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Can sensitive items be transported in cross-border logistics?

Time:February 21, 2023

What are sensitive goods?

Defining sensitive goods is relatively complicated, as different countries, regions, and airlines may have different definitions.

Sensitive goods generally refer to items that are prohibited or restricted due to concerns regarding air transport, illegal activities, or strict regulations from relevant authorities. There is no clear definition of sensitive goods, and different countries, regions, and airlines may have different policies. International transportation is much more complex than domestic transportation, and goods are generally classified into three categories: general goods, sensitive goods, and prohibited goods. Sensitive goods fall between general goods and prohibited goods, involving some items with less strict regulations.


What are the common types of sensitive goods?


-Battery category-

Batteries can affect magnetic fields and interfere with aviation safety, making them restricted items for air transport. Lithium, a highly reactive metal, can cause intense reactions and generate heat if lithium metal batteries are impacted during transportation, potentially leading to fires. Examples include 3C products, small appliances, mobile phones, watches, cameras, computers, etc.


-Unstable items, such as liquids and pastes -

These items are prone to vaporization and heating during air transport, potentially causing physical explosions. They are also restricted items for air transport. Most of these items are cosmetics, such as nail polish, face masks, and mascara.


-Magnetic goods -

Magnetic items can generate electromagnetic waves during high-speed flights or interfere with aviation signals due to their magnetic fields. They are also restricted items for air transport. Examples include speakers, speaker accessories, transducers, buzzers, sound systems, loudspeakers, speaker cabinets, radios, etc.

-Food and medicine -

These items may involve bio-invasion concerns, and international transport requires quarantine certificates. If not quarantined and certified, they are considered sensitive goods. Examples include meat snacks, biscuits, instant noodles, self-heating hot pots, hot pot base materials, anti-inflammatory drugs, and traditional Chinese medicine products.

-Designer brands and luxury items -

These items often involve legal disputes related to intellectual property rights. Imitations of branded items and counterfeit products are considered sensitive goods. Examples include Chanel, Nike, etc.


-CDs, etc. -

Printed materials, films, photos, records, tapes, laser discs, computer storage media, and other items that may be harmful to the political, economic, cultural, or moral aspects of the destination country or involve international secrets.


-Valuable artwork, etc. -

Valuable items are prone to theft, robbery, and other risks, making them sensitive goods. Sensitive goods are generally restricted for export, and both air transport and international courier services officially do not accept sensitive goods transportation. However, this does not mean they cannot be transported at all. They can be shipped through specialized sensitive goods international courier agents via special channels.