Just Because You Want to Ship It, Does Not Mean They Have to Accept It


By: Kirsten Alcock, Manager of Product Safety, email

One of the most unique and interesting things I find about the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Regulations is the State and Operator Variations. If you are not trained in IATA and you want to ship by air, you’ll need training in their regulations. Although all the modes of transportation appear to be the same, they are not.  There are so many nuances between them which can have a huge impact on not only what you ship, but where you ship to and whom you ship with.

States and operators are permitted to submit variations to the regulations. These variations can be found under 2.8.2 and 2.8.4.   Please note however that these can change and the shipper is advised to check with the appropriate state  and operator should there be any further changes from when the latest IATA regulations were published.

Let’s look at State Variations first.  State Variations are identified by a three-letter group. The last letter is always “G” (Government), followed by a two-digit group in numerical sequence.  Currently there are 52 State Variations listed in the Edition 61.

Canada for example is CAG.

If you go to page 42 of the current regulations, you can see all the ‘State’ regulations for Canada listed here. Currently, there are 12 specific state variations listed in the regulations.  These extra requirements can range from the necessity for information on infectious substances affecting animals to the format on the Dangerous Goods Transport Document such as the red hatchings on the left and right margins.  If you are shipping any dangerous goods by air here in Canada, you are required to look at these state variations BEFORE you ship.

Operator Variations refer to the criteria for the airline you plan to use. The variations are submitted to IATA for inclusion into the Dangerous Goods Regulations. Operator variations are identified by two alphanumeric characters followed by a two-digit group in numerical sequence.  The list is very extensive so first you’ll need to determine which airline you are going to ship with and if they will take your package as well.

Let’s again look into Canada as that is where I am located. Not only are there requirements for Air Canada, there are requirements for Air Canada Rouge.  The requirements for AC (Air Canada) start on page 78 of the regulations whereas those for RV (Air Canada Rouge) start on 136. There are only 8 at this point in time.  You will need to look through all of these if you plan on using Air Canada as your mode of transport for shipping.

Lastly, on top of all this there are requirements for passenger versus cargo aircraft. Some chemicals are forbidden for transport by air.  Like I said earlier, just because you’d like to ship it, that does not mean the airline will accept it. When this happens, you’ll have to look into the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code to see if they have restrictions as well.

Contact us at Dell Tech. We can advise if you can ship your product by air and what the requirements may be for your location and airline. Our in-house experts have the knowledge to help you comply with the current regulations.

Don’t hesitate and contact us today.

Dell Tech
Kirsten Alcock, B.Sc. (Hons) 
Manager, Product Safety Group

Dell Tech has provided professional, confidential consulting services to the chemical specialty industry in Canada, the USA, Europe, and Asia for the last 40 years.

Contact us today for more information.


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