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The IMDG Code has undergone many changes over the years, in both formats and content, in order to keep up with the rapid expansion of the shipping industry. Amendment 36-12 includes revisions to various sections of the Code and to transport requirements for specific substances. It was adopted by IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) at its 90th session in May 2012.
The MSC had previously agreed that the Code as it was adopted in 2002 would be mandatory as from 1 January 2004. The Code as amended by Amendment 36-12 is mandatory as from 1 January 2014 but may be applied by administrations in whole or in part on a voluntary basis from 1 January 2013.
The Code lays down basic principles: detailed recommendations for individual substances, materials and articles, and a number of recommendations for good operational practice, including advice on terminology, packing, labelling, stowage, segregation and handling, and emergency response action.
The two-volume Code is divided into seven parts:
Volume 1 (parts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the Code) contains sections on:
- general provisions, definitions, training
- classification- packing and tank provisions
- consignment procedures
- construction and testing of packagings, IBCs, large packagings, portable tanks, MEGCs and road tank vehicles
- transport operations.
Volume 2 contains part 3 (Dangerous Goods List, special provisions and exceptions), appendix A (generic and N.O.S. Proper Shipping Names), appendix B (Glossary of terms) and an index.