Transporting dangerous goods: a guide to ADR

Pubblished on: 21 November 2022
Category: About shipping

In the shipping business, ADR is the abbreviation of the French “Accord européen relatif au transport international des marchandises dangereuses par route”, an EU treaty signed in 1957 with the aim of establishing consistent regulations for the transport of hazardous material across country borders.

The abbreviation, which translates as “The European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road”, is derived from French because English was not established as an official language of the EU until later.

Let us have a closer look at ADR regulations and what they mean for your business.

History and layout of ADR

The rules contained in the treaty today are not the same as they were when the agreement was first signed: the constant revisions and amendments demonstrate the need to work harder and harder to ensure the safety of the driver and anyone else involved in the carrying of dangerous goods across European nations.

Throughout history, more countries have joined the treaty even outside of Europe, with members in Northern Africa and Central Asia for a total of 48 signers as of 2017.

The core of the latest edition of ADR, which was implemented in 2021, is concerned mainly with a few key aspects:

Classification and listing of which goods are considered dangerous under ADR regulations

Rules for safe packaging and labeling of dangerous goods for transport

Rules for the construction, equipment and operation of the vehicle used for transporting dangerous goods.

The rules of ADR

Every driver who transports dangerous goods requires a license with a validity of five years, which must be renewed by attending a refresher course. Starting from 1st January 2023, if your company is in the business of transporting hazardous material on a regular basis, it must employ at least one dangerous goods safety advisor.

All trucks transporting dangerous goods must be equipped with hinged orange hazard signs, a helmet and protective goggles, and two fire extinguishers to ensure that other drivers on the road are aware of the nature of the goods and that dangerous cargo is always handled safely.

The focus on fire and chemical hazards is easily explained by having a closer look at the hazard classes established by ADR, which all come with different pictograms to indicate at a glance what kind of risk the cargo represents.

But what categories of products are considered hazardous? Examples of goods to which ADR regulations are applicable include, but are not limited to, explosive or flammable substances, substances prone to spontaneous combustion, gases in all forms, toxic or infectious substances, radioactive or corrosive material.

Given this list, it stands to reason that drivers and handlers of cargo that is regulated under ADR should receive fire and chemical safety training before hitting the road.

If these regulations affect your business, we at Global Shipping will be glad to help you navigate the practical concerns that come with moving dangerous goods.

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