UN Packaging FAQ

What is UN specification packaging?

UN Spec Packaging is designed to contain dangerous goods. Having been tested to a specific standard set out by the United Nations, UN rated packaging ensures dangerous goods are safely contained under normal conditions of transportation. UN specification packaging is readily identifiable by its unique packaging code.  The type and quantity of dangerous goods that are suitable for a UN certified package can be determined, in part, from this packaging code. An example of the packaging code of a UN fibreboard box:

UN Rated Packaging Code, UN box certification, 4GV UN Packaging code, UN packaging mark

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How do you determine the appropriate UN rated packaging for a dangerous goods shipment?

The minimum requirements for what can be placed in a UN rated package are provided in the packaging code - clearly marked on the outside of the package. The packing group of the dangerous goods must comply with the rating of the packaging.

UN Packaging code rating:

Further considerations: Meeting the requirements of the packaging code doesn't, in itself, make the UN rated package suitable for transport.  The shipper must take into account the following:
  • Packing Instructions - to assemble/close the package correctly and ensure that the nature & quantity of the contents are appropriate, one must always consult the packaging instruction that is provided
  • Compatibility - corrosion, permeation, and degradation are a few adverse outcomes of UN spec. packaging that was incorrectly selected.  Chemicals often have properties that make them incompatible with specific packaging materials - it is the shipper's responsibility to be aware of said properties and select an appropriate packaging
  • Mode of Transport - It makes sense to first consult the designated packing instructions in the pertinent regulations (49CFR, IATA, IMDG Code) to determine if there are any restrictions, before selecting your packaging. UN rated packaging requirements can be much more strict for certain modes of transport [ie. IATA 95 kPa packaging requirements for liquids via air transport]

What is UN specification single packaging?

UN specification packaging designed to solely contain dangerous goods.  No inner packagings are required for a single packaging to perform its containment function; dangerous goods are therefore in direct contact with UN single packagings.

What is a UN combination package?

A packaging system which includes inner packages contained within a single outer package.  The outer package bears the UN combination packaging code, which remains valid provided the package is assembled in the same way it was during testing - ie. the exact type/number of inner packages need be assembled inside the outer package as per the packing instruction.

UN packaging code of a 4GV UN box:

UN Rated Packaging Code, 4GV UN box code, 4GV UN Packaging code, UN rated packaging certification

4GV UN packaging provides flexibility for those who:

  • ship a variety of different dangerous goods
  • ship dangerous goods infrequently
  • have dangerous goods in uncommon or varying sizes
  • ship samples of hazardous materials
  • UN specification packaging synonyms

    Within the transportation industry, UN specification packaging is characterized by a variety of names. Many of these misnomers reflect fundamental misunderstandings of how UN Packaging is created & used -

    'Dangerous goods packaging' or 'Hazmat packaging' are commonly used terms, as these materials are what UN packaging is designed to contain. Names such as: 'UN tested Packaging', 'UN certified Packaging', & 'UN approved Packaging' incorrectly imply the United Nations is involved in the certification/approval process itself. Terms such as: 'TDG Packaging', 'DOT Packaging', 'IATA DG Packaging', & 'IMDG Packaging', incorrectly restrict UN Packaging to only one mode of transport [specific regulatory requirements - such as the IATA 95 kPa pressure test for air transport of liquids - can still render some packages ineligible for specific modes of transport].

    UN spec packaging synonyms:

    UN tested packaging
    UN performance packaging
    UN approved packaging
    UN certified packaging
    UN rated packaging
    Dangerous goods packaging
    Hazmat packaging
    TDG packaging
    DOT packaging
    IATA DG packaging
    IMDG Code packaging
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