IATA Online Training and the Nomenclature in the IATA DGR

IATA Online Training is an option one must consider when preparing dangerous goods shipments by air. The nomenclature in this regulation alone can cause your head to spin. Let’s take a closer look at the importance of the nomenclature in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR).

Appendix B

Appendix B of the IATA DGR describes the nomenclature used in the regulations and is broken up into three parts. B.1 describes the units of measurement, B.2 lists symbols, abbreviations, and cargo IMP codes, and B.3 contains conversion tables to and from “SI Units.”

Appendix B contains some important and useful information for the user of the DGR. It begins with a key element within the regulations: the units of measurement used to communicate net quantity or, in some instances, the gross weight of the dangerous goods being transported. Units of measurement are expressed in SI units (international system) for length (metres), weight (kilograms) and volume (litres).

Units of Measurement

The unit of measurement in most shipments represents the net quantity of dangerous goods contained in a package. Appendix A defines “net quantity” as “the weight or volume of the dangerous goods contained in a package excluding the weight or volume of any packaging material.” However, this is not always the case. Sometimes the gross weight of the package is the required unit of measurement.  For example, with shipments of aerosols in limited quantities, the unit of measurement is the gross weight of the completed package. “Gross weight” is defined in Appendix A as “the total weight of the package as presented for transport.”

With shipments of dangerous goods considered to be articles rather than substances, such as fire extinguishers and lithium batteries, the weight of the actual article in the package rather than the net quantity of dangerous goods inside that article would represent the net quantity.


One of the key symbols in B.2.1 is the star symbol. This will appear immediately to the right of a proper shipping name in Subsection 4.2, the Dangerous Goods List. When the star is present, it requires the shipper to supplement the proper shipping name with a technical name or chemical group name in parentheses following the proper shipping name on the shipper’s declaration for dangerous goods and most of the time on the package. Infectious substances are one example where the technical name is not required on the package.

Number Format

To indicate decimals, the standard format is to use the period (for example, 2.5 kg). The European format of using the comma is also acceptable (for example, 2,5 kg). When writing numbers less than one, a zero should be written before the decimal marker (for example, 0.25 kg).


An abbreviation’s meaning is altered depending on if the abbreviation is capitalized or not in B.2, as is the case with the abbreviation G/g. The upper case “G” In B.2.2.1 General Abbreviations represents the gross mass or weight of a package as prepared for transport. The lower case “g” found in B.2.2.2 Technical Abbreviations represents the unit of measurement gram.

Learn More About Nomenclature Use By Taking IATA Online Training

Hazmat University can help you master all things hazmat. You and your team can become more confident, competent, and compliant! If you’re interested in learning more about the nomenclature and more in the IATA DGR, register today for an Online IATA training course. If you have any questions contact Hazmat University for further information. Call us at (844) 329-5618 or visit our contact page.