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How to Ship Hazardous Materials

Read about how to ship hazardous materials.

Avoid costly fines. Take steps to get certified today.

The required training certification course for shipping biological materials and dry ice is offered online through UC Learning. This self-paced course replaces the in-person training that could only be offered once per quarter.

To register for the online training and certification course log in to UC Learning and search for "Shipping Biological Substance and Dry Ice"

Warning: Failure to comply with international and federal transportation regulations when shipping hazardous materials can result in civil penalties of $78,376 per occurrence, and criminal penalties may include up to 10 years of imprisonment in addition (49CFR 107.329-107.333).

Don't move the shipment yourself. Shipping prepares all hazardous materials transport documents prior to the pick-up or movement of hazardous materials. This ensures that UCSD is in compliance to move the item across public roads to the Shipping Office on Trade Street.

All outgoing shipments of any infectious substance, diagnostic specimen, or other hazardous material must: 

  • Be processed by a Shipping Department certified employee
  • Arrive at the destination in good condition
  • Present no hazard during shipment
  • If you plan to ship hazardous materials, you should contact Shipping in advance and carefully follow the guidelines below. Exception: If you plan to ship radioactive materials, follow the instructions on How to Transfer Radioactive Materials.

Note: It may take several days to complete the required paperwork if your shipment contains multiple hazardous materials. Give Shipping advance warning for such shipments, when possible.

Required Training: Training and Certification is required for departments to ship Biological Substances/ Dry ice (49CFR 172.700). To register for the online training and certification course log in to UC Learning and search for "Shipping Biological Substance and Dry Ice".  After you complete the course and pass the test you will be certified to ship Biological Substances and Dry Ice for 2 years.

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1. Decide if your shipment is considered hazardous, and determine the type of hazard.

  1. Read the following descriptions to identify the type of hazard:
  2. See Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Overview to specifically identify your shipment. Shipping may ask you to fax the SDS describing your shipment, if one applies (see step 6). Even if an SDS does not apply, Shipping will ask for specific information to identify the hazard class of the item(s).

2. Obtain insurance, if needed.

It is important to insure your shipment:

  • To determine your insurance needs and obtain insurance, see Transit Insurance.
  • If you will need underwritten insurance, obtain required approval before proceeding further.
  • If you have insurance questions, contact Kathleen Johnson, (858) 246-0369.

Note: Domestic shipments valued under $100,000 are automatically insured if you can verify the shipment value. See Transit Insurance for details.

3. Fill out a Shipping Memo form.

  1. To complete the form, follow the step-by-step instructions on How to Complete a Shipping Memo.
  2. All hazardous materials shipments require the following information on the Shipping Memo under "Description of Contents":
    • Proper name of hazardous material
    • Weight in grams/ capacity in liters
    • Value of item(s)
    • Purpose of shipment
    • Departure date and needed destination date
    • Type of service requested (e.g., air, ocean)
      • Hazardous materials contained in or with equipment, require this additional information:
        • Name of equipment
        • Location of manufacturer (United States, Japan, etc.)
      • Hazardous materials being shipped outside the United States require this additional information:
        • Country/ countries it is being shipped to
        • If your shipment will be returned to the United States, list the approximate date.
        • International shipments require the following anti-diversion statement on the Shipping Memo: "These commodities, technology, or software were exported from the United States in accordance with the Export Administration Regulations. Diversion contrary to U.S. law is prohibited."
        • Note:If your international shipment consists of multiple packages, complete an International Shipment Summary and attach it to the Shipping Memo. Also follow step 2(d), below.
  1. If your shipment consists of multiple packages:
    • Mark each package with running-total numbers such as "1 of 3".
    • List each package number on the Shipping Memo.
    • List the contents of each package separately.
  2. Your Shipping Memo email to Outbound Shipping is your pickup request.
  3. Shipping will assist you if additional documentation is required. Some items may require that you fax a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) to the Shipping Coordinator.
  4. You will then receive an e-mail with the required packing instructions and a pickup day/time confirmation. If you don't have access to a scanner to e-mail us the Shipping Memo, you can fax the Shipping Memo to (858) 693-0864 and then call our office to verify receipt of the fax.


Note: Shipping will pick up dry ice and priority hazardous materials by noon the day after you call, and we will ship that same day.

4. Call Shipping to confirm receipt of shipping memo and to provide additional information.

  1. Call Shipping at (858) 534-5737 to confirm receipt of the shipping memo. This is your responsibility.
  2. Provide Shipping with the following information to fill out hazardous material transport documents:
    • What is the hazardous material?
    • How is it packaged?
    • What is the proper shipping name?
    • What is the weight in grams/ capacity in liters?

Shipping will assist you if additional documentation is required. Some items may require that you fax a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) to the Shipping Coordinator.


Note: For most pickup requests, the Outbound Shipping Dept needs to receive your completed Shipping Memo by NOON, the business day before you would like the package picked up and shipped out. For more complicated hazardous and regulated shipments, they may require the Shipping Memo multiple days in advance.

5. Prepare your package.

  1. Follow the instructions given by the Shipping Coordinator.
  2. Put the Shipping Memo (except for the pink copy, which you retain for your records) in an envelope marked "Shipping — HAZ MAT" and tape it to the package.

6. Give the package to the driver.

The driver will place all proper documents, labels and markings required for transport on your package and deliver it to the Shipping Coordinator.

Note: Only Shipping can pick up your package, not Mail Services.

7. Track your package and check shipping charges.

After Shipping processes your package, refer to it to check your shipping charges.

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Note: This page has a friendly link that's easy to remember: http://blink.ucsd.edu/go/shiphazmat