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International Forwarding Association Blog » Air freight in Europe » Regulations for Prohibited, Restricted, and Dangerous Goods and Shipping by Air
Shipping by Air

Regulations for Prohibited, Restricted, and Dangerous Goods and Shipping by Air

There are certain types of cargo and small shipments that are not allowed to enter most countries by air. The reasons can be different – political, economic, religious, or harmful to human health. Some items are restricted while others are prohibited. Below is an overview of the difference between prohibited and restricted items and examples of goods that cannot be shipped by air.

Restricted Goods

These are items that are subject to special treatment or inspection or you will need to obtain an import license to ship by air.

Prohibited Goods

Some restricted items are considered to be dangerous for passenger’s health and safety and the safety of the aircraft. Some items are prohibited by law and others by regulation. Examples of items prohibited by regulation include:

  • Explosives, including detonating fuses, firecrackers, and fireworks
  • Infectious and toxic items such as lithium batteries and pesticides
  • Gasses, including gas cartridges, dry ice, and compressed gas
  • Corrosive items, radioactive materials, and lab chemicals
  • Infectious and biochemical materials like bacillus anthracis

The list of items that are prohibited by law includes arms, explosives, detonators, and imitation ammunition and arms. Examples are also video products, promotional audio, magazines, and newspapers. Finally, you are now allowed to ship psychotropic and narcotic substances and deadly poisonous infectious materials of any kind.

Dangerous Goods

Some items are harmful to both, the environment and human health. These are called hazardous materials and dangerous goods and fall into several categories:

  • Oxidizing substances
  • Flammable solids
  • Flammable liquids
  • Gases
  • Explosives
  • Corrosives
  • Radioactive materials
  • Infectious and toxic substances
  • Other articles and substances

Flammable liquids, for example, include kerosine, petrol, and other liquids derived from petroleum. Their storage is subject to strict regulations. Corrosives are highly reactive materials that can be harmful to human health, including chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide, bromine, sulfuric acid, and amines. As these can harm various tissues and organs, shipping is subject to strict regulations.

Dangerous Goods Declaration

When shipping hazardous goods, importers are asked to fill a dangerous goods declaration, also called Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods. Each item must also be accompanied by an air waybill document. Shippers need to adhere to the size, color, language, and format of the document and provide information such as air waybill number, consignee, shipper name, and page of pages numbers. Additional details include:

  • Airport designation and departure
  • Aircraft limitations
  • Shipment type
  • Authorizations
  • Packing instructions
  • Type and number of packaging
  • Quantity and nature of dangerous goods
  • Name of signatory
  • Certification statement
  • Additional handling information
  • Date and signature

Freight forwarders are also asked to fill out the air waybill and information such as net quantity and number of packages, shipping name, ID and UN number, and handling information statement. Additionally, importers must indicate expected quantities and whether dry ice is used. They also need to properly label all packages, including handling and classification. For safe shipping, all labels must be clearly visible, adhered to the outside, printed on adhesive, and durable.