Definitions of Packages

Here is a short lesson in packaging vocabulary:

Combination Packagings

Are a combination of packagings for transport purposes, consisting of one or more inner packagings secured in an outer packaging in accordance with the relevant provisions of Section 5. “Limited Quantity” (LTD QTY) shipments MUST be shipped in “combination packagings” such as shown below.

Inner Packagings

Are packagings for which an outer packaging is required for transport

Outer Packagings

The outer protection of a composite or combination packaging together with any absorbent materials, cushioning and any other components necessary to contain and protect inner receptacles or inner packagings.


An enclosure used by a single shipper to contain one or more packages and to form one handling unit for convenience of handling and stowage.  There are no specific type, size or weight limits, or performance testing requirements for overpacks prescribed in the regulations.  Examples of “overpacks” may include: a pallet with multiple packages unitized with shrink wrap, banding or straps; cardboard boxes or plastic wrapping; slatted or closed wooden crates; any other configuration or material which serves as an enclosure for one or more packages and meeting the definition of an overpack.  See the example below. NOTE: A unit load device (aircraft container such as an LD-3) is not included in this definition.


The complete product of the packing operation consisting of the packaging and contents prepared for transport.  In most cases, the “package” is required to meet minimum performance testing requirements such as the drop test and crush (stacking test) per UN standards. Packages are the basic unit of hazmat transport.  Based on the hazardous material being shipped, packing group (PG) and mode of transport, packages have net quantity limits for each of the inner packagings (receptacles), and air shipments also have a total (aggregate) net quantity limit per package. Furthermore, for all modes, Limited Quantity packages have a 30 kg (66 lb.) gross weight limit.  These limits are found in the Dangerous Goods list and packing instructions for the material being offered for shipment.


One or more receptacles and any other components or materials necessary for the receptacles to perform their containment and other safety functions and to ensure compliance with the minimum packing requirements of these Regulations.  This definition includes boxes (fiberboard, wooden, plastic, etc.), drums, jerricans, absorbent materials (such as vermiculite), cushioning material (such as foam peanuts, bubble wrap, etc.), adhesive tape (for package closure), inner packagings (such as glass, plastic or metal receptacles including their closure caps/lids, etc.), plastic liners, and any other materials used to create a package that meet the requirements of the packing instruction and the general packing provisions.


The art and operation by which articles or substances are enveloped in wrappings and/or enclosed in packagings or otherwise secured.

Packing Group

An indication of the relative degree of danger presented by various articles and substances within a class or division. Roman numerals I, II and III are used to represent high, medium and low danger, respectively.