IMO publishes changes to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code


The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has published changes to The International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG Code) Amendment 39-18. 

Compliance with Amendment 39-18 is optional from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019 and the new amendments will become mandatory from 1 January 2020.

IMDG Code Supplement, 2018 Edition, containing several codes and guides related to the carriage of dangerous goods, such as the EmS Guide and MFAG, has been added. This edition replaces the previous 2014 edition.

The main changes related to Amendment 39-18 include:

  • The Amendment is now harmonised with the update to the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods Model Regulations 20th edition.
  • “Risks” has been changed to “hazards” throughout the text, and column 4 of the Dangerous Cargo List (DGL) now reads “subsidiary hazard(s)”.
  • New 2.0.6 and UN Numbers 3537 to 3548 covering 'Articles Containing Dangerous Goods' have been added.
  • Viscous liquids exemption in is now aligned with Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) and RID limit for packages of 30 Litres to 450 Litres.
  • Classification of corrosives chapter 2.8 has been updated and aligned with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) texts.
  • The subdivisions of class 9 are updated and Clarification in have been updated so only the more applicable Proper Shipping Name (PSN) is to be used when there are several distinct ones under the same UN Number.
  • The 18 segregation groups in have now been coded and included in column 16b of the DGL.
  • The stowage categories for several class 1 entries have been amended to facilitate the transport of large and robust articles.
  • Many substances in the DGL have now been assigned SG35, SG36 and/ or SG49 (stow separated from acids/ alkalis/ cyanides) to correct inconsistencies in the way segregation has been applied to some substances and not others. 
  • New entry for “Articles Containing Dangerous Goods” (UN 3537 to 3548) has been added as well as new entries for “Toxic Solid, Flammable, Inorganic, Not Otherwise Specified (N.O.S.) (UN 3535)” and “Lithium Batteries Installed in Cargo Transport Unit (UN 3536)”.
  • Several updates have been made to Special Provisions, packing instructions and a few new packing instructions have been added.
  • A new IMO tank type 9 is added to cater for road gas elements vehicles for the transport of compressed gases of class 2.
  • Chapter 5.3 is extended to cover bulk containers.
  • The Emergency Response Procedures for Ships Carrying Dangerous Goods (EmS) guide has been updated and revised to reflect new assignments in column 15 of the DGL.

Members are urged to familiarise themselves with the 2018 IMDG Code and its 2018 Supplement in ample time before entering into force and in case the edition is applied voluntary between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019.

Additonal information


Peter Lundahl Rasmussen
in Copenhagen, DK


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