If the products you ship are hazardous you must use a Dangerous Goods Note, not a Standard Shipping Note. Both these documents provide carriers and receiving authorities with clear and precise details about your consignment, but the DGN contains additional information.
Dangerous Goods Note (DGN or IATA DGN)
If your shipment contains any hazardous products then it is mandatory that an appropriate DGN is used. The standard DGN covers land and sea shipments, but for air freight you will need to use the IATA Dangerous Goods Declaration. These documents will accompany your shipment and will declare what the dangers of the goods are.
International regulations apply to the packing and movement of goods classified as potentially dangerous, and each dangerous substance or article is assigned to a class which defines the type of danger that substance presents. There is a further classification to identify the packing group according to the level of danger. These two classifications dictate how you must package, label and carry dangerous goods and the suitability of the packaging materials and the marks and label they must bear.
Labelling of your dangerous goods can be confusing because the same chemical can have different hazard descriptions in different countries. For example, a chemical could be labelled as ‘toxic’ in one country, but not in another. The UN has created the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) with the aim of having, worldwide, the same criteria for classifying chemicals according to their health, environmental and physical hazards. GHS specifies hazard communication requirements for labelling and also safety data sheets (MSDS) for use in the workplace.
The GHS includes directions for application of the hazard communication elements on the label. In particular, it specifies for each hazard, and for each class within the hazard, what signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement should be used. The GHS hazard pictograms, signal words and hazard statements should be located together on the label.
The Standard Shipping Note (SSN)
The SSN is one of a number of transport documents used to accompany deliveries of non-hazardous goods. It is not a mandatory requirement that you use a SSN but it is good practice for non-hazardous shipments as it gives port authorities clear instructions on how to handle your goods. The SSN can also be used for road, sea and air freight. Using the SSN, enables you to complete the same standard document for all consignments, regardless of which port or depot they are going to. If you use the Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP), you can use the SSN as a pre-shipment advice.
Both the Dangerous Goods Note and the Standard Shipping Note can be produced online, and both can be printed onto plain paper, enabling you to key the data once and then create and use whichever documents you need.