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Packaging, Marking, and Labeling

2011 Hazardous Material Shipping rule update


Hazardous Materials Classification

Packaging, Marking, and Labeling

Shipping Papers

Excepted Quantity Limits

Dry Ice Checklist

Guide to Shipping Biological Materials


Biological Materials Shipping Certification

Packing instructions and quantity limits of hazardous materials allowed on aircraft can be found in the List of Dangerous Goods (Section 4) of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations.  Packing instructions detail the types of inner and outer packagings permitted on aircraft as well as instructions on how to package specific materials. 

Only containers that meet United Nations performance standards can be used in hazardous materials shipping.  The following marking is an example of what must be present on all approved packaging:

Packing Identification Code

The outer packaging of all hazardous material shipments (other than Limited Quantity or Excepted Quantity shipments) must bear the UN specification marking. 

Performance Standards
Package performance standards relate to a material’s packing group. 

Performance Standard

For Packages Meeting Packing Groups


I, II, and III


II and III



Next to the performance standard you will see specific gravity and weight limits.  The weight limits refers to the maximum weight in kilograms of all solid materials in a package.  An “S” will follow this value indicating the package is to be solely used for shipping solid materials.  A maximum specific gravity is given for containers suitable for liquids.  The specific gravity is followed by the hydrostatic test pressure to the nearest 10kPa. 

Marking & Labeling

All markings on hazardous material packages must be:

  • In English
  • Located on two opposite sides of the package
  • Weather resistant
  • Located away from other markings such as advertising
  • Readily visible and legible
  • Durable and printed on the surface of a package or on a tag, sign, or label
  • Displayed on a background of contrasting color

Required markings and labels include:

  • Name and address of consignee
  • Name and address of consignor
  • Identification number (UN number) of hazardous material
  • Proper shipping name (and technical name if applicable) of hazardous material
  • Net quantity of hazardous material or “LTD QTY” if Limited Quantity shipment
  • Hazard label(s) required from Column E of IATA List of Dangerous Goods
  • Cargo Aircraft Only label if applicable
  • Orientation arrows (often pre-printed on packaging)

Examples of hazard labels can be found here.  The following are IATA approved vendors for UN compliant packaging and labels: