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      ADR Transport - Dangerous Goods by Road

      Your guide to ADR logistics, what to think about when shipping dangerous goods by road and how much it costs.

      This guide will tell you everything there is to know about road transport of dangerous goods and ADR throughout Europe and beyond.

      Check out what you need to know and make informed decisions on shipping dangerous goods. Make sure you are shipping with confidence with ADR-certified drivers and companies.

      Ready to get started? Request multiple quotes for ADR-shipping now and experience the difference of working with knowledgeable professionals who prioritize safety and compliance.

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      Where do the ADR regulations apply?

      At least in the countries that have signed the ADR treaty. The map below shows the countries that are bound to the ADR-rules (in orange) and the countries that are not (in grey). As you can see, ADR regulations apply to virtually every country in Europe, parts of Asia and a few countries in Africa and Southern America. ADR does therefore not apply to road cargo for Northern America. There you should look for the Hazardous Materials Regulations (US) and Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Regulations (Canada).

      Members of the ADR treaty

      ADR Dangerous Goods Classifications

      The ADR system categorizes dangerous goods into the following classes:

      • Class 1: Explosive substances and articles
      • Class 2: Gases
        • Flammable gases (e.g., butane, propane)
        • Non-flammable, non-toxic gases (e.g., nitrogen, CO2)
        • Toxic gases (e.g., chlorine)
      • Class 3: Flammable liquids
      • Class 4.1: Flammable solids, self-reactive substances, and solid desensitized explosives
      • Class 4.2: Substances liable to spontaneous combustion
      • Class 4.3: Substances that emit flammable gases when in contact with water
      • Class 5.1: Oxidizing substances
      • Class 5.2: Organic peroxides
      • Class 6.1: Toxic substances
      • Class 6.2: Infectious substances
      • Class 7: Radioactive material
      • Class 8: Corrosive substances
      • Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles

      UN Numbers

      Each dangerous good is assigned a unique four-digit UN number for identification. While the first digit of Class 1 substances is always 0, the hazard class of other substances cannot be directly determined from their UN number and must be looked up in the ADR list.

      For more information, please refer to the complete ADR regulations and the list of UN numbers.

      Becoming ADR compliant

      How to comply with ADR when shipping goods

      1. Identify Dangerous Goods: Determine if your goods are classified as dangerous under ADR. You can consult the ADR list of dangerous goods for this information.
      2. Understand the Requirements: Familiarize yourself with the specific requirements for your type of dangerous goods in Annex A and the general transport requirements in Annex B.
      3. Train Your Staff: Ensure that all personnel involved in the transport of dangerous goods receive appropriate training on ADR regulations.
      4. Ensure Proper Documentation: Prepare all necessary transport documents, including dangerous goods declarations and transport certificates.
      5. Maintain Vehicles and Equipment: Ensure that your vehicles and equipment comply with ADR standards and are regularly inspected and maintained.
      6. Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with the latest ADR amendments and any national regulations that may apply.

      How much does ADR transport cost?

      The cost of ADR shipping for dangerous goods is not simply a matter of base freight charges. It's a multi-faceted structure involving additional fees and surcharges due to the specialized nature of handling hazardous materials.

      A few examples of such surcharges:

      • Dangerous Goods Surcharge: This is a common surcharge applied by most carriers to cover the added costs and risks associated with transporting dangerous goods. These costs include specialized handling, additional safety measures, and compliance with strict regulations.
      • Specific Hazard Class Surcharges: Some carriers may apply additional surcharges based on the specific hazard class of the goods being transported. This is because certain classes of dangerous goods require more stringent handling and safety measures than others.
      • Documentation and Handling Fees: Additional fees may be charged for the preparation and handling of required documentation, such as dangerous goods declarations and other regulatory paperwork.

      Price Structure:

      The overall price for ADR transport typically consists of:

      • Base Freight Rate: This is the standard cost of transporting goods based on weight, dimensions, and distance.
      • Dangerous Goods Surcharge: A percentage or fixed amount added to the base rate to cover the additional costs associated with dangerous goods handling.
      • Specific Hazard Class Surcharges (if applicable): Extra fees based on the hazard class of the goods.
      • Documentation and Handling Fees: Separate charges for preparing and processing required documents.
      • Other Potential Surcharges: Depending on the specific circumstances, additional surcharges may apply for factors like remote pick-up or delivery locations, special handling requirements, or specific carrier policies.

      How much are these surcharges?

      The exact amounts for these surcharges can vary significantly between carriers and depend on the specific circumstances of the shipment. However, it's not uncommon for dangerous goods surcharges to range from 10% to 50% of the base freight rate. Often there is also a minimum surcharge of at least 200 to 250 euros. Specific hazard class surcharges can also vary widely, and documentation fees usually range from a few tens to a few hundred euros.

      Examples of ADR costs

      Below are a few examples of ADR road cargo jobs with their quotes. Those could give you an estimate on the costs of shipping dangerous goods. They are by no means accurate for your specific situation. So if you are looking for specific quotes for your dangerous cargo, please request quotes here.

      Product (UN Number)Lane
      Estimated Cost (EUR)
      Acetone (UN1090)Rotterdam - Frankfurt500-750
      Paint (UN1263)Oslo - Stockholm400-600
      Ethanol (UN1170)Barcelona - Paris800-1200
      Sodium Hydroxide (UN1824)London - Milan900-1400
      Lithium Batteries (UN3090)Warsaw - Bucharest600-900
      Sulfuric Acid (UN1830)Hamburg - Vienna700-1100
      Pesticides (UN2992)Madrid - Lisbon550-800
      Aerosols (UN1950)Amsterdam - Copenhagen350-550
      Gasoline (UN1203)Helsinki - St. Petersburg1000-1500


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      Applicable Regulations per Modality

      As explained, international road transport of dangerous goods across Europe is governed by the ADR Agreement.

      For countries not directly connected to mainland Europe, international sea transport of dangerous goods falls under the IMDG Code (International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code), established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

      International rail transport of dangerous goods adheres to the RID regulations (International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail), overseen by the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF).

      For international air transport of dangerous goods, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) apply.

      National agencies and ADR

      Below is a list of government websites with information on ADR regulations, including Western European, Scandinavian countries as well as a few Eastern and Southern European nations:

      • UK: Health and Safety Executive (HSE): The HSE is the UK's national regulator for workplace health and safety. Their website provides comprehensive information on ADR regulations, including guidance, training requirements, and enforcement.
      • Germany: Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM): BAM is the German authority responsible for the technical safety of dangerous goods transport. Their website offers information on ADR regulations, approvals, and testing procedures.
      • France: Ministry for the Ecological Transition (MTE): The MTE is responsible for environmental and transport policy in France. Their website provides information on ADR regulations, including the French national legislation and implementing measures.
      • Netherlands: Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT): The ILT is the Dutch regulatory authority for transport and infrastructure. Their website offers information on ADR regulations, enforcement, and inspections.
      • Spain: Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (MITMA): The MITMA is responsible for transport policy in Spain. Their website provides information on ADR regulations, including national legislation, approvals, and training requirements.
      • Sweden: Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen)
      • Norway: Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens vegvesen) gives information on ADR regulations, training, and safety requirements.
      • Denmark: Danish Transport Authority (Trafikstyrelsen)
      • Finland: Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom)
      • Poland: Ministry of Infrastructure (Ministerstwo Infrastruktury)
      • Bulgaria: Road Infrastructure Agency (API)

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