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MSDS Certificate In International Shipping: How Does It Help?


Sumana Sarmah

Specialist - Marketing @ Shiprocket

March 16, 2023

4 min read

MSDS certificate

The Material Safety Data Sheet, also known as the MSDS certificate, is legally required in multiple global destinations when importing authorised dangerous goods from India. The certificate is either printed or written, according to the availability, content, and format of the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) legislation.

The validity of an MSDS certificate is a maximum of 3 years and is required to be updated every 3 years. 

What Is MSDS Certificate? 

An MSDS certificate is a regulatory document that contains information on the composition and potential risks of a controlled product being manufactured, sold, or shipped in and beyond the country. 

The MSDS documentation is a mandatory requirement if you’re an Indian eCommerce business exporting restricted items from India to the world. Thus, it is recommended to keep a Material Safety Data Sheet handy when shipping hazardous goods like flammable liquids, laptops, batteries, etc. abroad to avoid any legal penalties. 

How To Obtain An MSDS Certificate? 

To obtain an MSDS certificate, one must first have the following documentation in hand – 

  1. IEC Code: The Import Export Code is a 10-digit identification number required to start exports from India to a foreign country. 
  2. GST Registration of your global business
  3. Product details such as ingredients, manufacturing details, and product images for submission. 
  4. Business Details: The identification properties of a business such as business email id, telephone number, and brand website are required. 

Apart from having the above documentation handy, here’s a step-by-step process on how to obtain an MSDS certification –

Documentation Submission

If you’re a business involved in transporting hazardous/dangerous goods, you must first submit the above-mentioned documents to a legal service provider to draft up a Material Safety Data Sheet. 

Certification Fee 

After the documents submitted for MSDS certificate are properly vetted and verified by legal personnel, there is a minimal fee required to be paid. 

Drafting And Handover To Business Owner

Post submission of both documents and certification fee, the MSDS certificate is drafted with all details of the product such as chemical or physical properties or characteristics, first aid, and safety measures while handling and transporting it. 

Benefits Of An MSDS Certificate

An MSDS certificate helps in transferring product safety information to a product’s manufacturers, distributors, and courier services.  

  • It contains detailed information on hazardous chemicals and carries information on how to handle them according to the chemical’s nature.
  • It contains a guide to usage and tips for storage and transport of the dangerous good
  • It provides information on how to operate the product/good in light of an emergency response. 
  • The MSDS certificate is a precautionary document to be submitted at customs office for legal compliance in the chemical registration system.

Need For MSDS Certificate In eCommerce Exports 

An MSDS certificate is important for exporting your products outside India due to various reasons. Firstly, it acts as a declaration that the products being shipped are not mistaken, perceived, or related to prohibited goods in the destination country. Submitting an MSDS certificate is primary along with the airway bill and invoice as it helps standardise your product as a regular shipment.

Secondly, every country has a different set of rules and regulatory requirements. Hence to label a product as an authorised dangerous good or a regular shipment, there must be proper packaging and transportation guidelines in place. An MSDS certificate keeps the warehousing and transportation team informed of these guidelines and helps avoid hassles at customs. 

Did you know that for OHSAS 18001 compliance, MSDS certification is a must to comply with the respective occupational health and safety standards? 

Lastly, exporters shipping to the European states and North America must mandatorily have MSDS before picking up any orders from these regions. 

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