Dangerous Goods Declaration


We all know that every consignment of dangerous goods, barring a few, needs a Dangerous Goods Declaration (DGD). This can be submitted as a printed or electronic copy.

If no declaration (DGD) is submitted carrier will reject the consignment or refuse to load.

Also some of us have experienced even after submitting document container failed to load or carrier returned the document due to missing or wrong information.

Internationally when port state authorities conducted random inspection on deficiencies in Dangerous Goods consignments a major percentage was wrong documentation. Missing or wrong DGD may lead to accidents, death, loss of property of damage to environment.

When we encounter any difficulty in preparing a DGD or when DGD is rejected or questioned for missing or ambiguous information we do think How to prepare a correct completed Dangerous Goods Declaration?

Then answer is simple “Be familiar and thorough in Chapter 5.4 of IMDG Code“

Since this Chapter 5.4 is linking to other sections of IMDG code and have some exceptions let’s not go into full details but learn the basic steps of preparing a DGD.

 Page Numbers

          If the DGD has more than one page then same must be numbered consecutively. Example page numbers for a 3 page DGD: 1 of 3, 2 of 3, 3 of 3.

The idea is if a one or more pages of a multipage DGD is missing above way of numbering will exactly inform the referrer which page is missing.

Shipper & Consignee

DGD must include the name and address of the shipper and consignee.


Must have a date and this can be either the date of preparing the DGD or date on which DGD is given to the initial carrier.

Dangerous Goods part

Every item of dangerous goods under the respective shipment shall be mentioned here and the IMDG Code require this information to be in a particular sequence which is as below

  1. UN Number , preceded by letters UN
  2. Proper Shipping Name , and technical name in brackets if any
  3. Class
  4. Subsidiary hazardous class
  5. Packing Group

 This information shall always be in this sequence and never shall be re arranged when preparing the document.  Below are some examples of correctly sequenced dangerous information on DGD

 UN1098  ALLYL ALCOHOL 6.1 (3) I (21oC c.c.)

UN1098, ALLYL ALCOHOL, class 6.1, (class 3), PG I, (21oC c.c.)

UN 1092, Acrolein, stabilized, class 6.1 (3), PG I, (-24oC c.c.) MARINE POLLUTANT

UN 2761, Organochlorine pesticide, solid, toxic, (Aldrin 19%), class 6.1, PG III,  

               MARINE POLLUTANT

 Quantity of Dangerous Goods

We must declare the total number and type of packages and the quantity of dangerous goods. For Explosives the quantity is the net explosive weight, for other dangerous goods its volume or mass. Here I am not writing about shipments of radioactive substances which may require activity level also on documentation.

 Number and type of packages such as drums or jerricans can be written as say, 10 drums or ten drums.

 One shipment which does not require total quantity of dangerous goods to be written on DGD is empty uncleaned shipment.

 Limited Quantities

If the shipment offered is limited quantities then same must be mentioned on the DGD

 Excepted Quantities

If the shipment offered is excepted quantities then same must be mentioned on the DGD.

 Temperature controlled

Self-reactive substances and organic peroxide which require temperature control need to be mentioned with Control and Emergency Temperature this is applicable also to other substances if they are stabilized by means of temperature control.

 There are much more information required on DGD which is depending on the dangerous goods being offered for carriage by sea. Also some substances may require additional documentation such as a weathering certificate or exemption certificate.

Also other than tanks DG shipments need a packing Certificate also.

 Now let’s see what are the legally binding parts of documentation (DGD).


Shipper and packer must sign the document, in an electronic form this can be replaced by NAME in capital letters.

 Declaration or Certification

 To certify that the shipment meets the applicable regulations below text shall be in the DGD

 “I hereby declare that the contents of this consignment are fully and accurately described above by the Proper Shipping Name, and are classified, packaged, marked and labelled/placarded, and are in all respects in proper condition for transport according to applicable international and national government regulations.”

 Format of DGD can be found here including continuation page and container packing certificate points.  The format of the form can be anyhow but the information required by Chapter 5.4 of IMDG Code must be there clear and legible.

Retention of DGD

Both Shipper and Carrier shall retain a copy of DGD and any other additional document as required by IMDG Code for a minimum period of 3 months.

 Above is the basic of preparing DGD for full details refer to chapter 5.4 and respective entry of UNNO in chapter 3.2 of IMDG Code (35-10) 

Additional Documents

For some dangerous goods together with Dangerous Goods Declaration IMDG Code require additional document(s).  They are

(1) Weathering Certificate

(2) a certificate exempting a substance, material or article from the provisions of the IMDG Code

(3) a statement by the competent authority of the country of origin of the approved classification and conditions of transport for a new self-reactive substances and organic peroxides or new formulation of currently assigned self-reactive substances and organic peroxides