How to Obtain a Shipping Classification

Steps to Obtain DOT Shipping Classification for Class 1 Materials

  1. Provide Safety Management Services, Inc. (SMS) with the information needed to understand your material and which classification is being sought
    • If the product to be tested is a substance, include a description on how the substance is manufactured. Also, include an MSDS and sensitivity data, if available.
    • For articles, describe the article. Include detailed drawings of the article, the N.E.W. of the article, the gross weight of the article, the part number, how many articles are in a package and the dimensions of the package. Also, include a description of the packaging materials.
  2. Obtain a tentative shipping classification
    • SMS will normally issue a tentative shipping classification for the samples to be tested.
    • Normally plan on 1-2 weeks for SMS to review a request for DOT classification and to issue a tentative shipping classification. This depends on the type of classification sought and the information available to make the tentative classification determination.
  3. Ship the samples to the SMS Test Facility.
    • If using a tentative shipping classification, follow the shipping instructions in 49 CFR 173.56 (d).
    • If using DOT-E- 8451, follow the instructions for that exemption.
    • If not using either option listed above, follow the shipping instructions in 49 CFR 173.56 (e). Alternatively, if the sample already has a DOT shipping classification, follow the requirements of that classification.
    • Follow the “Important Shipping Instructions” (see right column) provided by SMS. Samples will not be accepted prior to having a contract in place. Also, have a copy of the Bill of Lading to SMS three days prior to having the samples delivered. This ensures that the samples are received, recorded and tracked properly at the test facility.
  4. SMS will test the samples, issue a test report and issue a letter containing the recommended shipping classification.
    • Once the samples arrive at the test facility, plan on 2-4 weeks for the testing to be completed.
    • The test report and letter with the recommended shipping classification is normally issued 1 week after testing is completed.
  5. Submit the entire package to the DOT and obtain an EX Number.
    • Follow the instructions in the letter containing the recommended shipping classification to finish the process and obtain an EX Number from the DOT.
    • Be sure to submit the entire package you submitted to SMS to the DOT.
    • Be sure to include the report and letter with recommended classification.
    • The DOT typically issues an EX number within 7-10 weeks of receiving the required package of information.