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The Sanitizer Exporting Playbook

As the coronavirus continues spreading through the world, there’s been a spike in demand for preventative health goods other than masks, such as hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, and disease detection agents.

But these are not simple goods to export! Because they contain controlled substances, it’s critical for businesses looking to export these goods to understand the required documentation and processes involved in successfully getting these to their destinations. Read on and we’ll help you become experts in successfully exporting sanitizers!

How are sanitizers classified?

According to the regulations of the Emergency Management Department's 2015 Catalog of Hazardous Chemicals, ethanol solutions with a content of more than 24% are dangerous goods, meaning alcohols with a content of more than 24% are dangerous goods!

The following are all dangerous goods, and must be operated in accordance with the International Air Dangerous Goods Regulations and International Maritime Dangerous Goods Regulations:

Product image Product name Classification
Image 75% alcohol wipes Dangerous good
Image 75% alcohol wips Dangerous good
Image 75% hand sanitizers Dangerous good

What documents will I need?

When shipping from China, ALL OF THE FOLLOWING are needed!

Document name
Document name
Sample image
Dangerous Goods
Packing Report (DGM)
运输鉴定报告 Image
Product technical
产品技术说明书 Image
Material Safety
Data Sheets (MSDSs)
化学安全品 Image

How can I ship hand sanitizers?

By Air - Probably not

Unfortunately, even with all the documentation, it’s unlikely airlines will accept carrying your shipment.  

Because these are classified as dangerous goods, airlines often choose to minimize their risk and reject shipping them.

By Ocean - Yes!

As long as you have all the documentation, and submit them to boat carriers, they would usually accept your shipments. However, they may ask you to split your goods if you are shipping by LCL (Less than Container Load), meaning your shipment isn’t taking up an entire container.

Shipping to the US

In the United States, hand sanitizers are purchased over-the-counter (OTC), and are subject to FDA regulation like anti-dandruff shampoos and sunscreens. Although they are pharmaceuticals, the compliance requirements for most OTC products are relatively simple.

Generally, the FDA will review the active ingredients used in OTC medicines and issue an OTC Monograph. This is equivalent to the active substance standard. For OTC products, as long as the active ingredients in the OTC product meet the requirements of the OTC Monograph, direct FDA approval is not needed.

Wrapping up

As you can see, shipping hand sanitizers and other alcohol-based cleaners isn’t technically complex, but does require all of the appropriate documentation to be provided. If you have any questions that this article didn’t answer, feel free to reach out to us at bookings@bookairfreight.com.

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