GGVSEB – German Dangerous Goods Regulation

What does the GGVSEB regulate?

This regulation primarily governs the transport of dangerous goods by road and rail, as well as by ship in inland waterways. It applies within Germany, across national borders and within a community.

To whom does the GGVSEB apply?

The regulation applies to all persons involved in the transport of dangerous goods.

Who or which office regulates what?

The responsibility for …

  • … issuing regulations lies with the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport
  • … rail transport lies with the Federal Railway Authority
  • … chemical materials lies with the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM).
  • … radioactive materials lies with the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management
  • … the military sector lies with the Defence Scientific Institute for Materials and Explosives
  • … genetically modified organisms lies with the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment
  • … training of accompanying personnel lies with the chambers of industry and commerce
  • … issuing licences for the transport of class 7 hazardous goods (radioactive materials) lies with the Bavarian State Office for the Environment

Other offices involved in terms of responsibility are:

  • the Federal Office for Goods Transport
  • the Federal Ministry of Defence
  • the Federal Motor Transport Authority

General safety obligations

A disproportionately high effort would have to be made to instruct every person involved about the safety obligations to be fulfilled. The regulation therefore obliges all parties involved to take their own measures to prevent damage. The measures to prevent foreseeable hazards are coordinated according to their type and possible impact.

If, for example, a motorist exceeds the legal maximum speed, he must assume that in the event of a collision with another vehicle, the environment will suffer considerable damage due to the escape of the hazardous load. This is a foreseeable danger.

With regard to road traffic, the vehicle driver is obligated to inform the authorities nearest to the place of the incident if it can be assumed that there is a particular danger to others.

The respective carrier in rail transport must inform the railway infrastructure manager responsible.

What are the best-known obligations in this regard?

The regulation obliges those involved in the transport of dangerous goods to observe the regulations laid down in the ADR, RID, ADN and GGVSEB. (§§17 to 34a)

The documentation of the obligations of those involved (chapter 1.4 ADR, RID, ADN), which previously had loopholes, led to the comprehensive formulation of the GGVSEB. According to no. 17.0 RSEB, the obligations of the GGVSEB apply if the obligations according to the ADR, RID or ADN do not coincide with those of the GGVSEB.


Road and rail transport

The other obligations in §26 GGVSEB have now also been expanded.

  • Shippers,
  • fillers,
  • carriers in road and rail transport,
  • operators of a tank container and drivers of a vehicle in road transport, and
  • operators of a wagon or large container in rail transport,

are therefore obliged to observe the regulations in §36b (reference annex 3 GGVSEB) when carrying heated liquids or solids (UN 3257,3258) in bulk (section 7.3.3 VC 3 ADR/RID).

Road transport

The additional obligations regarding road transport concern drivers, receivers, shippers, carriers and those involved in road transport.

If the drivers are not able to take the degree of filling of liquid substances (except liquefied gases) or if they are not able to indicate the maximum degree of filling when they fill themselves, the maximum degree of filling shall be assumed to be 85%. Previously, this degree was 90%.

In the future, the tightness of the closing devices must be checked by the vehicle drivers after filling, in the case of tanks, battery vehicles and MEGCs. In addition, according to §29, section 4, they must ensure that the required markings (7.5 CV 36 and CV 37 ADR) are affixed to vehicles and containers.

Rail transport

Additional obligations regarding rail transport relate to:

  • the sender’s customer
  • operators of tank wagons, portable tanks and battery wagons
  • railway infrastructure companies
  • passengers and carriers

Inland waterway transport

Carriers and shipmasters must ensure that the systems and equipment used on board in potentially explosive areas meet the requirements of section 7 of §27.

New obligations await them in accordance with §26 GGVSEB if owners of a reception point for gases and vapours discover serious incidents resulting from empty or discharged loading and unloading pipes.

Administrative offences

Intent and negligence are defined in §37 with reference to decisive paragraphs of the GGVSEB, in the content of §10 section 1 no. 1b). With regard to punishment, the RSEB refer to the opportunity principle laid down in §47 OWiG. There, they provide information on how to deal with the various negligence offences and their standard fines. In addition, the rates of warning fines for minor administrative offences are found there. Both are listed in annex 7 RSEB, differentiated by addressee.