38th Amendment of the IMDG Code becomes mandatory in 2018

Are you up to date on the regulations for handling and transporting Dangerous Goods?

The IMDG Code or International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code is accepted as an international guideline to the safe transportation or shipment of dangerous goods or hazardous materials by water on vessel.  On January 1st, 2018 the new 38th amendment of the IMDG Code will become mandatory. Already applied on a voluntary basis since January 2017, the amendments are quite extensive and may require additional training of your employees in order to be in full compliance.

Since its inception in 1965, and being made mandatory from January 2004, the IMDG Code has been continuously updated and revised for technical and transportation requirements of specific substances in order to keep up with the rapid expansion in the number of new products and changes in the shipping industry as a whole.

The challenge actually starts way before the vessel leaves the port because the whole supply chain is compromised if the correct procedures are not followed right from the start.  The need for awareness and regular training of all involved parties is clear.  Refresher training on the new amendment every two years is highly recommended.

The latest revisions to the Code are contained in IMO Resolution MSC. 406 (96) as amendment 38-16 which was adopted on 13th May 2016.  Due to the large number of changes to the Code, the resolution incorporates the complete amended text of volumes 1 and 2 of the Code.  The 2014 Supplement to the Code has not been amended and continues to be valid.

Contracting governments may apply the new requirements, in part or in whole, on a voluntary basis from 1st January 2017. Mandatory compliance of the revised IMDG Code 2016 (38-16) will be required from 1st January 2018.

Some of the changes include:

  • More stringent controls for transportation of Lithium Batteries by way of new additional marking, labeling and special provisions.
  • The dangers of Polymerizing substances has been addressed by allotting them to Class 4.1 under new UN numbers.
  • Eight new United Nations (UN) numbers have been added (UN 3527 to UN 3534), covering polyester resin kits, polymerizing substances both solid and liquid, and engines and machinery.
  • The anomalies that existed in previous editions with respect to transport of vehicles and machinery have now been ironed out and streamlined for all persons using the code by allotting separate UN numbers
  • to them while differentiating them under different Classes in the DG List.
  • Several new packing instructions have been introduced. Various ISO standards have been newly incorporated into the applicable packing instructions for gases, provisions for design, construction and testing of UN pressure receptacles and multiple-element gas containers.
  • The introduction of 11 new special provisions.

 Mandatory training

Overall, the IMDG CODE 2016 Edition, amendment 38-16, is a document that underlines the principles of continuous improvement and shows the way to making the transportation of goods by sea ever safer and surer.

All persons involved or in any way connected with Dangerous Goods transportation by sea are required to undergo mandatory training according to Chapter 1.3 of the Code.

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