Special Shipment: How To Ship Dangerous Goods

Dangerous goods shipping is more complicated and requires special handling.
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Last update:

June 22, 2023
You have a business or you have a need to send some items that may be considered as dangerous goods. Can and should you do it? We will provide the answer right here. At the moment, all we can say is that dangerous goods are known as DG and they are regulated by the IATA. They are not necessarily explosives and guns. They are all the items, goods, or substances that can harm a person if not handled properly. First of all, you will need to know the requirements of the US carriers and then obviously to meet them. Without further ado, let’s begin.

Dangerous good shipping: FedEx, USPS and UPS terms and regulations

In a nutshell, all of the requirements leading carriers in the United States have, are similar if not identical. But, there are some differences. That’s why we will explain the main terms and the main points for each carrier separately. 


According to UPS, they will accept small quantities of DG which are packaged according to the HMR (Hazardous Materials Regulations) regulated by DOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) and they will deliver them via air, railways or roads. They also accept hazardous goods that meet the International Civil Aviation Association DGR (Dangerous Goods Regulations) requirements. Keep in mind that sometimes, UPS has more complicated requirements than IATA or DOT have.

In general, you must fill a separate form and you must pack the hazardous materials properly and you must confirm that. Only then you can send them and only in limited (non—bulky) quantities. Transporting batteries is possible. 


FedEx has a dingus good hotline which you can call at any given moment using the 1.800.463.3339 telephone number. In general, they will not accept explosives and radioactive materials. These items are prohibited by the Fissile Class III. Dry ice can be shipped, but you will have to check the dry ice box while shipping the package. There are no additional requirements. Yes, you can use FedEx to ship batteries as well. Other goods you can ship via this carrier include:

  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Magnetized materials
  • Toxins (in proper cases)
  • Substances dangerous to the environment

We can add that you will need to identify the hazardous substance and you will need to provide proper information about it.


If you want to ship DG via USPS you will need to check the USPS Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted, & Perishable Mail first. They do not accept shipments which contain:

  • Airbags
  • Explosives and ammunition
  • Marijuana
  • Fuel

Additionally, you will have to comply with their rules and you will need to pack the item according to the official rules and regulations. 

If you are using the ShipSaving platform, you need to know something more about restricted item shipping. This platform doesn’t allow you to ship explosives, ammunition, gasoline, airbags, or marijuana. They also do not support the shipping of the goods which are not allowed to be shipped using carriers by the United States law. Those items include dry ice, glues, medicine, nail polish, paint, poisons, perfumes, aerosol, and a few more. 

Main points to remember when shipping dangerous goods

Shipping dangerous goods isn’t impossible, it is just more controlled than shipping a regular package. Keep in mind that these are goods or items that may harm a person if or when not handled properly. The first thing you will need to do is to identify the goods and are they dangerous for shipping. You can also check with carriers directly about a specific good.

Some items of this kind may be delivered only via highways and ground services in general. This means that they cannot be delivered by air. Yes, it is a more affordable option, but your client will need more time to get the package. 

Your item or goods must be properly packed. This means that you must use proper boxes and proper packaging techniques. In most situations, you cannot ship over 100 ml of the dangerous liquid per package. The situation is the same with batteries. You can ship 2 in a single package. That being said, your package must comply with the requirements and you will have to split it. 

Additionally, you may have to pay a more expensive shipping fee. Almost all carriers will charge you more to ship dangerous goods. After all, they need proper training of the personnel and they need more delicate handling, which is charged more.

Last but not least, all carriers will require additional papers for DG shipping. You need to fill them properly in order for the carrier to accept your order. Due to various differences and separate points, we recommend you get the forms from the official carrier you are shipping with.

Tips when shipping dangerous goods

Now you know that shipping DG is possible, but it is more complicated. However, there are a few tips you can use to make this easier. All the tips you will ever need are mentioned and explained below.

Learn the basics

Dangerous goods can be in a solid state or they can be gases or they can be liquids. It is crucial to remember that ordinary items may be considered as DG when it comes to shipping. For instance, paint or nail polish is considered as DG. Learn about the dangerous goods before you start the shipping process. 

Always follow the regulations

In the United States, shipping dangerous goods via sea is controlled by the IMDG code or International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code. It got an addition in 1975 as the HMTA or Hazardous Materials Transportation Act that regulates DG transportation via air. Another regulator, IATA is also present here. The regulator for the road shipments is the Code of Federal Regulations 49.

What we are trying to say is that these goods are controlled and regulated. You need to know about specific requirements for a specific good you are shipping. Understating this will make sure your package reaches the final destination. 

Package the goods properly

Dangerous goods have separate or special packaging instructions. For example, they may be limited. You can ship only 2 batteries in a single package. You can only ship 100 ml of liquid in a single package. The situation is the same when it comes to all DG out there. A package of this kind will come with the instructions from the carrier and your task is to follow them precisely. 

Pick suitable packaging

Some goods may require special parching. This applies to goods that will change their composition or state in hot or cold conditions or when exposed to moisture. Once again, you need a suitable packaging solution for a good you are shipping and it must make sure that it will stay intact during shipping.

Keep in mind that all packages of this type must have an IMDG code on them and proper labeling. 

Use trained personnel

Always ship the DG via carriers who offer professional personnel, trained to handle these packages. Luckily for you, all major US carriers have special personnel capable of handling DG packages of any kind or any type. 

The final word

Yes, you can ship dangerous goods and yes it is possible via all carriers in the United States. But, you will need to make sure your package is packed carefully and it meets the regulations of that carrier and the US laws. When all requirements are met, the DG package is delivered to its destination as any other. 

Written on:

August 2, 2021
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