Goods considered dangerous by the authorities may have minimum risks for shipment if administered following all international procedures and rules. This article addresses what the goods are, how to classify them and security measures so that the international logistics happens with excellence.
Any cargo with chemical, biological or radiological origin that is harmful to the environment, properties and living beings is considered dangerous cargo.
To regulate and create an international standard of safety, the IMO (International Maritime Organization) created a standard of classification of dangerous cargo to be followed by transport companies, importers and exporters and ports and terminals.
Prior to boarding, several conference steps take place to ensure the safety of boarding, crew and transportation.
The first documentation required is the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet), or in Portuguese MSDS, a document that contains the data regarding product identification, composition, safety measures, physicochemical properties, reactivity and information on how transport should occur.
The transportation company carries out a careful analysis to verify if the cargo can be shipped with the others and if port and airport complexes accept this type of cargo. This analysis is performed because there may be a chemical reaction when mixing certain substances, causing explosion, fire or corrosion.
Airlines may only carry this type of cargo, on cargo flights, with the goods properly packed and labelled according to IATA (International Air Transport Association) standards. It is also indicated to include the contact number for emergencies in the bill of lading, as well as the code and class of the goods.
The dangerous goods code and class must always be present in the bills of lading and the merchant EC. It is also indicated that the road haulier stamps the class of goods on the front, sides and back of the vehicle so that it is easy to see for everyone involved.
The UN or UN codes, are 4 digits, which inform the serial number for identifying chemicals. These codes were determined by the UN itself, so all products that in any way risk human life have this code.
The International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG), are codes that classify products that have substances considered dangerous, in order to organize and regulate the transport and logistics of cargo. For each class there are specific standards for packaging, accommodation and specific treatments.
The class is determined according to the characteristic of the product, there are 9 classes, there can be subclass according to the characteristic. These are them:
Substances that produce large quantities of gases and heat.
They are easily dispersed in the air and often have no odour or colour.
They generate a combustion reaction when at high temperatures.
Substances that become flammable in contact with flames or with the occurrence of friction.
Materials that can release oxygen.
Chemicals capable of causing health damage, even in small quantities.
Goods whose energy is released is invisible and specialised apparatus must be used to detect it. Only the shielding of the container ensures that the radioactivity does not spread.
This type of material can cause burns and corrosion on materials or even skin.
Products that, for various reasons, do not fit into the other classes, but are considered dangerous.
The shipment of dangerous cargoes must be coordinated with great attention and always following the entire regulation, otherwise, besides generating a major problem for the shipment can also compromise the health of those involved, the transport and other loads.