The Advanced Photon Source
a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility

Use of Dry Shippers (for biological macromolecules)

(Sections 8 and 9 of the "Hazardous Material Transportation" APS User Policy & Procedure APS_1410268)

Dry Shippers

Dry shippers are specially designed shipping containers that keep materials at liquid nitrogen temperatures for extended periods with no free-flowing liquid and are not regulated by the DOT. Properly packaged dry shippers that do not contain hazardous materials may be treated as nonhazardous shipments. Regardless of the designation of the material being shipped, it is the user's responsibility to ensure that the shipment does not contain any free-flowing liquid nitrogen. Empty dry shippers must be at room temperature or they are subject to IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations Packing Instruction 202.

The DOT has approved the air cargo transport of dry shippers containing cryogenically preserved nonhazardous biological samples preserved in small quantities of certain frozen refrigerants, by any shipping party, to and from the APS (refer to the following section 9). These air shipments shall be arranged by the Argonne Shipping and Receiving Department. Because of the time-critical nature of many of these shipments, APS users are allowed to transport properly labeled and packaged shipments on the Argonne site. To ensure the timely preparation of the shipment, the user should make advanced arrangements with the Argonne shipping department, including the identification of any special shipping requirements (e.g., the user should alert the Shipping Department of the inclusion of infectious agents or other hazards associated with the shipment).


Beamline representatives trained in transportation safety, the shipping department, PSC User Safety Officer, and APS ESH Coordinators are all available to answer questions about shipping requirements or direct you to the appropriate resources to resolve any questions.

For additional information contact: User Safety Officer or APS Biosafety Officer


The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has approved an Argonne request that"authorizes the cargo air transport of small samples of biological macromolecules (e.g., proteins, enzymes, antibodies, ribosomes, non-restricted viruses, DNA, RNA, etc.) contained in deeply refrigerated flammable or non-flammable gas and packaged in a 'dry shipper' charged with liquid nitrogen." In a dry shipper, the cryogenic fluid has been immobilized in an absorbent material in the dewar. DOT regulations have previously permitted the use of dry shippers, the request approval now allows for the air transport of biological samples preserved in small quantities of propane, ethane, chlorodiflouromethane, and other refrigerant gases. A copy of the approval (number CA- 199807017, second revision dated October 22, 2002), including packaging requirements, labeling requirements, and other special provisions, is attached for your reference. Note: 1) this authorization applies only to shipments to and from Argonne, and that there may be additional requirements for transporting your shipment outside of the United States (refer to section 6c); and 2) there are additional measures that are required for transporting infectious agents, and guidance can be provided by Argonne/ESH transportation safety personnel.

You must ensure that your in-bound or out-bound shipment meets all of the requirements specified in the attached DOT approval.

Argonne-originated shipments

To arrange for your dry shipper to be picked up for an outbound shipment from Argonne, contact Argonne Site Services Material Handling personnel. The arrangements will include where and when to pick the package up and Beamline contact.

The following must accompany the material to be shipped:


  1. A completed Argonne Shipping Order (form ANL-126), providing the off-site shipping information,
  2. A completed Hazardous Material Manifest/Cargo List (form PFS-SS/MAT 001, copy attached, follow link below), providing the on-site driver with the on-site transport directions and a manifest, which includes proper shipping name, DOT hazardous classification and UN number (for assistance contact Argonne shipping at 630.252.2934),
  3. MSDS, to help expedite shipping department hazards identification and verification of the material classification), and
  4. Per the DOT requirement, a copy of the DOT approval letter (follow link below).
Shipments to Argonne

The DOT approval includes requirements that any individual that prepares hazardous materials for transportation is trained on the requirements and conditions of the approval, as well as on the general requirements of DOT regulations (refer to section 6 d of the DOT approval for specific federal regulation references). Argonne encourages you to use the trained shipping personnel at your home institution and ensure that they are aware of the conditions of the DOT approval. Additional HazMat personnel training can be provided through Argonne and is available from the DOT. (On-line DOT HazMat and training information can found on the DOT web-sites ) Be aware that you should verify that the air carrier you plan on using will accept the shipment for transport and determine whether the carrier has any the specific requirements of their own. Currently Argonne has worked with FedEx, who has agreed to accept these shipments from Argonne.

Beamline safety personnel and the Argonne shipping department (telephone 630.252.2934) can provide guidance and can answer your questions regarding the shipment of hazardous materials.

Attachments: NOTE - both attachments are PDF documents

DOT Approval CA-199807017 - rev. 2, 22 Oct. 2002
Hazardous Material Manifest/Cargo List, form PFS-SS/MAT 001 (Rev. 4/99)

Please contact the APS User Safety Program if you have any questions or can not access the internal links

Reviewed: December 12, 2020