Transport of dangerous goods by water


This issue is monitored by the Dangerous Substances Committee.

The applicable regulation is the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Inland Waterways (ADN).

The Central Commission has also drawn up a set of safety directives for the loading and unloading of tanker vessels, known as ISGINTT.


The Dangerous Substances Committee (MD)

Committee Mission

  • Adaptation and development of the ADN Agreement;
  • Cooperation regarding the coming into force and updating of the ADN Agreement – (Group WP.15 / AC.2 - UN-ECE) and adaptation in relation to other regulations;
  • Monitoring of regulations and training concerning those responsible for dangerous substances;
  • Analysing accidents in connection with the transport of dangerous substances and acting on the conclusions;
  • Prevention of accidental water pollution;
  • Specific barge safety problems: gas venting, double-hull vessels;
  • Improvement of the vessel/land interface for the loading and unloading of dangerous substances.

Committee Chairman: Mr. EL KAHLOUN, Expert from the Belgian delegation
Secretariat: Mr. KEMPMANN

Schedule of meetings


Agreement on Dangerous Goods

Agreement applicable from 1 January 2011: ADN

To order:


History of regulation of dangerous goods

Since the 19th century (1838) the Central Commission has drawn up specific rules for the transport of dangerous goods on the Rhine (cannon powder, explosives, poisonous and corrosive substances, etc.).

The ADNR regulation dates from 1971. A new version came into force on 1 January 1995. This new version underwent in-depth restructuring to ensure improved harmonisation with the ADR (road) regulations and RID (railway) regulations. (For example, in each of the three regulations Chapter 1.3 deals with the harmonised rules for training of personnel.) Restructuring was completed in 2002, and the new restructured version came into force in 2003.


Recent developments

Following a resolution in May 2008 (2008-I-25 127 KB 111 KB 127 KB ), the CCNR updated the ADNR regulation, making two major additions:

  • the introduction of new criteria for rating the hazard posed by substances in terms of water pollution and health;
  • progressive transition from single hulls to double hulls (May 2008 press release).

Following contact in 1995 with the UN-ECE, the CCNR was heavily involved in drawing up the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Inland Waterways. These negotiations led to the signature of an agreement on 26 May 2000 in Geneva. The new agreement, known as ADN, came into force on 29 February 2008. The regulation annexed to this agreement was chiefly based on the terms of the ADNR. The updated ADN regulation came into force on 28 February 2009. The CCNR for its part decided that following a period of transition the ADN regulation would supersede the ADNR. This took effect on 1 January 2011. The resolution adopted by the CCNR to this end, based on the exercise of its powers under the Mannheim Convention, provides for a range of adoption mechanisms (resolution 2009-II-20 90 KB 89 KB 88 KB ).

In parallel to these developments, the European Community adopted a Directive on the inland transport of dangerous goods (Directive 2008/68/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 September 2008). The new directive applies the ADN regulation to transport of dangerous goods by inland waterway within or between Member States by 30 June 2011 at the latest.


Structure of the Agreement on Dangerous Goods

Structure of the ADN

Part 1General provisions
Part 2Classification
Part 3Dangerous goods list, special provisions and exemptions related to limited and excepted quantities
Part 4Provisions concerning the use of packagings, tanks and bulk cargo transport units
Part 5Consignment procedures
Part 6Requirements for the construction and testing of packagings, intermediate bulk containers (IBCS), large packagings, tanks and bulk containers
Part 7Requirements concerning loading, carriage, unloading and handling of cargo
Part 8Provisions for vessel crews, equipment, operation and documentation
Part 9Rules for construction

New measures on dangerous goods


In a bid to harmonise international regulations, the CCNR amended its regulation for the transportation of dangerous goods on the Rhine (ADNR) to reflect the amendments made to road transport regulations (ADR), rail transport regulations (RID) and sea transport regulations (the IMDG Code). These amendments include a redrafting of the provisions concerning the transport of radioactive substances. Provisions were also made for the marking of packages containing environmentally hazardous substances.

State-of-the-art adaptations

From empirical experience, the maximum volume of cargo tanks is limited to 380 m3 for Rhine standard tanker vessels. New Rhine tanker vessels, just like container-carriers, can be up to 135 m x 22.50 m, whereas the traditional standard is 110 m x 11.40 m. An increase in the size of the vessels with the same maximum unit volume mentioned above for the cargo tanks would result in an increase in the number of tanks and thus the amount of ancillary equipment (connectors, valves, measurement apparatus, etc.). A method developed by the Dutch institute TNO makes it possible to deal with volumes in excess of 380 m3 at no increased risk. This method entails the evaluation of construction processes for tanker vessels with energy absorption capacities in the event of a collision in excess of those of a standard vessel. This method has been incorporated into the ADNR regulation. In addition to allowing for larger tanks, the new provision also allows intervals between double-hulls other than the standard 80 cm inter-hull gap, and the use of new materials.

Transport by tanker vessel of hazardous water pollutants and substances that can endanger health

Environmental disasters caused by accidents to seagoing vessels carrying hydrocarbons or other chemical products have raised awareness amongst the general public and politicians. Until now, there was no consideration in inland navigation regulations governing the transport of hazardous substances for hazard criteria relating to water pollutants and substances that can endanger health. It has taken some time to finalise these criteria, but they have now been defined in the "Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)". In the case of transport by tanker vessels on rivers, these criteria go beyond the requirements for road transport (ADR) and rail transport (RID).

In fact, substances that fall into toxicity categories Acute 1 or Chronic 1 (Group N1) must be transported in type C double-hull tanker vessels. Those falling into toxicity categories Chronic 2 or Chronic 3 (Group N2) must be transported in type N double-hull tanker vessels (the new type N double-hull tanker vessel was added to ADNR in 2007). Moreover, substances posing a health risk such as carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic substances (CMR substances) must also be transported in type N double-hull tanker vessels, as must "floating" or "sinking" substances (Floaters and Sinkers). Thus a large number of hazardous liquids such as petrol and diesel, currently transported in type N single-hull tanker vessels must now be transported in double-hull tanker vessels.

It is obvious that turning a single-hull fleet into a double-hull fleet requires an appropriate amount of time to balance the objective to protect the environment with technical and economic realities. These transitory measures have been drawn up in close coordination with the industry. A timeline has now been drawn up in three phases. Special transitory measures have been laid down for single-hull vessels of under 1,000 t, and also for fuellers and oil trap vessels.