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International regulations

Due to the limitations on public life in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, individual requirements of dangerous goods legislation might be more difficult to be met. For instance, training certificates cannot be renewed or extended because training courses for drivers in dangerous goods transport operations and safety advisers were cancelled. The signing of a multilateral agreement makes it possible to continue to use certificates whose validity expired/expires between 1 March and 30 November 2020 for an interim period of time. Two additional multilateral agreements make the continued use of tanks and dangerous goods vehicles possible if deadlines for periodic inspections or intermediate inspections have been exceeded or if it has not been possible to extend the vehicle registration. Another multilateral agreement was signed that facilitates the supply of gases for medical purposes (particularly oxygen). This agreement makes it possible, for some gases, to refill the pressure receptacles even if the deadline for periodic inspection has been exceeded.

More information on the multilateral agreements for road transport and for carriage on inland waterways as well as the special agreements for rail transport can be found here:

The agreements are applicable to domestic transport operations a well as carriage between the countersigning states immediately after being signed. This arises from Section 5(9) of the Ordinance on the Domestic and International Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road, Rail and Inland Waterways.

National measures

In order to facilitate the supply of disinfectants and medical products, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has agreed with the top-level transport authorities of the federal states that no action will be taken against persons committing certain offences. This agreement was amended on 30 March. It stipulates that transport operations carried out in the context of exemptions related to quantities carried per transport unit (“1000 points rule” in accordance with of ADR) can make use of additional facilitations. This includes, among other things, that no transport document and no fire extinguisher need to be carried aboard and that the new commissioning of combination packagings is facilitated.

The suspension of regulations is immediately applicable and reads as follows:

“After coordination with the highest transport authorities of the federal states, I would like to announce the following:

“Insofar as hygiene products (e.g. disinfectants) and medicinal products that are classified as dangerous goods of packing groups II and III are transported for the supply of goods in the context of the corona epidemic in accordance with the exemption under of ADR and their transport has resulted in the infringements listed below, there is no public interest in prosecuting these infringements as administrative offences (Section 47(1) of the Administrative Offences Act).

  1. The quantities specified in column 3 of the table under of ADR are exceeded; however, no more than 500 litres/kg of dangerous goods are transported per transport unit.
  2. The documents required in accordance with 5.4.1 in conjunction with (a) of ADR are not carried aboard.
  3. No training in accordance with Chapter 1.3 in conjunction with 8.2.3 of ADR has been received.
  4. The inner packagings of combination packagings marked in accordance with hazardous substances legislation are transported without their outer packaging, and the package is not marked and labelled in accordance with Chapter 5.2 of ADR.
  5. The transport unit is not equipped with a portable fire extinguisher with a minimum capacity of 2 kg dry powder in accordance with of ADR.

This approach is applicable until 31 August 2020.”

Dangerous goods safety advisers

Insofar as training certificates for dangerous goods safety advisers have expired and cannot be extended due to the current situation, they may continue to be used under the corresponding multilateral agreements for road, rail and inland waterway transport. The obligation to appoint a dangerous goods safety adviser for maritime transport is governed by national provisions. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has therefore reached agreement on a temporary exemption with the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce and the top-level transport authorities. It is immediately applicable and is limited until 30 November 2020.

This temporary exemption reads as follows:

Insofar as dangerous goods safety advisers for maritime transport hold training certificates in accordance with the Dangerous Goods Adviser Ordinance, infringements in accordance with section 9(2)(1) of the ordinance will not be prosecuted as a criminal offence in accordance with section 10(1)(d) of said ordinance (section 47(1) of the Administrative Offences Act) if the training certificate expires between 1 March 2020 and 1 November 2020 and its holder has passed an examination in accordance with section 6(4) of the Dangerous Goods Adviser Ordinance prior to 1 December 2020.

Transport of infectious substances

Patient specimens that are (possibly) contaminated with COVID-19 are considered Category B infectious substances and must be assigned to UN No. 3373 (BIOLOGICAL SUBSTANCE, CATEGORY B) and be packed and marked for road transport in accordance with packing instruction P650 of ADR. If packing instruction P650 is complied with, the transport operations are not subject to any other requirements of ADR.

Medical waste that is (possibly) contaminated with COVID-19 is considered a Category B infectious substance and must be assigned to UN No. 3291 (CLINICAL WASTE, UNSPECIFIED, N.O.S. or (BIO)MEDICAL WASTE, N.O.S. or REGULATED MEDICAL WASTE, N.O.S.) and be carried by road in accordance with the requirements of ADR. The Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) has published a corresponding determination concerning the carriage in bulk. (in German)