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International Forwarding Association Blog » Specialized transportation » EU Regulations regarding the Carriage of Dangerous Goods

EU Regulations regarding the Carriage of Dangerous Goods

Directive 2008/68/EC on the inland transport of dangerous goods governs the shipping of cargo by inland waterways, rail, and road. European logistics companies must comply with the directive’s provisions to meet the safety criteria for international and domestic shipments.


The directive includes provisions regarding labelling, requirements for tank-containers, restrictions on grounds of safety, and third countries. The shipping of hazardous cargo between third countries and EU Member States is permitted subject to the provisions of ADN, RID, and ADR, concerning the movement of dangerous cargo by inland waterways, rail, and road, respectively. When it comes to restrictions on grounds of safety, more stringent provisions may be enforced by Member States to ensure safety. Construction requirements are the only exception.

The use of tank-containers is permitted subject to the criteria for equipment, construction, and authorization of the operation, labelling, tests, and construction model. Regarding labelling, a danger label must be displayed on both sides of tank-containers.


The provisions under the directive do not apply to the shipping of hazardous goods when carried by vessels, wagons, or vehicles owned or operated by the armed forces. Ships sailing at sea are also excluded when transporting goods in maritime waterways that are part of inland waterways. The same applies to cargo moved within an enclosed perimeter and ferries that are not to be calling at harbors or are crossing an inland waterway.

National Safety Provisions

Specific safety provisions may be enforced by Member States regarding the shipping of hazardous cargo by inland waterway vessels, wagons, or vehicles. Such provisions apply when not covered by the directive.

Other Directives and Regulations

ADR concerns the shipping of hazardous cargo by road, including the labelling and packaging requirements and the requirements for the operation, equipment, and construction of vehicles. The directive covers consignment procedures, tank and packing provisions, classification, and requirements for processing, unloading, loading, and transportation. The directive also contains provisions on the requirements for testing and manufacturing of bulk containers, tanks, large packagings, intermediate bulk containers, and packagings. Finally, ADR includes provisions on vehicle documentation, operation, equipment, and crews.

ADN concerns the transportation of cargo by inland waterways and includes provisions on the carriage of hazardous items and substances in bulk and in packages. The agreement also covers the operation and building of tank and navigation vessels and their inland navigation. There are also procedures and requirements for the examination and training of experts, monitoring, certificates of approval, and inspections.

Finally, RID governs the shipping of dangerous cargo by rail, including transport documents and documents kept on board, stowage and handling, danger labelling and marking, and classification of hazardous goods. The regulation also contains provisions on the extension, renewal, and validity of certificates, classification of mixtures, solutions, and other substances, and classification of samples. When samples of energetic materials are taken for the purpose of testing, they must not contain substances used to manufacture explosives as well as known explosives.