Organizations shipping numerous clinical specimens and infectious substances face significant shipping costs, comprised of packaging cost and freight. It is easy to focus on the cost of the shipper and not consider freight costs.

Class 6.2 Dangerous Good (DG) packages requires extra levels of documentation, care and handling by the freight carrier. Every freight carrier adds a surcharge to handle and ship each DG package on top of the standard shipping charge. Consequently, if your organization ships multiple DG packages to the same destination on the same day, you are being charged a surcharge for each DG package shipped. Most departments and labs do not realize how quickly these additional surcharges add up when shipping multiple packages daily to the same location.

By consolidating your smaller multiple shipments into a larger consignment called an overpack, you only incur the surcharge once. The definition of an overpack is “an enclosure that contains one or more fully compliant DG packages being shipped by a single shipper to one destination.” The overpack can be as simple as a larger box, a pallet, or simply stretch-wrapped together. The only requirement related to the actual “enclosure” is that the overpack must be strong enough for its intended use.

Additionally, the overpack must be marked with the word “Overpack,” and any labeling on the inner packages that are not visible must be replicated on its exterior. This communicates to all parties involved with the shipment that there are DGs within the overpack.

Additional notes:

1. There are no restrictions on what you can consolidate inside an overpack. DG regulations (including volume limits) are applied to the individual packages, not the overpack.

2. It is permissible to include both DG packages and non-DG shipments inside an overpack.

Quick Tip: Dangerous Goods regulations in the US and internationally require each person associated with packing, classifying, documenting, shipping or receiving Dangerous Goods to be trained, as well as receive recurrent training every 2 years. Please be sure to follow the mandatory regulatory requirements, and receive certification of proper training.