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Hazardous Materials Service Definition

UPS accepts hazardous materials on a contract basis only.  UPS accepts non-bulk quantities of hazardous materials shipments for transport by "highway and rail" or "air" modes when prepared in accordance with the Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) or as appropriate, regulations promulgated by International Civil Aviation Association (ICAO) and International Air Transport Association (IATA). Air modes include UPS Next Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 3 Select, and all shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Catalina Island. This UPS Guide for Shipping Ground and Air Hazardous Materials should always be used in conjunction with the most current HMR as documented in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR) and in the most current versions of regulations promulgated by ICAO and IATA.

You, as the shipper, may ship specific hazardous materials in specific quantities as outlined in the UPS Hazardous Material chemical tables as long as you fully comply with all governmental regulations and UPS variations.

In some cases, UPS requirements are more restrictive than those of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). UPS "conditions incident to transportation" differ from those of other systems due to our unique method for sorting, handling, and moving packages. UPS only accepts hazardous materials shipments from customers that follow these variations.

UPS transports hazardous materials only within and between the 50 United States and Puerto Rico. For information regarding shipping dangerous goods beyond the United States and Puerto Rico, please refer to the UPS Guide for Shipping International Dangerous Goods. Hazardous Materials Contract Service is available for customers with a Scheduled pickup account. Scheduled pickup service includes Daily Pickup, Daily On-Route Pickup, Day-Specific Pickup and UPS Smart Pickup®. You, as the shipper, must complete all requirements for the hazardous materials shipment before pickup. Contact your local UPS Business Development Department for qualification and approval information. 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. Ground shipments of ORM-D materials in the 48 contiguous States may be accepted at some locations.

The hazardous materials service handling charge applies to all hazardous materials / dangerous goods packages that require a shipping paper or Shipper's Declaration for Dangerous Goods.

Time-in-transit guarantees do not apply to hazardous materials packages that are delayed due to causes beyond the carrier's control or acts of God. Further, no guarantee applies to hazardous materials packages that are improperly offered for transport.

UPS Carrier Variations

Effective January 1, 2016, shipments of UN 3171, Battery-powered vehicle, will only be accepted under the following conditions:

  •  Passenger aircraft quantities only, not accepted as CAO.
  •  Shipment is limited to a maximum gross weight of 30kg.
  •  Vehicle containing lithium battery or batteries therein that would separately be classified as UN 3480 or UN 3090. The battery contained in the vehicle is limited to 5kg maximum net weight.
  •  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.
  •  Vehicle containing a wet, non-spillable battery or batteries therein that would separately be classified as UN 2800. The battery contained in the vehicle is limited to 25kg maximum net weight. 

Shipments of UN3171, Battery-powered vehicle, containing defective or damaged batteries are not accepted by UPS.   

Effective July 1, 2015 UPS will only accept for air transportation, UN3090 Lithium Metal Batteries or Cells from approved shippers. To learn how to apply for approval, visit http://www.ups.com/content/us/en/resources/ship/hazardous/responsible/lithium-battery-preapproval.html. In addition to the approval, UPS requires the Cargo Aircraft Only (CAO) Handling Label on all air shipments of UN3090 Lithium Metal Batteries or Cells.

All hazardous materials shippers must process their shipments using a UPS compliant shipping solution in conjunction with hazardous materials shipment preparation software. You may utilize 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 will not accept recycled UN3268 materials in the small parcel Air system.

Class 5.2 hazardous materials (Organic Peroxides) are not accepted in any UPS Air Service. This applies to primary and subsidiary risk.

Hazardous materials shipments authorized for strong outer packaging that require a shipping paper must be in outer packages at the following minimum levels (overpacks are excluded from this requirement):

  • All packages must meet the requirements of International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) Procedure 3A testing.
  • 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.
  • 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.

With the exception of shipments containing dry ice, hazardous materials packages must not exceed 70 lbs. gross weight. Lower limits apply to certain materials.

UPS does not accept certain hazardous materials in its Ground or Air Services. See the chemical table for details.

UPS will not accept the use of a "TOXIC" or "POISON" label on packages containing Division 6.1, Packing Group III materials. We require the use of a Division 6.1 label with "PG III" on the label and no other text. Alternatively, the marking “PG III” may appear immediately adjacent to the label.

UPS may restrict specific hazardous materials to a defined maximum outer package or inner receptacle capacity.

UPS accepts both "Passenger Aircraft" quantities (PAX) of hazardous materials and "Cargo Aircraft Only" (CAO) quantities offered for transport in UPS Air Services (refer to the most recent copy of the UPS Chemical Tables for additional requirements). This applies to the UPS small package network and excludes UPS Worldwide Express Freight (WWEF). All air shipments of Classes 4, 5.1 and 8 packing group (PG) III must be in packaging tested to PG II when they are in UN packaging.

The DOT´s exceptions for combustible liquids do not apply for any air shipments in the UPS system.

UPS does not permit the use of the exception (49 CFR 173.308) for cigarette lighters or similar devices. To be transported in the UPS system, these devices must be fully declared. They require shipping papers, proper packaging, marking, and labeling.

UPS requires shippers to affix an authorized UPS Shipping Paper or Shipper's Declaration (3 copies of the DG Dec required per package for domestic IATA shipments) to each hazardous material package and to complete an entry in the UPS Shipper's Certification of Hazardous Materials for each package. A hard copy of the Shipper's Certification must still be given to the UPS driver, even though you electronically submitted the data to UPS.

UPS requires that all packages, including hazardous materials, be capable of meeting the requirements of the ISTA Procedure 3A testing protocol, as well as the applicable specification and performance requirements of 49 CFR parts 173 and 178 or IATA Section 5.

UPS requires the proper shipping name and identification number (if one is assigned) be marked on all packages containing hazardous materials.

Hazardous materials may not be shipped in UPS-provided packaging, such as Letters, Paks (with the exception of Laboratory Paks), and Tubes.

UPS accepts only non-bulk packaging of hazardous materials not exceeding the manufacturer's specifications on the packaging.

Packages must not be banded, taped or strapped together.

Shippers must comply with DOT requirements for performance-oriented packaging unless a specific exception in the DOT rules applies. 

The following UPS limitations apply to shipments of hazardous materials offered in single packaging:

  • For Ground Service, single packaging may be offered in the 48 contiguous United States.
  • For shipments at an Air Service level, single packaging may be offered where authorized as Cargo Aircraft Only.
  • Single packaging prepared for ‘Passenger and Cargo Aircraft’ is not accepted. 
  • Bags and other single packaging constructed of light gauge metal will not be accepted.
  • Cylinders must be enclosed in rigid outer packaging to protect operating mechanisms. 
  • Additional handling charges may apply. 
  • Orientation arrows are not required on single packaging.

UPS requires the use of DOT special permit or 173.13 packaging for many materials, including:

  • All fully regulated Ground or Air shipments assigned to Division 6.1, PG I or II
  • All fully regulated Ground or Air shipments of Division 4.3 materials

    Note: 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.

Ground Limited Quantity shipments of Division 6.1 will not be accepted with a PG I or II, "TOXIC" or "POISON" hazard label. Ground Limited Quantity shipments of Division 4.3 will not be accepted with the "DANGEROUS WHEN WET" hazard label. See the UPS Chemical Table for specific materials. A copy of the DOT special permit paperwork must be placed in a re-sealable pouch on the package(s). UPS does not allow special permit packaging to be overpacked and overcartoned. Air and ground shipments of Division 6.1, PG III need to show the letters “PG III” on or next to the diamond hazard label.

Any non-specification package that displays the ISTA seal indicating the package has been tested and certified to ISTA Procedure 1A is not subject to the minimum ECT or burst strength requirements.

Ground Service 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.

UPS Ground service is available for shipping hazardous materials, including ORM-D and Limited Quantity shipments (prepared under HM-215K), within the contiguous U.S.

Air Hazardous Materials Service

Air service level packages include UPS Next Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air, and UPS 3 Day Select. UPS Air Hazardous Materials Services provide delivery of hazardous materials in passenger aircraft quantities to every address in the 48 contiguous states, Alaska, metropolitan areas of Hawaii, and Puerto Rico in both UPS Next Day Air and UPS 2nd Day Air Service. Pickup service is restricted in some areas of Alaska. Refer to the following table for more detail.

Approved Countries or Territories List