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Carriage of dangerous goods by sea – documentation requirements

Carriage of dangerous goods by sea – documentation requirements

Dangerous Goods, Hazardous Cargo – whatever it is known as, these cargoes, as the word implies, have a very sensitive role in the shipping spectrum.. It is equally important to ensure that the proper process is followed with regards to the hazardous application and acceptance of the same.. I have already written several articles about hazardous cargoes on this blog about dangerous goods and the consequences of not following the processes etc..

In this topic, i will discuss the hazardous cargo application and acceptance process in detail and also provide some formats that you can use..

The process of DG request and acceptance that is followed is as below : (if the below image is unclear click on it to enlarge)

Below are the “generic” formats that maybe used for the dangerous goods request and declaration.. There is an explanation document also, that will help you to fill up these documents required for the shipment of dangerous goods..

These documents are based on the IMOMARPOL and SOLAS recommendations.. You can use these as a standard format or customise it to include any changes that you might need to make as long as the basic skeleton remains the same as set out by the IMO.. In most cases you might need to follow the formats provided by the various shipping lines as each line has its own requirement and these must always be respected and followed..

It is of utmost importance that these documents are filled up precisely and as correctly as possible.. The life of the ships crew, port workers, transporters, the loading of your cargo and the safety of the ship itself depends on how these documents are filled up as the shipping line has no way of verifying what is packed in the containers, and have to base everything on what is updated in these documents..

All fields in these documents have a purpose and are required to be filled in at the time of application and declaration.. So please do not skip anything as it will only waste your time, your clients time and the shipping lines time in back and forth communications regarding the acceptance or loading of these dangerous goods..


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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiar
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


  1. Great article. Thanks for the info, it’s easy to understand. BTW, if anyone needs to fill out a Dangerous Goods Declaration form, I found a blank form here This site also has some tutorials on how to fill it out and a few related forms.

  2. Hello Hariesh,

    Many thanks for your well written, clear practical guide to the carriage of dangerous goods by sea. The links to documents and guides to fill them in are particulary helpful.

  3. Dear Hariesh,

    Hi. I am Capt. Navin Paliwal, i will take this opportunity to thank and appreciate your good work with this educational blog. I am a master mariner with over 12 years of experience on tanker vessels and have recently started working with a leading shipping agency in the middle east as Operations Manager. Having changed my role from Technical Shipping to Commercial Shipping, i was desperately looking for educational blogs/ articles about Commercial and especially Liner Shipping that was when i came across your blog and found it really helpful. It has been able to answer most of my questions. So once again i would like to thank you and wish you the very best in your life, career and your endeavors.



    • The pleasure is all mine Capt and thank you for your kind words.. This is what this site is all about.. Explaining Shipping and Freight simply and practically to the interested and needy..

    • Thanks Manaadiar, where can I confirm this? (IMGD Code?, IMO? etc?),reason is that I am getting conflicting information – at the moment I am being told (by a consultant) that the lettering needs to be 60mm, ending up with a label that is almost 2m long! On all four sides….costing as much as the container.

    • Hi Mohamed, there seems to be nothing available in writing from anywhere including the IMO.. I am speaking from experience and have checked with a few leading lines like MSC and their label sizes are also 250 x 250 mm.. The size mentioned by your consultant doesn’t sound right.. However there are some ports that insist that the writing has to be a certain size, but the label size itself is between 250 mm to 300 mm.. I personally haven’t seen anything bigger.. The IATA label sizes for air cargo is around 100 x 100 mm..


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