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Shipping with Dry Ice 

Federal Regulations state that anyone wishing to ship dry ice must first have IATA / DOT training. If you are going to package Dry Ice for shipment or sign any type of shipping documentation (such as a FedEx Airbill) for a Dry Ice shipment, you must complete Shipping of Dangerous Goods Training.

Guidelines for Shipping Dry Ice

These are the six basic requirements for shipments of Dry Ice:

  1. Gas venting: Packages must allow for release of carbon dioxide gas. Dry ice must never be sealed in a container with an airtight seal such as a jar with a threaded lid or a plastic cooler.
  2. Package integrity: A package containing dry ice must be of adequate strength for intended use. It must be strong enough to withstand the loading and unloading normally encountered in transport. It must also be constructed and closed in order to prevent any loss of contents that might be caused by vibration or by changes in temperature, humidity, or altitude.
  3. Package materials: Do not use plastics that can be rendered brittle or permeable by the temperature of dry ice. This problem can be avoided by using commercially available packages intended to contain Dry Ice (carbon dioxide).
  4. Inner Packaging Materials: Depending on what is being shipped, containers, equipment, glass item(s), material etc... must be properly packed and/or secured in an outer, appropriate, durable material specific packaging in such a way that, under normal conditions of transport, they cannot break, be punctured or leak their contents into the outer packaging and so as to control their movement. Cushioning shall be used for breakable items. Any potential for leakage of contents must not substantially impair the protective properties of the cushioning material, or the outer packaging.
    • Absorbent material cannot react with the contents of the container
    • Dry Ice should not be placed in a pressure tight enclosure that would prohibit pressure relief.
    • Absorbent material is not required if the inner packaging's are so protected that breakage of them and the leakage of their contents from the outer package will not occur during normal conditions of transport.
  5. Airbill: the airbill (also referred to as the air waybill) must include the statement “Dry ice, 9, UN1845, number of packages X net weight in kilograms.” FedEx has a check box on their airbill to satisfy this requirement; see Figure 2. Airborne Express requires a slightly different format; see Figure 3. Check with your courier to make sure you have made the proper notation on their paperwork.
  6. Labeling: the outermost container must be labeled with a hazard class 9 label, UN 1845, and net weight of Dry Ice in kilograms. See Figure 1. The label should be affixed to a vertical side of the box (not the top or bottom) and oriented as in Figure 1. The maximum allowable net quantity of dry ice allowed per package is 200 kg.

Figure 1. Dry ice label. Note: Labels must be weather resistant. If you use a paper label be sure to completely cover it with clear packing tape when you attach it to the box.
dryice label
Figure 2. FedEx Airbill. Highlighted area properly documents 1 box containing 6 kg of dry ice.

dryice 1

Figure 3. Airborne Express Airbill. Highlighted area shows format required for 1 box containing 5 kg of dry ice.


Additional Requirements for Preparing Your Dry Ice Shipments:Additional Requirements for Preparing Your Dry Ice Shipments:

  • DO fill any empty space in your package with appropriate packing material to prevent product movement in transit.
  • DO wrap temperature sensitive products in two watertight plastic bags or use absorbent material along with a plastic liner.
  • DO avoid shipping temperature sensitive products over the weekend.
  • DO wrap the refrigerant in paper or another carton to slow the melting rate and prevent excess space when using dry ice.
  • DO NOT place the refrigerant at the bottom of the package because cold air will not circulate.