International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code

The International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code was developed as a uniform international code for the transport of dangerous goods by sea covering such matters as packing, container traffic and stowage, with particular reference to the segregation of incompatible substances.

Amendments to the provisions of the United Nations Recommendations are made on a two yearly cycle and approximately two years after their adoption, they are adopted by the authorities responsible for regulating the various transport modes. In that way a basic set of requirements applicable to all modes of transport is established and implemented, thus ensuring that difficulties are not encountered at inter-modal interfaces.

Legal requirements

The International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code contains a requirement for the training of all shore side staff involved with the shipping of dangerous goods consignments.

 Use of Code

Although, the information prescribed in the IMDG Code is primarily directed at the shipper, the rules may affect industries and services from the manufacturer to the consumer. Manufacturers, packers and shippers are guided by the code on terminology, packaging and labelling, which will be covered in the course.

Regardless of the type and size, ships carrying  hazardous substances or substances classified as being marine pollutants are subject to the provisions of the IMDG Code.


Consignors of Dangerous Goods by sea must understand the IMDG Code and ensure that all procedures of the shipping line are followed.

Any person who presents or carries dangerous goods by sea must ensure that they comply with the IMDG Code, failure can result ships and the lives of their crew at risk. There is also the risk of prosecution by the maritime authorities and or private prosecution, the fines can be very hefty as well as the loss of cargo.

Understanding what information is required, and why, means that there should not be any problems. As shipping lines cannot and will not accept non-compliance of the Code, as it puts lives, vessels and cargo at risk, with the shipper also risking prosecution by enforcement agencies.

Course Content 

The two-day course gives delegates a working knowledge of the practical requirements of the Code covering:

a) Classification

b) Packaging

c) Marking and labelling

d) Documentation

e) Container and vehicle packing

f) Vessel Stowage

This is designed for those who may be directly responsible for the practical details.

The outline Programme for the two-day course is:

Day 1

Part 1 – General & The UN System General layout of the Code

Part 2 – Classification

Part 3 – Dangerous Goods List, Special provisions, Limited and Excepted quantities, Marine Pollutants, Supplement

Part 4 – Packing and Tank provisions

Day 2

Part 5 – Consignment procedures

Part 6 – Construction and testing of Packaging, IBCs and UN Portable tanks

Part 7 – Transport operations

The course involves a thorough understanding of the nature of dangerous goods generally, how they are classified and identified under the United Nations system.

How the packaging is chosen for the particular material, using UN specified packaging in almost every case, and how the packages are marked and labelled. Finally, how the consignment must be accompanied by a Shippers Declaration, which describes the dangerous goods and certifies that they have been prepared in accordance with the IMDG Code.

The study is based mostly on the text of the Regulations themselves. Each student will be supplied with a copy of the current Regulations to work from.

There are written exercises at the end of each section.

The course is intensive, and students must be prepared to carry out additional revision work overnight.

There is a written examination at the end of the course using the Code.