DGM Network

Since 1987 taking the danger out of dangerous goods


  • Dangerous goods Overpacks

    Everyday thousands of overpackscontaining dangerous goods are offered for all modes of transport. However, are they shipped in compliance with dangerous goods regulations?

    This article intends to provide some helpful guidelines to ship overpacks containing dangerous goods in accordance with dangerous goods regulation requirements.

    Overpack concept and definition

    A common question asked by those involved in dangerous goods shipments is the following:  is an overpack a package? What are the main differences between them?

    An overpack, as defined in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations is an enclosure used by a single shipper to contain one or more packages and to form one handling unit for convenience of handling and stowage.

    On the other hand, a packageis defined as: the complete product of the packing operation consisting of the packaging and contents prepared for transport.

    Marking and labelling requirements for overpacks

    Overpacks shall be marked and labelled in accordance with dangerous goods regulations provisions. Generally, an overpack shall reproduce the markings and labels appearing on the package(s) inside the overpack, unless all markings and labels representative of all dangerous goods contained in the overpack are clearly visible.

    If the dimensions of the overpack require it, labels and markings shall be reproduced in two opposing sides of the overpack.

    Depending on the applicable transport regulation (such as: IMO-IMDG Code, ICAO- IATA-DGR ADR or 49-CFR), the required markings and labels can include UN number(s), Proper Shipping Name(s), Orientation Arrows, limited quantities marking, hazard labels (primary and subsidiary if they are required) for each dangerous goods package contained in the overpack and any additional handling information/markings appearing on the package (s).
    overpack marking

    In addition to the information mentioned above and an indication of compliance, an overpack shall be marked with the word “overpack” unless markings and labels representative of all dangerous goods contained in the overpack are visible.


    Overpacks & Safety

    Dangerous goods overpacked shall ensure safety requirements. The attached list shows some positive reasons to ship dangerous goods overpacked:

    • Facilitate identification of the dangerous goods overpacked
    • Protect the package from damage
    • Avoid any leakage from the package

    However, it is important to ensure that safety practices are implemented with the aim to minimize potential risks and injuries such as:

    • Incompatibilities in the storage of dangerous goods  
    • Product damage related to handling operations (for instance: stabbing which can result from having the forks extended too far out from a load or from the practice of pushing a pallet using the forks )

    Bear in mind that a safe warehouse environment and proper handling practices can be the key to success.

    DGM can assist you in preparing your dangerous goods overpacks shipments in accordance with dangerous goods regulations requirements. For any question, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

  • New segregation provisions for lithium batteries

    The upcoming new edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) has introduced segregation provisions for certain packages containing lithium batteries. This has been a result of our better understanding of the risks posed by one of the most common dangerous goods that are shipped worldwide. While some of these provisions will come into effect immediately together with the rest of the new provisions on January 1st, 2018, for others a transitional period has been devised.

    New segregation provisions for lithium batteries


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