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The IMDG Code defines “segregation” as the process of separating two or more substances or articles which are considered mutually incompatible wen their packing or stowage together may result in undue hazards in case of leakage, spillage or any other accident. Segregation is obtained by maintaining certain distances between incompatible dangerous goods, by requiring the presence of one or more steel bulkheads or decks between them, or a combination of the previous methods.

Amendment 39-18 of the IMDG has updated once again the segregation provisions for the safe maritime transport of dangerous goods. The information is now displayed in a more comprehensible way, especially regarding segregation groups, and some provisions have been updated to better reflect our knowledge of how dangerous goods might dangerously interact with each other.

Segregation in the IMDG Code is not only a matter of checking the general segregation requirements in the segregation table ( Even if two classes of dangerous goods are compatible in principle, there might be specific provisions that take precedence and dictate that two substances must be segregated. These specific provisions often mention segregation groups, which are families of dangerous goods that share certain similar chemical properties.

Each segregation group is now identified with an alphanumeric code, starting with the letters SGG. For example, SGG2 corresponds to ammonium compounds, while SGG18 indicates alkalis. Acids might be identified by two codes: SGG1, or SGG1a in the case of strong acids.

Segregation Group CodeSegregation GroupDescription
SGG1a1, entries marked ** identifies strong acids
SGG22ammonium compounds
SGG77heavy metals and their salts (including their organometallic compounds)
SGG99 lead and its compounds
SGG1010 liquid halogenated hydrocarbons
SGG1111 mercury and mercury compounds
SGG1212 nitries and their mixtures
SGG1313 perchlorates
SGG1414 permanganates
SGG1515 powdered metals
SGG1616 peroxides
SGG1717 azides
SGG1818 alkalis

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The complete list of segregation groups can still be checked in paragraph of the IMDG Code, just like in previous editions of the Code.

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However, the segregation group codes also appear in Column 16b of the Dangerous Goods List (if that article or substance has been identified as part of one of the segregation groups). They share this space with the segregation codes (used for the segregation special provisions tied to a specific substance or article), which all begin with the letters SG. When looking at Column 16b, now we need to pay attention and not confuse the two codes:

  1. AMENDMENTS TO THE INTERNATIONAL MARITIME DANGEROUS GOODS (IMDG) CODE (AMENDMENT 39-18) Table of Contents Insert a new line for '2.0.6 Classification of articles as articles containing dangerous goods N.O.S.' Amend the contents for chapter 2.8 to read as follows: '2.8.1 Definition, general provisions and properties.
  2. Download IMDG Code for Windows Amendment 39-18. Toggle navigation. IMDG 2020 AMENDMENT 40-20 and IMDG 2018 AMENDMENT 39-18 DIGITAL SUPPORT.
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  • Segregation group codes: beginning by SGG, followed by a number.
  • Segregation codes: beginning by SG, followed by a number.

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The meaning of the segregation codes can be consulted on 7.2.8. Many of them have been updated in the new amendment, and three new ones have been added, for a total of 78 codes.

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Lastly, several substances or articles have been assigned new SG codes, effectively making their segregation requirements stricter. In particular, the codes SG35 (stow separated from SGG1 – acids), SG36 (stow separated from SGG18 – alkalis) and/or SG49 (stow separated from SGG6 – cyanides) have been added to many entries in the Dangerous Goods List.

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2019 is a transition year, in which maritime transport of dangerous goods may follow the provisions of either the previous amendment (38-16) or the new one (39-18). Starting in 1 January 2020, only the new version will be valid, so the new segregation provisions will be mandatory.