Dry Ice Shipping Information
Advantages of Shipping with Dry Ice
Frozen and perishable food can be safely shipped using dry ice. Dry ice keeps shipments cold, saving product waste and money. With three times the pound-for-pound cooling capacity of ordinary wet ice, dry ice is very cost-effective. The main advantage of shipping with dry ice is that unlike water, dry ice does not convert to a liquid state. Instead, dry ice sublimates, i.e., turns directly from a solid to a gas. When a product is shipped with dry ice, the packaging material and the product itself will not be saturated with water.
There are special container systems for shipping with dry ice. Foods such as cheesecake or steaks are protected by the dry ice ship container. Continental Carbonic has Styrofoam™ coolers and other shipping containers available for purchase at 45 of our locations.
Basic Safety Requirements for Shipping with Dry Ice
Certain simple steps must be followed for the safe and responsible use of dry ice. Dry ice risks include explosion and skin contact hazards. These risks can be properly managed by following the basic rules for shipping with dry ice.
- Gas Venting - Packages must allow for release of carbon dioxide gas. The dry ice cannot be sealed in a container with an airtight seal.
- Package Integrity - The packaging must also have the ability to withstand the loading and unloading process. The container must also close properly in order to prevent loss of contents that is caused by vibration and/or changes in temperature, humidity, or altitude. Plastics can be damaged or weakened by the use of dry ice and should be avoided.
- Proper Labeling - Be sure to check with your carrier for proper labeling instructions.
- Proper Handling - Gloves should always be used when handling dry ice.
Dry Ice Shipping Regulations
The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) set federal rules that govern the shipment of dry ice.
For air transport, the amount of dry ice per parcel is limited to five pounds or less. In general, poundage is unlimited for ground shipments. Shipments containing dry ice must carry a Class 9 DOT miscellaneous hazardous material warning label and must be clearly marked "Carbon Dioxide Solid, UN 1845" or "Dry Ice, UN 1845."
Links for shipping with dry ice, information and regulations:
- The US Postal Service Guidelines for Shipping with Dry Ice
Scroll to 10.20.4 to find Dry Ice Guidelines
- FedEx (USA shipping) Guidelines for Shipping with Dry Ice
- UPS Guidelines for Shipping with Dry Ice
How Much Dry Ice is Necessary?
When using dry ice for shipping, it is important to determine how much dry ice is needed to maintain the proper temperature throughout the entire shipment. Continental Carbonic's helpful staff can advise on specific dry ice recommendations based on products and shipping conditions.