The term "transport" is used in a general sense and includes both sending and receiving biological materials through the most commonly-used means of transport. These biological materials are classified by transport regulations (e.g. ADR or IATA) as hazardous (class 6.2 and class 9) or non-hazardous (exempt) merchandise.
Class 6.2 (category A or category B infectious substances) comprises substances that contain, or can be reasonably expected to contain, human or animal pathogenic agents.
Class 9 (miscellaneous) includes modified microorganisms that are not dangerous to humans or animals but which could cause changes in animals, plants, or bacteria, or to the ecosystem. It also includes microorganisms that are dangerous to the environment, which must be carried under the conditions specified by the competent authorities in the source country.
When it is necessary to transport biological material that could present a risk of infection, the so-called basic triple-packaging system must be used and the applicable packaging instructions adhered to. Non-hazardous biological materials must also be transported safely, so as to make any leakages or spills unlikely, avoiding unnecessary alarm caused by exposure to the material.
The ADR is applicable whenever merchandise is carried on public roads, whatever the means used. On the other hand, it is not applicable to transport between university buildings that are near to each other, even when separated by a public road. The biological materials must in any case be safely packaged.
All transport of hazardous biological materials outside the UAB campus must be carried out by companies that comply with current national and international regulations on the carriage of hazardous merchandise. In some cases it may be necessary to obtain special licences or permits for exporting, importing or transporting biological materials, for example: human pathogens, animal pathogens, plant pathogens, seeds, wild animals, phytopathogenic insects, non-commercialised genetically modified organisms, biotoxins, human samples, exotic plants and animals, non-endemic animal or vegetable products, dual-use biological material, biohazardous wastes, corpses, etc. These formalities may take some time to complete, so it is important to begin them as soon as possible.