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Hazardous Goods and Unacceptable Shipments

DHL eCommerce is committed to the safe handling and transportation of dangerous or hazardous goods. All shipments containing hazardous materials must be properly classified, described, packaged, marked, labeled and in proper condition for transportation. Please see below for our policies on the shipping and handling of lithium batteries and goods classified under the Limited Quantity Guidelines.

Also see below for our specific Policy on Unacceptable Shipments.

Battery Shipping Policy

DHL eCommerce accepts Lithium Metal and Lithium-ion batteries and cells for shipping in its Domestic and International networks. Please refer to the DHL eCommerce Battery Shipping Policy for further details.

Limited Quantity Policy

DHL eCommerce only ships hazardous goods classified under the Limited Quantity and Consumer Commodity guidelines that are shipped via our Domestic “Ground” service and to Canada via Parcel Direct (PLT) ground destinations only. All shipments of this type must be approved prior to shipment.

Approval Process

For customers interested in shipping dangerous goods, an approval process is required prior to tendering to DHL eCommerce. Upon approval, Limited Quantity goods may be shipped using our Domestic Ground Service, and to Canada via Parcel Direct (PLT) ground destinations only. Please see the Canada Parcel Direct (PLT) Limited Quantity Excluded Zip Code List for a complete list of excluded Canadian zip codes.

To safeguard shipments, customers sending Limited Quantity classified items, incorrectly declaring goods, tendering prohibited items or tendering such goods to ship via our Expedited service prior to approval, may be subject to fines and penalties.

Please view these documents and resources for complete details:

Unacceptable Shipments

DHL eCommerce does not agree to carry and will not accept any liability for items which it is not permitted to carry, cannot safely carry, or for any goods described below:

Unacceptable Shipment Policy

  1. Goods that are classified as hazardous material, non-approved * dangerous goods, prohibited or restricted articles by IATA (International Air Transport Association), ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), ADR (European Road Transport Regulation on dangerous goods), DOT (U.S. Department of Transportation), USPS (United States Postal Service), UPU (Universal Postal Union) and any applicable government department or other relevant organization.
  2. Goods with no customs declaration made when required by applicable customs regulations.
  3. Goods with defective or inadequate packaging or that cannot be carried safely by DHL eCommerce.

Prohibited Goods:

  • For our domestic network, Hemp or Hemp based products that either contain more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis, or do not comply with any applicable local, state, or federal laws; all Hemp and Hemp based products in our international network.
  • Shipments whose content, exterior design, transport or storage violate a statutory or authorities' prohibition, in particular any export, import or customs law provisions of the countries of origin, destination or transit, or which require special facilities (e.g. for temperature-controlled goods), safety precautions or permits; these include Shipments or goods whose transport is prohibited according to the UPU Acts, and those whose contents legally violate the intellectual property rights of its rightful owner, including counterfeit or unlicensed copies of products (e.g. brand piracy).
  • Shipments whose content or exterior make-up could injure or infect persons or cause damage to property.
  • Tobacco and tobacco products, including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, loose tobacco, smokeless tobacco, hookah or shisha.
  • Shipments containing alcoholic beverages.
  • Shipments which contain live animals or human remains.
  • Shipments containing narcotics, nicotine, nicotine compounds, vapor or psychotropic substances.
  • Shipments containing electronic cigarettes.
  • Shipments for import to the European Union and the United Kingdom containing components of iron and steel that have originated from or been processed in Russia.
  • Non approved* shipments whose transport and/or storage is subject to dangerous goods regulations; also excluded are all those non-approved* goods which are not completely unrestricted according to the latest IATA and ICAO dangerous goods regulations. In addition, Shippers are required to adhere and comply with the DHL eCommerce Limited Quantity Policy. The most current version of the DHL eCommerce Limited Quantity Policy is available here.
  • Shipments with an actual value of over USD $2,500.
  • Shipments containing cash or other means of payment, precious metals, art work, jewelry, watches, precious stones or other articles of value or securities for which, in the event of damage, no stoppage and no cancellation and replacement procedure can be carried out; for the avoidance of doubt the following valuable goods are exempted from this rule: Shipments using the Registered Mail special service, which contain stamps, telephone cards, vouchers for goods and low-value goods in these classes (e.g. fashion jewelry and promotional articles), up to an actual value of 30 Special Drawing Rights of the International Monetary Fund (SDR) per shipment, and individual tickets and entrance tickets.
  • Shipments for which no or insufficient postage has been paid and which are posted with the intention of surreptitiously obtaining the transport service without payment of the remuneration payable for it.
  • Firearms (including imitation or replica) or parts thereof, ammunition (including replica), explosives, air guns.
  • Explosive or radioactive materials and non-approved* dangerous goods.
  • Shipments that are addressed to natural or legal persons which are enlisted on a sanctions lists which shall be transported to countries for which embargoes are in place.
  • Obscene or immoral articles, pornography.
  • Other articles the importation or circulation of which is prohibited in the country of destination.
  • Lithium batteries that are a) packed with equipment but not installed in equipment, and b) without the equipment they operate (individual batteries) are prohibited from being shipped through the DHL eCommerce Expedited Max and Expedited network or International network (with the exception of Canada). In addition, Shippers are required to adhere and comply with the DHL eCommerce Battery Shipping Policy. The most current version of the DHL eCommerce Battery Shipping Policy is available here.
  • DHL eCommerce does not agree to carry, and will not accept any liability for liquids unless tendered in the below described manner (as noted in the USPS DMM 601.3.4).

Shippers are required to mark the outer container of the tendered mail piece containing liquids to indicate the nature of the contents.

All shipments containing liquids should be packaged in the following way:

  1. Use screw-on caps, soldering, clips, or similar means to close the mail pieces containing liquids. Do not use only friction-top closures (push-down types).
  2. Liquids being shipped in steel pails and drums with positive closures, such as locking rings or recessed spouts under screw-cap closures, may be mailed without additional packaging.
  3. Glass and other breakable containers of liquid with a capacity of more than 4 fluid ounces must be triple-packaged according to the following requirements:
  • Cushion the primary container with material sufficient to absorb all leakage in case of breakage.
  • Place the primary container inside another sealed, leak proof secondary container, such as a can or plastic bag.
  • Use an outer mailing container that is strong enough to protect the contents.
  • Mailers may use containers certified by the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) that passed ISTA's Test Procedure 3A. Mailers must provide their ISTA 3A Package-Product Certification Notice at the time of mailing as verification that the mail pieces they are submitting passed the required performance test.

All shipments containing liquids are required to be packaged as to ensure safe carriage with ordinary care in handling.

*Approval may be revoked by DHL eCommerce at any time. 

The Shipper, whether principal or agent, warrants to DHL eCommerce that the content of the Shipment may be lawfully carried aboard airline, aircraft or other federally regulated carriers and is not a Prohibited Good, is properly packaged or sheathed for the purpose if necessary. Shipper further agrees to disclose true and accurate information if requested by DHL eCommerce. Notwithstanding any other rights of DHL eCommerce, Shipper shall indemnify and hold harmless DHL eCommerce from any all claims of third parties that may incur as a result of a transport of Prohibited Goods or other excluded or illegal goods. The contractual liability of DHL eCommerce on the basis of culpable conduct of DHL eCommerce or its agents remains unaffected.

Should a Shipment contain a Prohibited Good or should it by its nature (size, format, weight, contents etc.) or in another way not comply with the terms stated herein DHL eCommerce shall be entitled to: i) refuse to accept the item or ii) return an item which has already been handed over and accepted or hold such an item for collection or, iii) transport the item without notifying the Shipper, using a different route from the agreed route (e.g. overland and by sea rather than by air freight as planned) – should this be necessary and/or statutorily prescribed, and to subsequently request an appropriate additional charges. The same shall apply if the Shipper refuses to provide information at DHL eCommerce request if DHL eCommerce has the suspicion that a Shipment contains Prohibited Goods or in case of a suspicion about any other breach of contract.

DHL eCommerce shall not be obliged to inspect the Shipments for any exclusions of transport. However, if DHL eCommerce suspects that the Shipment may contain Prohibited Goods, DHL eCommerce shall be entitled to open and check the Shipments. Furthermore, DHL eCommerce will also undertake regular checks as required by applicable air security regulations. If goods are discovered which may not be transported as air freight as originally agreed or planned or for which there is a well-founded suspicion that they may not be transported as originally agreed, DHL eCommerce, notwithstanding shall be entitled to transport the goods overland or by sea.