shipping name on carton? Do you need red border forms for either air or ground? Where can I find examples of actual packages prepared?
Darren B November 05, 2013 07:21:09 -0800
I some send limited or excepted quantities of UN1263. I always supply a IATA shippers declaration and an MSDS .But sometimes the couriers what a Non dangerous goods declaration. What is this and how do I prepare it.

Dave Macha November 05, 2013 12:51:20 -0800
If shipped in Limited Quantities, shipments of UN1263 will always require a Shipper's Declaration for Dangerous Goods. A Non Dangerous Goods Declaration or statement certainly would not apply in this instance.

Shipped as Excepted Quantities, the package will need to bear the Excepted Quantity label, but no Shipper's Declaration is required (nor should one be provided). The only document requirement is that the air waybill or bill of lading includes the statement "Dangerous Goods in Excepted Quantities"

A Non Dangerous Goods Declaration may be used for those commodities with names similar to a Dangerous Goods product. Many suppliers which provide shipping documents offer this form and there are many types.

However, I do not see that a Non Dangerous Goods Declaration should ever be used for your product.
sally September 22, 2015 12:10:25 -0700
would a hazardous material bill of lading be required for a ground shipment of a hazardous material as a limited quantity?
Dave Macha September 22, 2015 13:24:22 -0700
Hi Sally, Yes, unless an exception is mentioned in the regulations for the commodity.
Rachel Haugo January 26, 2016 14:42:17 -0800
I'm shipping 12 ML of UN 1263 would that be limited or excepted QTY? I'm also getting contradicting info if I should fill out a shippers dec or not. The original shipper did not need to fill one out to ship by air, but FedEx is telling me they need one. Wondering which is correct?
Dave Macha January 27, 2016 08:27:46 -0800
Hi Rachel,

To confirm, Paint or Paint related materials is the commodity to be shipped.

Excepted Quantity shipments are excepted from certain regulations as they are typically in very small quantities and pose minimal danger.

Generally, you would first need to determine the Packing Group of the material in order to confirm the product is eligible to ship in Excepted Quantities and in what amounts.

Fortunately all Packing Groups of UN 1263 qualify with a limit of 30 mL per inner package and limitations ranging from 300 mL to 1 L per outer package.

Since only 12 mL is to be shipped, I would think that preparation as an Excepted Quantity of material would be the wisest avenue to take. No shipper's declaration would be required.

Limited Quantity shipments are regulated and would require a shipper's declaration.

Dave Macha
Director of Dangerous Good Compliance
Quick International Courier
Tim August 10, 2016 11:39:15 -0700
I will be shipping 30g of UN3395 / 4.3 / III as a excepted qty,I have company product labels and MSDS I will put on my shipping box is this needed?
Dave Macha August 18, 2016 08:53:05 -0700
Hi Tim, Other than the Excepted Quantities label displaying the hazard class of the product, and the shipper/consignee address, no other markings or documentation are required.

However, if an overpack is used, the word "OVERPACK" must be marked on the carton.