Know your UN packaging codes – The complete guide

UN packaging code, UN packaging codes, UN packaging certification, UN packaging certificate

UN Packaging Codes

It is prevalent in the packaging field of hazardous products that have UN packaging code on the outer packaging for the export products. Domestically never used the UN packaging code, but it requires the other countries to demand the product is suitable with the pack for the transport worthiness or not.

UN Packaging Certificate 
The certificate has some unique identification numbers having the coding of the packaging supplier and product manufacturer. The features will mention below, but before that, we understand the meaning of UN packaging certification.
The UN packaging certificate has comprehensive details of the testing data for the related packaging, such as boxes, metal drums, plastic drums, fiberboard drums, square fiber drums, IBC containers. This UN packaging code is given to the user to imprint on the outer surface of boxes or whatever packaging material.

Can we do print the UN number on Labels and then stick to the packaging material? 

The answer is no. Because it is assumed when we use a sticker that can easily remove during transport, and other countries(receiver) will not accept that consignment. And it will go in backward integration. So, worldwide it is recognized as an embossed and pre-printed UN marking for corrugated boxes.

The Purpose of UN packaging codes

UN packaging codes’ purpose, when dangerous goods material pack, it has to ensure that it won’t escape. This is able by putting to use UN-approved making onto a Packaging Material.

Why is UN marking required? 

International agreements for the carriage of dangerous goods need making into the packaging of the product, said to be authenticated by an agency having the necessary certification of quality.
Worldwide United Nations had made a criterion for the acceptance of the product and its packaging. UN packaging certificate details as to how things are to be done to make sure it is right for the carriage of certain dangerous goods.
If all the countries follow their own rule, it will surely have a messy situation, because every company has to submit their document in their countries for approval and also for exporting their product, that company has to comply as per other countries’ required reports.
So, it needs a single UN packaging certificate that allows you to cross all the boundaries without fail.

Can we use a single UN packaging certificate for the air and sea cargo?  

The answer is no. Both the agencies are different, but their testing is the same. It required a different number according to their norms.
No.# 1  IMDG (International Maritime Organization) – Sea Shipment
No.# 2  IATA (International Air Transport Association) – for the Air Shipment 

What are the testings required for the UN packaging codes?

UN packaging testing is basically for performance testing of the packaging material. The packaging testing agencies do the testing to find the withstand property of the content during transit.

What do we call the testing?

Transport Worthiness Test and the test involves such as drop test, leakage test, hydraulic test, rolling test, impact test, stack load test, and compression test. The testing depends on the packaging material.

Is it include the compatibility and stability study in the UN packaging certificate?

No, but the UN packaging certificate won’t allow you to pack as per your desire. The United nation has a booklet and specified all the details in that.
The details specified the packaging material type and shipping volume of the unit pack with their specified product.
Example: Mild Steel drum can go in multiple packs such as 200Ltr. or Kg
Again we back on to understand the UN packaging code meaning on packaging materials.
UN Packaging symbol: the symbol indicates that items are being tested and qualified all the performance parameter which is required for UN certification. After all the test has been passed, a UN no number is given to the particular packaging consignment for the particular supplier for the product.

UN packaging code, UN packaging codes, UN packaging certification, UN packaging certificate

UN Marking as per the items of Packaging and Material MOC:
Types of Packaging
  • 1 — Drum/Pail
  • 2 — Barrels
  • 3 — Jerrican
  • 4 — Box
  • 5 — Bag
  • 6 — Composite packaging
Materials of Construction
  • A — Steel
  • B — Aluminum
  • C — Natural wood
  • D — Plywood
  • F — Reconstituted wood
  • G — Fiberboard
  • H — Plastic material
  • L — Textile
  • M — Paper, multi-wall
  • N — Metal (other than steel or aluminum)
  • P — Glass, porcelain or stoneware (not used in these regulations)
Packing Group: Packing group determines the degree of danger of a dangerous goods item, so the following UN specification packaging:
  • X — for packing groups I, II and III
  • Y — for packing groups II and III
  • Z — for packing group III
Maximum Gross Weight: Secondary packagings are for solids, the marking will show the maximum gross mass (weight) in kilograms.
Year of Manufacture
Origin of Manufacture
Manufacturer Code


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