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When any type of goods are transported, whether they are hazardous or non-hazardous, the consignment must be accompanied by a document that contains information about their nature and properties. Transport documentation provides specific handling instructions and hazard warnings about the contents of a consignment to carriers, receiving authorities or forwarders.


Dangerous goods documentation is the main means of communicating shipment details to carriers and cargo handling personnel. "Shipping paper," "dangerous goods document," "DGD," "DG dec," "IMO," "IMO declaration," "R-A," "R-A cert," and "R-A document" are all terms that apply to variables of the same certificate.



This document is issued by the shipper or his/her agent declaring various important parameters of the consignment, such as UN number, proper shipping name, and hazardous material class(es). It is ultimately signed by that person representing the organization preparing the certificate. This also serves as a statement that all of the applicable laws and regulations have been adhered to.



Different transport mode regulations: IATA (Air), IMDG (Sea) and ADR (Road) all require a dangerous goods transport document to accompany goods when they are being transported. Under IMDG and ADR the same multi-modal transport document may be used, as this can be in any format, provided it contains all of the information required by the provisions of the relevant Codes. However, for shipments by air, IATA has specified its own document format and this is the only type that must be used.

The Standard Shipping Note (SSN) is used to accompany deliveries of non-hazardous goods in transit; it can be used for all consignments except those containing dangerous goods. The SSN is a multimodal form which can also be used for air freight.

This document is intended to give the receiving authority complete and accurate information about how a consignment should be handled. This means that everyone with an interest in the consignment has adequate information at each stage of movement, until its final loading onboard a vessel or aircraft.

Ideally, a Standard Shipping Note should not be completed manually as hand handwritten documents are often difficult to read and are more likely to contain inaccuracies.

A single Standard Shipping Note can only include goods for a single shipment to a port or airport, or for a single sailing or flight, and if continuation sheets are used, they should be numbered and attached to each copy of the SSN.

Don’t take risks with your dangerous goods, make sure they are expertly packed and adhere to all regulations.

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