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Dangerous Goods (FedEx Express): Regulatory Updates

Dangerous Goods (FedEx Express): Regulatory Updates

Service Guide

Service Guide

Review recent changes to IATA regulations, IATA variations and other regulatory information.

Shipping hazardous materials via FedEx Ground? Start here.

If you ship dangerous goods, you should know about changes to International Air Transport Association (IATA) dangerous goods regulations. Though this summary presents some of the major changes, it’s not comprehensive, so you should consult appropriate available channels to stay informed about all regulatory changes. Shippers may obtain additional information and assistance via:

Disclaimer: The following update is for customer information only. It is not intended as a training source, recurrent or otherwise. FedEx Express does not warrant the accuracy of this information and accepts no liability for this information, or for future regulatory amendments that may affect any of the information provided herein or any damages resulting from the use or misuse of this information.


For certain types of dangerous goods, our packaging and shipping requirements go beyond those applied by IATA. Check the list of FedEx Express IATA Variations for more information.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published an Interim Final Rule on Lithium Ion Batteries (HM–224I) on Feb. 27, 2019, that largely harmonizes U.S. regulations regarding lithium batteries with international rules already required by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). FedEx Express adheres to the ICAO and IATA provisions.

The highlight of the Interim Final Rule — which includes provisions that impact all lithium ion battery shipments, including those offered or transported by air, road, vessel and rail — is that UN 3480 lithium ion batteries (rechargeable stand-alone batteries, not contained in or packed with equipment) are prohibited on passenger aircraft.

Note that ICAO and IATA already forbid passenger airlines from shipping UN 3480 Section I and Section II lithium ion batteries, as well as UN 3090 Section I and Section II lithium metal batteries. These battery types must already be shipped with a cargo carrier (e.g., FedEx). To improve safety, FedEx Express requires both UN 3480 and UN 3090 Section II lithium ion batteries to be shipped as fully regulated Section I lithium batteries.

We do not expect the PHMSA regulation to have any impact on FedEx as we follow, and require our customers to follow, international rules.

For more information on the measures FedEx Express is taking to improve the safe transport of lithium batteries, see the Lithium Battery Update, Effective Jan. 1, 2017 section below. Go to the Lithium Batteries section on the How to Ship page to access other resources designed for our customers who ship lithium batteries.

FedEx Express is taking extra measures to improve the safe transport of lithium batteries.

  • Effective Jan. 1, 2017, FedEx Express will no longer accept UN 3090 or UN 3480 lithium batteries tendered to us as IATA Section II. Instead, these shipments must be tendered as fully regulated Section I (either Section IA or Section IB) with a Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods form and all required dangerous goods marking and labeling, including the Class 9 label and Cargo Aircraft Only label.
  • Shippers who are on the UN 3090 Section II preapproved list will automatically be placed on the UN 3090 Section I list. You will not need to reapply for preapproval.
  • Section I UN 3090 and UN 3480 are hazard Class 9 materials and are classified as Inaccessible Dangerous Goods (IDG). For information on the FedEx Express® services you can use to ship IDG and surcharges that apply, see the FedEx Services and Countries Served and Special Handling Fees sections on the How to Ship page.


Additional Resources

For additional information about shipping batteries, download the helpful brochure Packaging Guidelines for Battery Shipments (462 Kb PDF).

Lithium metal batteries (UN 3090 Primary Non-Rechargeable) require preapproval to ship. This applies to batteries shipped under Section IA and Section IB of Packing Instruction 968 in IATA. For details on shipping lithium batteries (Primary Non-Rechargeable and Rechargeable), see Lithium Batteries.

FedEx Express does not accept IATA special provision A183 shipments — lithium batteries being shipped for recycling or disposal — even with competent authority approval.

View our FedEx Express Hazardous Materials Certificate of Registration (4.83 Kb PDF), which lists our registration number and the date it was issued.

Category A infectious substances affecting humans (UN 2814) and infectious substances affecting animals (UN 2900) are considered dangerous goods that can cause permanent disability and life-threatening or fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans or animals. These infectious substances must not be shipped in the FedEx® Clinical Pak or FedEx® Clinical Box. IATA regulations apply. Noninfectious blood and urine must meet FedEx standards.

Biological Substance, Category B (UN 3373) are infectious substances that are not Category A infectious substances. These substances must meet the requirements in IATA Packing Instruction 650. A FedEx® UN 3373 Pak and FedEx Clinical Box are available for shipping these substances.

Clinical specimens for which there is minimal likelihood that pathogens are present should be marked with the words “Exempt human specimen” or “Exempt animal specimen” as appropriate. See IATA section for additional information. A FedEx Clinical Pak is available for shipping clinical specimens.

Shippers must also comply with all applicable local, state and federal laws governing packing, marking and labeling of shipments of blood and blood products.

For more information on how to prepare clinical sample and Biological Substance, Category B shipments, download these helpful brochures:


FedEx Express dangerous goods shipments are required to comply with U.S. Department of Transportation Emergency Response Requirements (49 CFR Part 172.201, Part 172.604) for dangerous goods shipping.

Documentation for all dangerous goods shipments must include an emergency response information (ERI) provider, who provides 24-hour coverage in the event of emergencies, and an emergency response phone number, including area code and country code where applicable.

When an agency or organization is designated as the ERI provider, the registered person must be identified on the shipping form by name, contract number or other unique identifier. The person responsible for providing detailed ERI about the shipment’s hazardous materials content is usually the offeror or shipper.

How to provide this information. FedEx Express shippers can use their existing Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods forms and electronic shipping solutions with no modifications. Simply include the required identification for ERI in the Additional Handling section of the form.

When additional information is required. FedEx Express requires this additional information when a) a customer contracts with an ERI provider and b) the name listed as the shipper on the shipment documentation is NOT the customer name on file with the ERI provider. For example:

  • A customer is registered with an ERI provider but hires a freight forwarder, pack-and-ship company or distributor -- who ships on the customer’s behalf and lists their own company name as the shipper.
  • A customer is a member of a trade association that pays for ERI services, and the ERI provider has the trade association, not the customer, on file with the Material Data Safety Sheet (MSDS).

In these cases, the customer must provide FedEx Express with a company name or individual name, or the ERI contract number that the MSDSs are under, so that the shipment can be tied back to the customer.

Read the final rule in its entirety.

FedEx Express complies with all federal and state laws and regulations that apply to the services we offer. For more information, read our dangerous goods and hazardous materials regulatory compliance letter (345 Kb PDF).

Get other dangerous goods information: