Dangerous Goods

(Reference from https://www.cad.gov.hk/english/faq.html#dg)

What are Dangerous Goods?

Dangerous Goods are articles or substances which are capable of posing a significant risk to health, safety, property or the environment when transported by air. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) classified dangerous goods in 9 classes, which are:

  • Class 1 Explosives
  • Class 2 Gases
  • Class 3 Flammable liquids
  • Class 4 Flammable solids; Substances liable to spontaneous combustion; Substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases
  • Class 5 Oxidizing substances and Organic peroxides
  • Class 6 Toxic and infectious substances
  • Class 7 Radioactive material
  • Class 8 Corrosive substances
  • Class 9 Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles
What regulations should a shipper or a forwarder comply with when offering or handling dangerous goods for air carriage?

Under the Dangerous Goods (Consignment by Air) (Safety) Regulations Chapter 384 Subsidiary Legislation, consignors i.e. shippers and freight forwarders must ensure all dangerous goods are properly classified, packed, marked, labelled and documented before they are offered for air transportation. A person who contravenes these Regulations commits an offence and is liable to a fine of $250,000 and to imprisonment for 2 years.

What are the Technical Instructions?

The “Technical Instructions” is referring to the “Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods By Air” published by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).It contains detailed requirements applicable to the international civil transport of dangerous goods by air. You are required by the Dangerous Goods (Consignment by Air) (Safety) Regulations Chapter 384 Subsidiary Legislation to ensure your dangerous goods comply in every respect with the requirements specified in the current edition of Technical Instructions.

If I am uncertain whether the goods I consign is dangerous goods, what shall I do?

You can contact your supplier or manufacturer of goods to obtain the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) which shows the physical and chemical properties of goods. Then you can contact your freight forwarder or airline for advice and assistance in any special arrangements required. You must never falsely describe the goods, or offer the goods for air carriage when you have doubts about their properties. False description of dangerous goods and improper packing and handling can result in a maximum fine of $250,000 and to imprisonment for 2 years.

What type of packaging and packing method should I use for packing my dangerous goods for air transportation?

You can only use packaging which complies with the provisions of the current edition of Technical Instructions and follow the Packing Instructions applicable to your goods. If you are required to use UN packaging, you must purchase those packaging made by a qualified UN packaging manufacturer. A qualified UN packaging manufacturer has obtained authorization from a competent authority to produce UN packaging and has successfully tested their packaging in accordance with the testing procedures specified in the Technical Instructions.
Every UN packaging for air carriage of dangerous goods bears a UN Specification Marking similar to 4G/Y145/S/99/NL/VL823. The UN Specification Marking of UN packaging for sea or road transport of dangerous goods are also similar to the above marking. If you are uncertain whether your UN packaging are made for air transport of dangerous goods, you can obtain a test report of the packaging from the packaging supplier or manufacturer for verification.

What documents do I need for offering dangerous goods for air carriage? Do I need to keep those documents?

Under the Dangerous Goods (Consignment by Air) (Safety) Regulations Chapter 384 Subsidiary Legislation, the documents required are Air Waybill and dangerous goods transport document i.e. Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods unless otherwise specified in the Technical Instructions. Dangerous Goods consignors i.e. shipper and freight forwarder must keep these documents for at least 6 months.

Can I sign the Shipper's Declaration for Dangerous Goods if I am unfamiliar with the handling of dangerous goods for air transport?

No, you cannot. Only person who has completed appropriate dangerous goods training within the past 24 months can sign the “Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods”. Any untrained person signing that declaration is liable to a maximum fine of $25,000 and 6 month’s imprisonment.

What is my liability as a Director if my company commits an offence under Dangerous Goods (Consignment by Air) (Safety) Ordinance Chapter 384?

Under Section 5 of Chapter 384, every director and every officer concerned in the management of the company maybe convicted of the like offence. Therefore, as a Director or a managerial officer, you must supervise your staff to prevent the commission of offence.

My company is a trading company which does not physically handle the dangerous goods for air carriage. Am I liable for breaches of regulations relating to an act or function performed by other persons i.e. overseas manufacturers or suppliers?

Yes, you are. Since it is your company offering the dangerous goods for air carriage, even if you are not the manufacturer or supplier of dangerous goods, you are still liable for an offence committed by other persons under the Dangerous Goods (Consignment by Air) (Safety) Regulations Chapter 384 Subsidiary Legislation. Therefore, you have to adopt measures to ensure the dangerous goods are in proper condition for air carriage.

Can a properly trained airfreight forwarder sign the Shipper's Declaration for Dangerous Goods on behalf of the shipper?

Yes, a properly trained freight forwarder or a qualified person acting on behalf of shipper can sign the “Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods” if they have undertaken shipper’s responsibilities as required by the Technical Instructions.

What shall I do if I want to offer guns (including sporting guns) and ammunitions for air transport?

In accordance with Article 43 of the Air Navigation (Hong Kong) Order 1995, any weapons, ammunitions or article containing an explosive or any noxious liquid, gas or other thing which is designed or made for use in warfare or against persons are classified as “Munitions of War”. The carriage of “Munitions of War” on aircraft must obtain prior approval (i.e. Permission for carriage of Munitions of War in Aircraft) from Director-General of Civil Aviation and comply with conditions relating thereto.
Passengers and cargo consignors who would like to offer weapons, guns (say sporting guns) and ammunitions for air transport must notify their airlines in advance and ask them to apply for a permission from the Director-General of Civil Aviation. Please click here to download the application for Permission for Carriage of Munitions of War (MUW) in Aircraft.

What can I do when I need further information on the transport of Dangerous Goods or carriage of Munitions of War in aircraft?

You may write to:

Dangerous Goods Office
Airport Standards Division
Civil Aviation Department
5/F, Office Building
Civil Aviation Department Headquarters
1 Tung Fai Road
Hong Kong International Airport
Lantau, Hong Kong

or contact the Safety Officer (Dangerous Goods) on telephone no. (852) 2910 6856, 2910 6857 or 2910 6855 or fax no. (852) 2795 8469.