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How to ship hazardous materials over long distances
February 15, 2022

Shipping hazardous materials (HAZMAT) involves risks that need to be properly managed. That’s why this sector is one of the most complicated and heavily regulated in the shipping industry.

Transporting, handling, or storing hazmat carelessly can result in serious damage to people, property, and even the environment.

At CARGOpak Corp., we understand the business of shipping dangerous goods safely, and in full compliance with industry regulations. Here’s what you need to know about how to ship hazmat over long distances.

What constitutes a hazardous material

When you think of hazmat products, you might be picturing items like nuclear waste and toxic chemicals. While those are most definitely on the list, hazardous materials also encompass some everyday items, such as nail polish, hair spray, batteries, rubbing alcohol, E-cigarettes, and more.

These products are classified as hazmat because handling, storing, or shipping them improperly can result in breaks and spills that may cause damage or result in injury. There’s also the risk that they can come in contact with another substance and constitute an even bigger hazard.

How to ship hazmat

1. Classify the hazardous material

When shipping hazmat goods, you will be provided with a Safety Data Sheet (SDS). This document will contain important details regarding the item you want to ship. For instance, the SDS details whether the product is classified as hazardous, its class of hazardous goods, handling guidelines, packaging requirements, and so on.

2. Get a hazmat shipping certification

Many shipping regulators, including the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT), require parties involved in shipping hazmat products to have special training. This is so that they know how to properly handle, package, and label dangerous goods for safe shipping.

Even hazmat employees who may just be involved on a peripheral level (warehouse workers, delivery drivers, etc), may still need to undergo general awareness or dangerous goods recognition training.

At CARGOpak Corp., we offer various types of training and certification courses for everyone classified as a hazmat employee. These include the people — handling the dangerous goods, preparing them for shipment, transporting them, and delivering them to the end-user.

From live webinars to on-site training programs, we can help you stay compliant with hazmat shipping certification requirements.

3. Determine the right packaging for the hazardous product

Different classes of dangerous goods require specialized types of packaging. For example, the way you would package a dry hazmat product is not the same way you would package a large liquid product. It’s important to choose the right packaging as it is integral to the safety of everyone that comes in contact with it.


If you’re not sure what packaging to use, consult a hazmat shipping consultant. You can’t afford to take chances here, and it’s always best to let an expert guide you through any confusing areas.

4. Label the package appropriately

The package must bear the correct labeling information. This includes details on what orientation the package should be in during transportation, whether to keep the package away from heat, safety information, and so on.

5. Prepare the shipping papers

Also known as the shipper’s declaration, these documents contain important information about the product being shipped. Without these details, your package will most certainly be held up or rejected outright. Examples of such details include proper shipping name, hazard class, UN identification number, product quantity, and shipper’s certification.

6. Contact the appropriate shipping agency

Many carriers, including FedEx, UPS, and DHL offer shipping options for hazmat items. Each agency has its own set of shipping guidelines. Make sure you are well-acquainted with these requirements before handing them your package.

Save time with a shipping consultant

Shipping dangerous goods can be a complicated process. Plus, the penalties for getting it wrong are severe. A shipping consultant can help you avoid the usual headaches by providing you with a more streamlined approach.

For over 25 years, CARGOpak Corp. has provided professional consulting and training services in the hazmat shipping niche. Our training programs are tailored to meet specific requirements. We also offer expert advice on various aspects of hazardous goods shipping, including guidance on shipping COVID-19 related items, such as test kits, hand sanitizers, and face masks.

Fill out our needs assessment form to get started

Our needs assessment form helps us understand your needs better and enables us to customize our training/consulting service accordingly. Fill it out today and let’s get started. You can also reach us by calling (919) 217-7636 or via email at

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