Do you ship Sample Dangerous Goods?

Any new product or existing product to new buyer may require sending sample of the product. Sample shipment plays crucial part in establishing future sales. Do you ship sample dangerous goods?

Shippers and freight forwarders sometimes ask, since quantity is less what exemptions they can avail from transport regulations for sample shipments. Answer is no exemptions!

No exemptions other than Limited Quantities or Excepted Quantities and other exemptions, if any, given in special provisions for the substance or article listed in the transport regulations is applicable to transport of commercial sample shipments of dangerous goods.

The word sample shipment, if used, will create confusion with carriers and may get rejected. Why? Because. for IMDG Code, shipments of sample has a different meaning and approach than the commercial samples shipped in the industry.

Transport of samples

Dangerous Goods which are offered for transport by sea for further testing because the initial tests does not reveal or prior offering to transport there is an uncertainty of hazard class and all hazard properties of the goods then such shipment is called “SAMPLE SHIPMENT” in IMDG Code. The purpose of transporting sample is only for testing and finalizing the classification as required by IMDG Code.

The conditions for transporting such a sample is

  1. Shipper with his existing knowledge assign a tentative hazard class,  UN Number, Proper Shipping Name

For above shipper need to take into consideration of criteria for classification and precedence of hazards. Depending on the substance the most severe packing group must be assigned. IMDG Code has provided certain entries for transport of samples such as;  GAS SAMPLE, NON-PRESSURIZED, FLAMMABLE, N.O.S., not refrigerated liquid, GAS SAMPLE, NON-PRESSURIZED, TOXIC, N.O.S.,  GAS SAMPLE, NON-PRESSURIZED, TOXIC, FLAMMABLE, N.O.S.,  CHEMICAL SAMPLE, TOXIC

2. If the suspected hazard properties of the sample do not match with the listed sample entries in IMDG Code then shipper can use an appropriate entry by supplementing proper shipping name with word “SAMPLE”, example – FLAMMABLE LIQUID, N.O.S., SAMPLE.

What is permitted and not permitted in Transport of Samples?

  1. Any substance or article which, as presented for transport, is liable to explode, dangerously react, produce a flame or dangerous evolution of heat or dangerous emission of toxic, corrosive, or flammable gases or vapours under normal conditions of transport are forbidden from transport, including as sample.
  2. The substance is not considered to be explosives, infectious or radioactive material.
  3. Must be transported only in combination packaging with net mass not more than 2.5 kg
  4. Must not be packed with other goods.

If your shipment is commercial sample of dangerous goods then the word SAMPLE must never be entered in dangerous goods regulations.  If your shipment is dangerous goods sample for further testing and correct classification then the shipment must meet all the provisions of section 2.0.4 of IMDG Code.


  1. Very good article Sir! I have to ship samples of sulfide ores and their respective treatment solutions etc. on a regular basis.
    It is nice to see it outlined here for all to read.


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