Dangerous Goods Notes & Dangerous Goods Declarations

The Dangerous Goods Note & Dangerous Goods Declaration: Transport Documentation Required for the Shipment of Dangerous Goods

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.

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.


standard shipping note

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.


dangerous goods note

When transporting dangerous goods, they must be accompanied in transit by a Dangerous Goods Note (DGN), otherwise known as a Dangerous Goods Declaration (DGD).

The responsibility of completing the DGN belongs to the ‘consignor’ or the person, or organisation which is instructing that the goods be collected by a transport company and taken by air, sea, road or rail transport, either on its own behalf or for a third party.

A DGN or DGD provides accurate information on what the dangers of the goods are, so the relevant authorities have clear and precise details on how the goods should be handled, especially in the case of an emergency. Where a dangerous goods document extends over more than one page, the pages must be numbered consecutively.

A provision stemming from the UK regulations, and now found in both ADR and the IMDG Code, is the requirement for both the consignor and carrier to retain a copy of the transport document for a minimum of three months following completion of the journey. The retained documents can be held electronically, but must be capable of being printed out.

The UN Model Regulations, IMDG, and ADR all publish a template for the multimodal dangerous goods form. However, it is the information that is required on the forms that is prescribed by these regulations, not the format of the document itself, and this information is different for each mode of transport.


IATA shippers declaration

A generic multi-modal dangerous goods form may be used when transporting dangerous goods by road, rail or sea, but for shipments by air, the specific IATA Dangerous Goods Declaration (DGD) or ‘Shipper’s Declaration’ form must be used.

This form must show the exact same wording, in exactly the same format as the specimen published in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR). This certifies that the cargo has been packed, labelled and declared in accordance with specific IATA regulations and it must be filled in very accurately to ensure that it meets their strict UK and international requirements.


When transporting dangerous shipments by sea, additional details must be included on the Dangerous Goods Note such as information on whether the contents are Marine Pollutants.

The format of the DGN is only recommended by the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code and the use of a standard style of prescribed note is normally the commercial requirement.


Both ADR & RID also have additional requirements such as the need to show the Tunnel Code, for when goods may be travelling on a route that takes them through a ‘controlled’ tunnel.

ADR does not require a transport document in the case of Excepted Quantity (EQ) packages or Limited Quantity (LQ) packages, but the consignor must advise, in advance in a traceable form, the gross mass of LQ packages being consigned.

It is also a requirement of ADR that the information on the DGN is in the official language of the forwarding country, but if that language is not English, French or German, then a copy must be provided in one of these languages also.


This article should not be used in substitute for checking the exact requirements in the applicable modal regulations.


If you’re planning to transport chemicals or hazardous goods, you’ll need to know which paperwork to use and how to complete it properly, in order to be compliant.

As a licensed supplier of documentation for use in the transportation of dangerous goods, we stock a full range of export documentation and you can directly buy Dangerous Goods Notes, Standard Shipping Notes and IATA Shippers Declaration documents at our online shop. Our documentation can be supplied as Single Sheets for use in laser printers, or Four Part Tipped carbonated sets for manual completion. We can also supply copies suitable for sprocket fed printers.

Buy Dangerous goods notes at Stock-Xpress.com