Summary of Changes to IMDG Code 40-20 Edition


IMDG Code 40-20 Edition

There are many important documents that dictate special carriage requirements for an array of hazardous materials. These include lithium batteries, chemicals, radioactive compounds, and much more. One of the most important publications that the International Maritime Organization maintains for this purpose is the IMDG Code. The abbreviation is short for International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, and it serves as a key role in ensuring safe transit across the oceans.

Late in 2020, IMO modified the IMDG Code with Amendment 40-20. There are many changes in IMDG Code 40-20 Edition you need to be aware of, but these are the most important ones. However, the list below is not complete and you'll need to review the publication in full to ensure you comply with all of its requirements.


IMDG Code Modifications by Part

The IMDG Code comes in a total of seven parts. The first deals with the provisions, definitions, and training that underpin the rest of the document. Part 2 deals with classifications, while part 3 provides the Dangerous Goods list. Each part has received substantial changes under the recently released 40-20 Edition.


Part 1: General Provisions, Definitions, and Training

The new amendment to the IMDG Code comes with a range of important new definitions. For instance, the definition for the phrase "Dose Rate." Another important term, GHS, has been modified. The IMO changed it to comply with the 8th edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. Additionally, they've amended the Manual of Tests and Criteria to reflect the 6th edition.

There are several updates to part, as well. For instance, changes to Related Codes and publications may be appropriate for various forms of more specialized training. The list of high consequence dangerous goods has expanded thanks to the introduction of Class 1, Division 6.1 explosive compounds. Additionally, the class 6.2 entry now includes Category A medical waste and several related updated provisions. Some terms, such as radiation level are now replaced with other phrases that the IMO deemed more fitting.


Part 2: Classification

Part 2 has seen substantial changes, such as an amendment with regard to the assignment of fireworks and chemicals under pressure. In general, most changes in this section work to reflect other major publications such as the latest ISO version.

The classification of various microorganisms has also changed. Rickettsiae are no longer on the list of examples with regard to microorganisms, and there are expanded passages on the treatment of infectious substances. Radionuclides are a new introduction to the tables in the part. One of the major changes with regard to Part 2 is the creation of a new SCO-III classification, which deals with radioactive materials.

Finally, testing guidelines and shipping names have received a number of modifications. In some cases, the IMO updated existing content, but the new amendment also adds entirely fresh information.


Part 3: Dangerous Goods List, Special Provisions, Exceptions

The dangerous goods list in Part 3 is one of the most important sections in the IMDG Code. It dictates those goods that have special carriage requirements, as well as important rules pertaining to exceptions. In general, the changes to this part are fairly minor. For instance, an update to section lays down requirements for not otherwise specified marine pollutants. Four additional entries are now part of the Alkalis segregation group, and various articles of explosives have different packing instructions now. The special provisions of part 3 have undergone a range of modifications, with the IMO deleting some provisions and creating other, new ones. Terms surrounding certain compressed gas products have changed, and there's also a new provision that details guidelines for category A, medical waste.


Part 4: Packing and Tank Provisions

Part 4's earlier revisions are mostly minor, such as alterations to the notes under subsection 4.1.1. A new paragraph also changes the rules surrounding large packages to make the process easier. Under IMDG Code 40-20 Edition, ships that transport from IBCs and large packaging benefit from more flexible guidelines. Another fresh addition, subsection proscribes new limitations on filling or discharging these forms of cargo. Various updates modify existing standards for gas cylinders, liquified gases, and dissolved gases. Other significant updates to Part 4 of the IMDG Code consist of modifications to packing procedures and related materials.


Part 5: Consignment Procedures

The IMO's new updates to Part 5 come with a variety of procedural changes for shipments of different products. SCO-III shipments must take these changes into account. The markings on lithium batteries are also different, in accordance with the new version of Speaking of lithium batteries, there is a range of updates in the special provisions surrounding them. Guidelines for supplementary information that augments proper shipping names are also considerably different. Other items that Part 5 has new rules and requirements for include fumigated transportation units and refrigerated liquefied gases.

Another relevant modification is a set of updates for cargo transportation units that carry asphyxiating compounds. Generally, the substances that ships use for refrigeration and industrial conditioning are this type of compound. You can find the changes for chemicals that pose a risk of asphyxiation in part 5.5.3. After this, you'll see section 5.5.4, a new section that governs dangerous goods that come under use during transportation. It clarifies when dangerous goods such as lithium batteries are not subject to IMDG regulations. For instance, batteries inside of a data logger are not beholden to the same restrictions as lithium batteries in cargo.


Part 6: Construction and Testing of Packagings, Intermediate Bulk Containers, Large Packagings, Portable Tanks, Multiple Element Gas Containers, and Road Tank Vehicles

Part 6 has largely undergone minor changes in accordance with the updated 40-20 Edition of the IMDG Code. Some of the changes include new instructions for handling IBCs and large packagings that bear multiple design type marks. This was a necessary change due to earlier parts creating new guidelines around intermediate and large packagings. Part has also received an update, which affects the use and transportation of aluminum drums. The final major change to Part 6 creates a process to apply for approval for transporting the new category of SCO-III shipments.


Part 7: Provisions Concerning Transport Operations

Like Part 6, Part 7 has only undergone rather modest changes. The phrase "dose rate" replaces every use of the term "radiation level," and several infectious substances have greater stowage requirements. Part 7.2.8. has undergone some updates for segregation codes and descriptions, while there have also been modifications to provisions involving radioactive material.

Beyond the changes to the seven core parts of the IMDG Code, there are also a range of additional notes. Of these, the most important is the note that this new edition comes into force early in 2021. While following IMDG Code 40-20 Edition will be optional on 1 January 2021, this grace period is temporary. On 1 June 2022, compliance is mandatory for all seaborne vessels.


Choose American Nautical for the Latest IMDG Code Edition

Here at American Nautical, we're the name that mariners trust. While we strive to keep our readers up to date on the latest developments in the maritime world, you may still need the latest publications from IMO to keep informed on changes to maritime regulations. Now that you have an idea of the major changes in IMDG Code 40-20 Edition, you can quickly get up to speed after buying the full publication. Choose American Nautical to purchase the new IMDG Code 40-20 Edition on sale and ensure you keep up with the latest international maritime rules and regulations.