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Hazardous Materials Service Definition

UPS accepts hazardous materials on a contract basis only, servicing the U.S. and specific locations outside the U.S. Within the U.S. and Puerto Rico, UPS accepts non-bulk quantities of hazardous materials for transport by highway and rail, or air modes when prepared in accordance with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). UPS also accepts air shipments in accordance with regulations issued by International Civil Aviation Association (ICAO) and published as the Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). For the purposes of regulatory compliance, U.S. air service levels include UPS Next Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 3 Day Select, within the U.S. and International Express and Expedited Services internationally. This UPS Guide for Shipping Ground and Air Hazardous Materials should always be used in conjunction with the most current version of the HMR in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR), and the most current version of the IATA DGR. Shippers must also comply with the UPS Tariff Terms & Conditions.

The shipper may ship hazardous materials identified in the UPS Hazardous Material Chemical Tables in compliance with all applicable DOT and/or IATA regulations, as well as the specific UPS Limitations identified within this Guide for Shipping Ground and Air Hazardous Materials. Details on requirements for shipments with an origin or destination outside the U.S. are available through the Shipping Dangerous Goods Globally.

In some cases, UPS requirements are more restrictive than those of the DOT and IATA. UPS’s “conditions incident to transportation” may differ from those of other carriers’ systems due to the distinct UPS methods for sorting, handling, and moving packages. Accordingly, UPS expects all shipments to be capable of passing the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) Procedure 3A.

Hazardous Materials Contract service is available for customers with a Scheduled pickup account. Scheduled pickup includes Daily Pickup, On-Route Pickup and UPS Smart Pickup. The shipper must complete all requirements for a hazardous materials shipment before pickup.  For more information, shippers should contact their local UPS Business Development Department.

A hazardous materials service handling charge applied to all hazardous materials / dangerous goods packages that require a shipping paper or Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods. UPS does not accept hazardous materials shipments at UPS Customer Centers, The UPS Store, Air Letter Centers, Authorized Shipping Outlets, commercial counters, or using Internet Shipping. U.S. Ground Service level shipments of Limited Quantity or ORM-D materials in the 48 contiguous states may be accepted at some locations.

Time-in-transit guarantees do apply to hazardous material packages.

View UPS Guide for Shipping International Dangerous Goods

UPS Variations

General:

  • All hazardous materials shippers must process their shipments using a UPS-compliant shipping solution in conjunction with hazardous materials shipment preparation software. Shippers may use the current version of UPS-provided WorldShip in order to be compliant with existing regulatory requirements, or purchase approved third-party software. Customers who do not comply with regulations or UPS variations may no longer be able to ship hazardous materials packages via UPS.
  • UPS accepts both "Passenger Aircraft" quantities (PAX) of hazardous materials and "Cargo Aircraft Only" (CAO) quantities offered for transport in UPS Air Service levels. Refer to the most recent copy of the UPS Chemical Tables for additional requirements.  CAO shipments of materials outside of Class 9 require a specific, additional contract agreement.
  • UPS World Wide Express Freight (WWEF) service accepts “Passenger Aircraft” quantities (PAX) and Class 9 commodities prepared under “Cargo Aircraft Only” (CAO). Refer to the most recent copy of the UPS Chemical Tables for accepted commodities. This service requires a specific, additional contract agreement. Please contact your UPS Business Development representative for support.
  • For each hazardous materials package, UPS requires shippers to affix an authorized UPS Shipping Paper or Shipper's Declaration (for IATA shipments, three copies of the DG Dec are required) to each package, and to complete an entry in the UPS Shipper's Certification of Hazardous Materials (end of day manifest for hazardous materials). Each UPS driver receiving hazardous materials must also receive a hard copy of the Shipper's Certification representing those hazardous materials shipments. The transfer of electronic data about the hazardous materials shipments does not replace the UPS Shipper’s Certification of Hazardous Materials.
  • Fully regulated hazardous materials packages in domestic U.S. service must not exceed 70 lbs. gross weight. Shipments with origin or destination outside the U.S. must not exceed 30 kg gross weight. The UPS Chemical Tables may apply lower package limits in some circumstances.
  • To conform to DOT standards, the “Emergency Contact Number” field on a shipping paper is limited to the numeric telephone number, including any applicable country code or international access codes. The only alphabetical characters allowed in this field are “EXT” when an extension must be included, or “OPT” when a caller must select an option number.  Additional non-alphabetical characters that may be included are:  period (.), dash (-), plus sign (+) and conventional parentheses.  All other information relevant to the emergency telephone number must be presented in the “ER Registrant” field.

Mode-Specific Requirements:

  • For the purposes of regulatory compliance within the U.S., air service levels eligible for dangerous goods include all UPS Next Day Air services, all UPS 2nd Day Air services, and UPS 3 Select service. Air service levels for export packages are UPS Express and UPS Expedited services.  Accordingly, all packages offered at these service levels must comply with applicable air regulations.
  • While hazardous materials service (including carriage of PAX quantities and Class 9 in CAO quantities) is offered by contract only, UPS requires a specific additional contract for acceptance of “cargo aircraft only” shipments outside of Class 9. Refer to the current UPS Chemical Tables for additional detailed requirements.
  • Pickup service for hazardous materials is restricted in some areas of Alaska and Hawaii. Delivery of hazardous materials is not possible in some areas of Hawaii. Delivery of CAO shipments is not possible in some areas of Alaska.  Refer to the Approved Countries or Territories List for more detail.
  • Ground Service level for Hazardous Materials, including ORM-D, Limited Quantity, combustible materials and Lithium Batteries (Fully and Lightly Regulated), is not available for shipments to or from the following areas: Alaska; Hawaii; Puerto Rico; Avalon, CA; Catalina Island, CA; Beaver Island, MI; Mackinac Island, MI (winter only); The Bass Islands, OH; Kelley's Island, OH; and San Juan Islands, WA. All non-hazardous Ground service level packages to or from these locations must be suitable for carriage aboard aircraft.
  • Cross-border Standard Service level to Canada is available for hazardous materials, utilizing a specially designed cross-border shipping paper for compliance with the Transport Canada requirements, including the display of the Canadian consignee’s address on the shipping paper. This information is mandatory under Canadian Transport Dangerous Goods (TDG) regulations. Refer to the current UPS Chemical Tables for additional details about commodities eligible for this cross-border service.
  • Cross-border shipments of Consumer commodity, ORM-D, and many Limited Quantity materials are allowed to many destinations in Canada and Mexico. However, shippers should consult applicable regulations in each country for more details on the applicability of the respective regulations. 
    • Note, however, that cross-border shipments of Consumer commodity, ORM-D and any Limited Quantity materials are not accepted to Canadian destinations for which the postal codes begin with the letters “X” or “Y.”

Class-Specific or Commodity-Specific Limitations:

  • For cigarette lighters or similar devices, UPS does not permit the use of the exception stated in 49 CFR 173.308(e). To be transported in the UPS system, these devices must be fully declared, requiring shipping papers, proper packaging, marking, and labeling.
  • The DOT´s exceptions for combustible liquids, including those identified in 49 CFR 175.310, do not apply for any air service level shipments in the UPS system.
  • Ground service level shipments of Division 4.3 (Dangerous When Wet) prepared under Limited Quantity provisions will not be accepted with the "DANGEROUS WHEN WET" hazard label.
  • Materials in Division 5.2 (Organic Peroxides) are not accepted in any UPS air service level.
  • For many materials, UPS requires the use of appropriate DOT special permit packages or packaging complying with 49 CFR 173.13. Affected classes are:
    • All fully regulated shipments assigned to P.G. I or II of Division 6.1 (Toxic Substances), when offered at air or ground service levels, and
    • All fully regulated shipments of Division 4.3 (Dangerous When Wet) materials, when offered at air or ground service levels.
  • Ground service level shipments assigned to Division 6.1 (Toxic Substances), prepared under Limited Quantity provisions, will not be accepted with "TOXIC" or "POISON" hazard label.
  • Air and ground service level shipments of Division 6.1 (Toxic Substances), PG III must be labeled in one of the following methods:
    • With the notation “PG III” appearing on the diamond hazard label in accordance with 49 CFR 172.405(c); or
    • With the notation “PG III” appearing immediately adjacent to a “TOXIC” or “POISON” label.
  • Air service level shipments of Division 6.2, Category A Infectious Substances are accepted upon completion of a contract dedicated to this particular class of material. UPS can accept Category A Infectious Substances only in U.S. domestic Next Day Air services.
  • UPS does not accept any shipments of materials described as Toxic Inhalation Hazard materials. See 49 CFR 171.8 for more details about such materials.
  • Air service level shipments of UN3090, Lithium metal batteries or cells can be accepted only from approved shippers. To apply for approval, visit . In addition to the approval, UPS requires the Cargo Aircraft Only (CAO) Handling Label on all air service level shipments of UN3090, Lithium Metal Batteries or Cells.
  • Air service level shipments of UN3480 (Lithium ion batteries) or UN 3090 (Lithium metal batteries) must be presented as fully regulated hazardous materials.
  • Air service level shipments of UN3171 (Battery-powered vehicle) will only be accepted under the following conditions:
    • Restricted to PAX quantities only, not accepted as CAO.
    • Each package is limited to a maximum gross weight of 30kg.
    • For a vehicle containing one or more lithium batteries that would separately be classified as UN3480 (Lithium ion battery) or UN 3090 (lithium metal battery), the battery or batteries contained in the vehicle are limited to 5kg maximum net weight per package.
    • For shipments of UN3171 powered by lithium batteries, UPS requires the additional marking, "Contains Lithium Batteries." The marking must meet the requirements as stated in 49 CFR 172.301(a)(1) and be near the proper shipping name.
    • For shipments of UN3171 containing one or more wet, non-spillable batteries that would separately be classified as UN2800 (Battery, wet, non-spillable), the battery or batteries contained in the vehicle are limited to 25kg maximum net weight per package.
  • Damaged, Defective, or Recalled (DDR) Lithium Batteries are prohibited from air service level shipments. This includes batteries shipped alone, packed with the equipment, contained in equipment, or battery powered vehicles (UN3171). UPS ground service of DDR lithium batteries is offered in the contiguous 48 U.S. only; this service requires a specialized service agreement and shipper pre-approval. Please contact your UPS Business Development representative for support.

Packaging:

  • UPS requires that all packages, including those containing hazardous materials, be capable of meeting the requirements of the ISTA Procedure 3A testing protocol. Hazardous materials packages must also satisfy applicable specification and performance requirements of 49 CFR parts 173 and 178, or IATA Section 5.
  • Hazardous materials may not be shipped in UPS-provided packaging, such as Letters, Boxes, Paks and Tubes.
    • Dedicated UPS Paks are available to use as overpacks for UN3373 (Biological substances, category B) and for Exempt human or animal specimens.
  • Packages containing hazardous materials must not be banded, taped or strapped together.
  • For many materials, UPS requires the use of appropriate DOT special permit packages or packaging complying with 49 CFR 173.13. Affected classes are:
    • All fully regulated shipments assigned to Division 6.1 (Toxic Substances - PG I or II), when offered at air or ground service levels, and
    • All fully regulated shipments of Division 4.3 (Dangerous When Wet) materials, when offered at air or ground service levels.
  • To avoid confusion about the type of packaging used for fully regulated shipments of Division 4.3 (Dangerous When Wet) or 6.1 (Toxic Substances - P.G. I or II), UPS does not allow these packages to be overpacked.
  • Hazardous materials shipments authorized for strong (i.e., non-specification) outer packaging that require a shipping paper must be in outer packages at the following minimum levels (overpacks are excluded from this requirement):
    • Packages must be in a minimum 200 lbs. Burst Strength or 32 Edge Crush Test (ECT) certified box. The box must also be of sufficient strength to protect the contents while in transit; or
    • Any non-specification package that displays the ISTA seal indicating the package has been tested and certified to ISTA Procedure 3A is not subject to the minimum ECT or burst strength requirements.
  • Hazardous materials may be offered in authorized single packaging, subject to the following conditions:
    • May be offered for ground service level only in the 48 contiguous States.
    • May be offered for air service level only as Cargo Aircraft Only (CAO) shipments. (Applies to commodities other than Dry Ice.)
    • Bags and other single packagings constructed of light gauge metal will not be accepted.
    • Orientation arrows not required on single packagings.
    • Additional handling charges may apply.

Note:  Cylinders must be overpacked in a container of suitable strength to retain its shape and protect operating mechanisms.  Round tubes or overpacks are not accepted.

If you have any questions about shipping hazardous materials with UPS, please call the Hazardous Materials Support Center at 1-800-554-9964.