Shipping dangerous goods safely

Special legal requirements must be observed when shipping dangerous goods in particular. In addition to expert know-how, careful handling and compliance with dangerous goods regulations are particularly important. In addition, as the shipper, you are responsible for the classification, labelling and packaging of your dangerous goods depending on the transport.

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What are dangerous goods?

Dangerous goods are substances and objects which, due to their nature, may pose a risk to people and the environment during transport. This includes, for example, substances that are corrosive, toxic, explosive, flammable or radioactive. These are defined in the Dangerous Goods Ordinance and categorised into nine dangerous goods classes.

Please note that many everyday items are also considered dangerous goods, such as aerosols or lithium batteries. If you are not sure whether your shipment contains dangerous goods, ask the manufacturer or supplier for the safety data sheet.

Advantages of our multi-carrier shipping platform

With LetMeShip you have everything in one system — from the special shipping enquiry to the shipping archive.

  • Reliable dangerous goods transport at fair conditions
  • Personal support from our specialised shipping experts
  • Control and transparency of all shipments with Track & Trace
  • A clear collective invoice for all service providers


As a shipper, you are legally obliged to identify, classify, pack, mark, label and document your dangerous goods accordingly for the transport of dangerous goods. All your dangerous goods must be labelled with at least a name, UN number and the appropriate transport document in accordance with the transport regulations (such as ADR, IATA, IMO, etc.). If you have any questions, please contact the dangerous goods officer in your company or an external dangerous goods service provider. They will ensure that you comply with all regulations regarding the transport of your dangerous goods so that your sensitive goods reach the recipient safely.


The type of dangerous goods in the consignment can be recognised immediately by the diamond-shaped labelling. As the sender, you are responsible for correctly labelling your dangerous goods with the diamond-shaped labels. You can either download them directly online or order large quantities online from a specialist retailer.

That’s all you need to do. You will automatically receive the labels required for the transport when you book your dangerous goods transport. If you have any questions, please contact our team.


You often don’t realise it, but many everyday items such as rechargeable batteries, batteries, paints and varnishes are also considered hazardous goods and are therefore subject to strict transport regulations.


Due to their high energy density, lithium batteries and lithium-ion rechargeable batteries can be found in many consumer goods, such as pacemakers, watches, cameras, mobile phones and notebooks. In the course of e-mobility, the demand for shipping lithium batteries and rechargeable batteries for installation in electric vehicles and e-bikes has also increased enormously.

Although lithium is very suitable for the production of batteries and accumulators, it is not entirely safe to handle and transport. It reacts with many substances, such as water. If handled or transported improperly, lithium batteries tend to overheat and the strong heat development can cause fires. Lithium batteries and rechargeable batteries belong to dangerous goods class 9, the class of substances that could be hazardous during transport.


In 2020, a total of 4 billion tonnes of goods were transported in Germany, of which around 222 million tonnes were chemicals. Around 40% of the chemical products transported are hazardous goods.
Chemicals can be assigned to different dangerous goods classes, depending on whether they are explosive, flammable, toxic or corrosive substances. Dangerous goods in the chemical industry include acids, alkalis, flammable paints/lacquers and gases. The shipping of paints and varnishes is very frequently requested by our customers. However, products from other sectors also fall under the dangerous goods regulations, such as petrol, diesel or heating oil.

Chemical products are transported in Germany in several ways: 137 million tonnes by truck, 25 million tonnes by rail, 22 million tonnes by sea, and 16.5 million tonnes in pipelines. (Source: Federal Statistical Office, VCI)
As a rule, national and international dangerous goods are largely transported by road or rail, as sending dangerous goods by air freight is subject to many conditions.


Do you want to ship dangerous goods safely and in accordance with regulations? Then LetMeShip is the right place for you. We’ll help you find the best provider for your dangerous goods transport, regardless of whether it’s national or international. With us, you always have full price-performance transparency and a personal shipping expert at your side.

Simply create a free customer account and submit an enquiry for your dangerous goods shipment in our shipping portal via the “Special shipping” tab. Depending on your requirements, we ship with reliable shipping service providers such as UPS, DHL and FedEx.


Questions & answers about shipping dangerous goods

In the context of public transport, dangerous goods are substances, preparations (mixtures, blends, liquids) and objects containing substances which, due to their nature, physical or chemical properties or condition, may pose certain hazards during transport and which are classified as dangerous goods by law.

These are, for example, dangers to:

  • public safety or order
  • important common goods
  • Life and health of people, animals and property

There are many everyday objects that are categorised as dangerous goods. For example, perfume, aerosols or anything containing lithium batteries.

Dangerous goods are categorised into nine dangerous goods classes based on the type of hazard. Some of these are further subdivided into subclasses. An illustration of the dangerous goods labels to be used for labelling the hazard and a brief description of the classes and subclasses can be found online.

If you see one of the following labels on the items you are sending, they may be dangerous goods. In this case, it is best to enquire with the manufacturer or supplier for further information.

When labelling dangerous goods, a basic distinction is made between the labels for labelling as dangerous goods – the diamond-shaped labels – and the labels for the actual transport. If your hazardous goods do not yet have a diamond-shaped label, you can easily download one online, print it out and attach it yourself. You can also order ready-made labels online from a specialist retailer.

You will automatically receive the labels for the actual transport of dangerous goods by e-mail when you make your booking.

It is best to ask the manufacturer or supplier for the safety data sheet. Under point 14 – Information on transport – this provides information on whether the substance is to be categorised as dangerous goods.

It is the shipper’s responsibility to ensure that the dangerous goods are correctly declared, packaged and labelled and, if necessary, accompanied by correctly completed transport documents. If you have any questions or uncertainties, please contact our Customer Service – we will be happy to help you fulfil the legal requirements.

To receive a quote for your dangerous goods shipment, please submit a special shipping enquiry in the logged-in area of our shipping portal or contact our Customer Service directly: +49 40 734 4566 33 / vertrieb@letmeship.com.

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Lithium batteries are modern energy storage devices that help us stay connected. Laptops and smartphones work with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Watches and car keys are powered by non-rechargeable metal-lithium batteries.

Why are they dangerous goods?
Due to their high energy density, lithium batteries are high-performance energy sources. They operate electronic devices with high efficiency over a long period of time. If they are damaged or short-circuited during transport, these batteries can overheat and catch fire. Lithium fires develop intense heat and are very difficult to extinguish using conventional means. Low-quality batteries are considered to be particularly susceptible as they have often not been subjected to the statutory testing routines.

In principle, lithium batteries are always subject to dangerous goods legislation, but under certain circumstances they can be transported under simplified conditions as so-called exempted lithium batteries”.

  • Lithium batteries without device (stand-alone) = fully declarable
  • Lithium batteries packed with device = subject to full declaration, “simplified handling”
  • Lithium batteries installed in the device = not subject to declaration, “simplified handling”

Hazardous goods packaging is made of different materials, rigid or flexible and with different volumes and closure devices, which are manufactured to contain hazardous substances and articles. According to Article 35(1) of the CLP Regulation, the packaging must be designed in such a way that it is not damaged by the contents and that the contents cannot leak out.

However, if unsuitable packaging is selected or goods are packed together that could react dangerously with each other, there is a high risk for the driver and others involved in the transport.

You can often order packaging for your dangerous goods directly from the shipping service provider’s website or from a specialist retailer.


Packaging groups for dangerous goods at a glance:

Dangerous goods can generally be assigned to three packaging groups. These groups stand for

I = high hazard
II = medium hazard
III = low hazard

Similarly, dangerous goods packaging is also subdivided into three groups and assigned the performance letters X, Y and Z. These performance letters stand for

X = high hazard
Y = medium hazard
Z = low hazard