There are a great many categories of cargo which are regarded as hazardous for one reason or another. These include: explosive, flammable, corrosive, noxious,
poisonous, radioactive and irritative substances, commodities which emit poisonous vapour and are dangerous when wet, bio-medical material, substances liable
to spontaneous combustion, pressurized gasses and magnetized metal.
The quantity and type of cargo involved, and the exact nature of the hazard and of the manner of protection and packing must be fully declared by the shipper
at the time of booking space on the ship or aircraft.
The bill of lading or airway bill must bear a full written disclosure. Any failure on the part of the supplier to make full disclosure of all the relevant details
may have serious consequences not only for the supplier but also for the importer.
Packing and Labelling
Minimum standards of packing are laid down by the inter-governmental Maritime organization (IMO) for all hazardous cargo and these must be strictly observed.
These standards are very detailed and the publication in which they may be found consists of thirteen volumes of just over then thousand pages. The importer of
hazardous cargo is advised to consult very closely not only with his supplier but also with the responsible officials of the shipping company or airline which he
proposes to use, so as to obtain proper advice concerning the packing and the form of declaration necessary for the goods being imported.