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