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Who's Responsible for Signing a Dangerous Goods Declaration?

October 5, 2018



“Shippers Dangerous Goods Declaration (DGD) for air transport not meeting the applicable provisions of ICAO technical instructions for the safe transport of Dangerous Goods by Air and the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations is direct breach of law and is subject to civic or criminal penalties.” [Srinivasan Raman via IMDG Code Compliance Centre guest article]


In order to ship hazardous materials, a form must be offered, certifying the cargo has been appropriately declared and in directive with IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations. IATA DG (Dangerous Goods) regulations imply interchangeability between individuals (freight forwarders, agents, consolidators) and shippers, if and only if the aforementioned is employed directly by the consignor and thus acting on their behalf. Because the DGD can be a tedious process, shippers are within their rights to pass declaration responsibilities on to their logistics partner. Even still, some freight forwarders choose to forgo any unforeseeable liability assumed with signing the DGD and issue a company policy disclaimer relieving them of these specific declaration responsibilities. This requires freight forwarders to outsource to third parties to prepare the Shippers Declaration. These organizations typically do not get a direct visual of shipment packaging, causing assumed confusion. Oftentimes this results in clerical errors, miscommunications, and ultimately misdeclarations. These very scenarios are inevitable precedents for continuing discussion around automation.


Like many entities within the logistics industry, so too the DGD has the ability to evolve and accommodate the impending digital appropriation. The Electronic Dangerous Goods Declaration (e-DGD) is a relatively new concept, unveiled earlier this year, created to expose ideologies and conversations around data sharing platforms. Conceptually, the data is accessible to the owner and made readily available to any other necessary parties. Aside from the obvious start-to-completion advantage of the electronic declaration, the condensed number of errors associated with human interface would be significant.


Ultimately, the shipper is responsible for signing a Dangerous Goods Declaration. At the very least, the shipper must see to it that their logistics partner is fully capable of handling such certifications. The documentation is vital to the movement of any hazardous cargo and includes the following information:


  • Shipper contact information

  • Air Waybill Number

  • Consignee contact information

  • Known or Unknown Shipper

  • Departure Airport

  • Destination Airport

  • Type of Shipment


Other items and information can be required. “The main purpose of the Dangerous Goods Declaration (DGD) is for the shipper to provide critical information to the aircraft operator or carrier in a format that is consistent throughout the transportation industry. This standard is part of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR).” [Robert Smith, Dangerous Goods / Hazmat via Shipping Solutions]


If you have any other questions regarding your shipment (hazardous or otherwise) or any other form of documentation, contact us HERE.

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