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Depending on the type commodities your small or medium-sized business produces, your shipment may require special shipping needs or be classified as a potentially hazardous item. Shipping hazardous items is no easy task. You may be surprised to learn how different it is to ship hazardous items compared to shipping other ordinary pieces of freight. We’re going to break it down and provide insight about what you need to know when it comes to shipping hazardous items.

Classifying Hazardous Items

The biggest difference between shipping hazardous items and other kinds of freight is how it is defined and classified. There are essentially two steps of “classification” for hazardous shipments. That includes classifying the type of hazardous shipment and its freight class. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has specific regulations for shipping hazardous items. They classify hazardous shipments by 9 classes:

  • Class 1: Explosives
  • Class 2: Gases
  • Class 3: Flammable and Combustible Liquids
  • Class 4: Flammable Solids
  • Class 5: Oxidizing Substances, Organic Peroxides
  • Class 6: Toxic Substances and Infectious Substances
  • Class 7: Radioactive Materials
  • Class 8: Corrosives
  • Class 9: Miscellaneous Hazardous Materials

Most of these classes also contain class divisions for more specific items and the DOT also provides a Hazardous Materials Markings, Labeling and Placarding Guide for the packaging processes.

Getting freight class right is another vital step in shipping hazardous items. Freight class is a classification system for commodities to establish unbiased pricing. Getting in touch with a professional shipping agent to accurately classify your freight shipments or using our freight class calculator are the two best things you can do to get the right freight class. Using the wrong freight class on any shipment results in costly, unnecessary billing adjustments down the line.


Even the most experienced hazardous item shipper can have trouble with packaging. And when it comes to moving potentially dangerous substances along popular commuter highways, securely and properly packaging your hazardous item shipment is important. Some of the most common packaging that would work best with hazardous items are:

As far as what the best packaging supplies for shipping hazardous materials is all depends on your needs and your items. We also put together a comprehensive Guide to Freight Packaging to help you further understand different types of packaging and what works best in your supply chain.

A Shift in Demand

We’ve been noticing businesses that have shifted their manufacturing to producing essential items like hand sanitizer. For example, distilleries have begun producing hand sanitizer with their supply chain resources. Since hand sanitizer falls under the classification as a hazardous material, businesses and organizations that produce it will possibly be shipping hazardous materials for the first time.

With hand sanitizer being a hot commodity right now as well as fireworks season starting, it’s important that distributors and supply chain managers get the solutions they need, especially if they are shipping new, potentially hazardous products they’re not accustomed to shipping.

That’s where FreightCenter comes in. After over 20 years of handling hazardous shipments, we know the ins and outs of the business and have the connections shippers need to keep their supply chains flowing smooth. Whether you are new to shipping hazardous items or have been for a while, it’s important to partner with a freight broker who understands your business and shipping needs. We are dedicated to providing the right solutions to our shippers no matter the challenge.

We can help with your hazardous shipments, get started with a free quote today. If you want to speak with one of our experts, give us a shout at 844-212-7447.

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