FAQ on UN Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs)
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Design and Construction
Selection and Use
Leak Testing and Inspection
A UN standardized IBC will have a UN marking displayed on it that meets the marking requirements set out in chapter 6.5 of the UN recommendations or in section 5 of CAN/CGSB-43.146 (if manufactured in Canada).
The marking will be durable, legible, readily visible and at least 12 mm in height. For a composite IBC, the UN marking will be displayed only on the outer casing, not on the inner receptacle.
The following is an example UN IBC primary marking:
- The UN packaging symbol. For embossed markings on metal IBC, the letters “UN” may be displayed instead.
- The IBC code.
The letters designating the packing group for which the IBC design has been tested:
- X - acceptable for Packing Groups I, II and III dangerous goods
- Y - acceptable for Packing Groups II and III dangerous goods only
- Z - acceptable for Packing Group III dangerous goods only
- The month, designated numerically, and last two digits of year of manufacture.
- The country code for the country authorizing the allocation of the mark (eg. CAN).
- The name or symbol of the manufacturer and other identification of the IBC as specified by the country authorizing the allocation of the mark (e.g. design registration number).
- The stacking test load (in kg) or ‘0' if the IBC is not designed for stacking.
- The maximum permissible gross mass (kg), for flexible IBCs, the maximum permissible load (kg).
UN standardized IBCs must be designed, manufactured and tested in accordance with the requirements set out in sections 2 and 3 and Part 1 of CAN/CGSB-43.146. The performance test requirements of section 7 are based on those set out in chapter 6.5 of the UN Recommendations and are specific to each type of IBC. The testing severity is dependent on the packing group for which the IBC is rated. All IBCs must be tested as intended for transport.
Commonly referred to as portable refueling tanks or slip tanks, UN standardized mobile IBCs are UN standardized IBCs intended to be loaded, stored and unloaded while on a means of transport. UN mobile IBCs are subjected to different requirements as detailed in CAN/CGSB-43.146. These requirements can include:
- The marking “Mobile IBC – Do not lift when loaded with product” must be durably applied adjacent to the UN marking for Mobile IBCs designed with lifting lugs or other top lifting devices for which a representative prototype has not been successfully top lift tested.
- The IBC design must ensure vehicle stability if the IBC is to be transported partially loaded.
- Unless they meet the requirements for openings in the liquid space, the openings in the IBC must be located in the vapour space.
- A rollover test must be conducted in addition to the other required performance tests.
- The IBC must not be loaded in excess of 95% of its capacity.
How do I register as a UN standardized IBC manufacturer?
To register as a UN standardized IBC manufacturer, the applicant must submit an application to the Director. Each design of UN standardized IBC manufactured in Canada must also be registered by Transport Canada in accordance with section 11 of CAN/CGSB-43.146.
The registration process is initiated when the manufacturer submits an application for registration to the Director.
When the Director is satisfied that the requirements of CAN/CGSB-43.146 for registration are met, a Certificate of Registration will be issued to the manufacturer. The Certificate of Registration remains valid until its indicated expiry date (normally five years) or its revocation for cause. A renewal application must be submitted to the Director at least three months prior to the current Certificate’s expiry.
All designs of UN standardized IBCs manufactured in Canada must be registered in accordance with section 11 of CAN/CGSB-43.146. The registration process is initiated when the manufacturer submits an application for registration to the Director.
When the Director is satisfied that the requirements of CAN/CGSB-43.146 ffor registration are met, a design registration number for the IBC design will be issued to the manufacturer. All UN IBCs manufactured in Canada must display the design registration number for that IBC design within the UN marking. The design registration numbers will be listed in Appendix A of the Certificate of Registration issued to the manufacturer.
UN IBC manufacturers registered in Canada must have and maintain a quality management system which conforms to ISO 9001 and must be registered with a quality system registrar accredited or recognized by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), or a foreign quality assurance system registrar recognized by the SCC.
Remanufacturers performing only cross-bottling activities are not required to register their quality management system with a quality system registrar however they must adhere to one which meets all the requirements of CAN/CGSB-43.146.
To renew a Certificate of Registration, the certificate holder must submit a written application for renewal to the Director at least three months prior to the active Certificate of Registration's expiry.
A Certificate of Registration is issued to an individual or to a corporate entity who is the certificate holder. A Certificate of Registration may not be conveyed from one certificate holder to another. A name change on a Certificate of Registration is only permitted if the certificate holder remains the same individual or corporate entity as before. In such a case the certificate holder may submit a written request to the Director to apply for an amendment to an existing Certificate of registration. The certificate holder’s address must be kept current. You must advise the Director in writing of any changes to the address of the certificate holder.
Please do not forget to indicate the date on which the change is proposed to become effective.
If you wish to manufacture a UN IBC which is of modified design compared to one which is already tested and registered, you may not need to repeat all the testing, depending on the nature of the change(s). Subsections 8.1 and 8.2 of CAN/CGSB-43.146 specify the modifications that may be made to a registered IBC design type without retesting or with limited testing.
Is my Certificate of Registration for an IBC design issued under the 2002 edition of the standard still valid?
The Certificate of Registration issued under the previous edition of the standard will remain valid until its expiry date or its revocation for cause.
It is the consignor's responsibility to select the appropriate IBC for their dangerous goods consignment. Sections 2,3, and Part 2 of the CAN/CGSB-43.146 standard must be followed for the selection and use of IBC's for transport of dangerous goods. To facilitate selection, the consignor must be familiar with the UN IBC marking. The following are some of the criteria of the standard for selection of a UN standardized IBC:
- The requirements specified in the Packing Instructions in Appendix B of CAN/CGSB-43.146 must be complied with.
- The IBC must have been tested for the packing group of the dangerous goods to be transported.
- The quantity of dangerous goods must not exceed the capacity, maximum permissible gross mass or maximum permissible load marked on the IBC.
- IBCs of code 21 and 31 must have been leak tested and inspected as prescribed within the specified period (please refer to subsection 12.6 of CAN/CGSB-43.146).
- The IBC must be filled and closed in the same manner in which it was tested.
- The IBC must be constructed of a material compatible with the dangerous good.
- For Rigid Plastic or Composite IBCs (31H or 31HZ), the IBC is within its prescribed period of use.
Can I continue to use an IBC manufactured to the 2002 edition of the Standard or must I replace it?
You do not need to replace your IBCs, they are still considered to be in standard, however, you must ensure that all new requirements of the 2016 edition of the Standard are being met. Rigid plastic IBCs and plastic inner receptacle of composite IBCs must be within their period of use.
- a TC, CTC or DOT Specification 56 portable tank instead of a Code 11A, Code 11B or Code 11N IBC if the portable tank meets the requirements specified in clause 12.5.1 of CAN/CGSB-43.146.
- a TC, CTC or DOT Specification 57 portable tank instead of a Code 31A, Code 31B or Code 31N IBC if the portable tank meets the requirements specified in clause 12.5.2 of CAN/CGSB-43.146.
- a ULC/ORD-C142.13 standardized mobile refueling tank instead of a UN standardized mobile IBC if the tank was manufactured before January 1, 2003 and meets the requirements of clause 12.5.3 of the CAN/CGSB-43.126.
- Non-standardized IBCs if permitted by one of the packing instructions.
UN standardized IBCs of any capacity used for liquid dangerous goods and for solid filled or discharged under pressure (IBC code 21 and 31) must be leak tested and inspected in accordance with the requirements set out in Appendix C of CAN/CGSB-43.146.
- UN standardized IBCs must be leak tested and inspected every 30 months
- UN standardized Mobile IBCs must be leak tested and inspected every 60 months
- Lightweight IBCs must be leak tested and inspected before each use.
The leak test and inspection must be conducted by a facility registered with Transport Canada.
Search our database for IBC leak test and inspection facilities registered with Transport Canada.
Before a facility can begin leak testing and inspecting UN standardized IBCs for liquid (IBC code 31) or solid filled or discharged under pressure (IBC code 21) dangerous goods service, the facility must be registered with Transport Canada in accordance with section C1 of Appendix C of CAN/CGSB-43.146. To initiate the registration process, the facility must submit an application to the Director.
A review of the IBC leak test and inspection procedure will be conducted and an inspection of the facility may be conducted. If it is found to comply with the requirements of the standard, a Certificate of Registration will be issued to the facility. The Certificate of Registration remains valid until its indicated expiry date (normally five years) or its revocation for cause.
Is my Certificate of registration as a leak test and inspection facility issued under the 2002 edition of the Standard still valid?
In order to retain your registration as a leak test and inspection facility, you must submit updated procedures and a quality management system in accordance with Appendix C of CAN/CGSB-43.146-2016 by January 12th, 2018.
An IBC that has been successfully leak tested and inspected in accordance with Appendix C of CAN/CGSB-43.146 will be marked with the letter “R”, the month and year of the leak test and inspection, and the Transport Canada Certificate of Registration Number of the leak test facility. For example:
R / 05-16 / 33-222
For more information on matters pertaining to CAN/CGSB-43.146:
Inquiries pertaining to applications for registration:
After choosing the language (1 for English, 2 for French), press option 1.
Please include the text "IBCs" in the subject line.
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