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HomeShipping and FreightWhat is MSDS and why is it important..??

What is MSDS and why is it important..??

Often when you contact a shipping line to book a hazardous cargo, one of the questions they would (or should) ask you is if you have an MSDS for the cargo..

MSDS stands for Material Safety Data Sheet..

image for MSDSThe purpose of the MSDS is to provide  elaborate data about

  1. the physical and chemical properties of the cargo like the three main points such as flash, boiling and melting points
  2. the nature of the cargo indicating its toxicity
  3. effects on ones health
  4. the first aid that needs to be administered in case of adverse contact
  5. possible reactions
  6. methods of storage
  7. methods of disposal
  8. protective equipment to be used by people that come in contact with the material
  9. spill-handling procedures

It provides guidance in handling the commodity and the properties and composition of the item in question..

This is of vital importance to any Hazardous desk of any shipping line for them to consider accepting this cargo for loading on their ships..

A copy of this MSDS could also be placed on board the ship for the use of the cargo officer..

This MSDS should normally be produced by the actual shipper (manufacturer) of the cargo as they would have all the detailed information relating to the product..

According to Shashi Kallada, IMDG Code does not however ask for MSDS except as an option for emergency response information under section

The MSDS is the responsibility or the Manufacturer who should provide the tested results in the proper format. The seller ‘should’ pass these details to the shipper / consignor..

This MSDS may serve as a reference for all future handling or rehandling of the dangerous goods even if they are no longer the ‘property’ of the manufacturer..

However, one major point to note that MSDS is not required or created for hazardous goods alone..

You can view an example of the MSDS here..

Credits : Example of MSDS form downloaded from


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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. Hello Sir, can a merchant exporter reproduce the exact MSDS issued by manufacturer on its own letterhead as exporter? Or is it mandatory to have the manufacturer’s MSDS only? I am asking as we do not want to disclose name of manufacturer to our client. The goods come under hazardous cargo. Please advise.

  2. Hi Arihant, MSDS so far is not required as a mandatory document by the shipping lines or port.. The hazardous packing declaration (derived from the MSDS) is a mandatory document.. The MSDS may however be required to be produced to the shipping line in case of any disputes or if they have any doubts before approving the carriage of the haz cargo..


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