Please note that, in this section, the term "Dewar" refers to both actual dewars and parcels

For the transport of reimbursed MX samples from/to Russia and India, the users should contact the User Office.

Since 16 April 2018, the ESRF pays for the transport costs of samples to and from the ESRF for all public peer-reviewed Structural Biology (MX) experiments on the following basis :

  • On ID23-1, ID23-2, ID29, BM29, ID30A-3, ID30B, BM30A and CM01: the ESRF will pay for either a user to travel to the ESRF or a dewar of samples to be sent to the ESRF, up to the maximum number of users/parcels allowed for the experiment:
    • 3 in total for BAG experiments
    • 3 in total for Rolling XRD or Bio-SAXS experiments
    • 2 in total for Rolling Cryo-EM experiments
    • 1 for offline experiments
  • On ID30A-1 (MASSIF-1) : the ESRF will pay the transport cost of 1 dewar per shift of beamtime used on this fully automated beamline.

Both users and parcels must be registered through the electronic A Form, and the users must create and manage the shipment of dewars/parcels using ISPyB/EXI. ESRF-paid dewars must be sent using FedEx under the ESRF account number.


This page describes the procedure to follow to prepare and organise the transport of Structural Biology (MX) samples to the ESRF with the transport costs paid for by the ESRF. Please read it carefully.

Main steps:

  1. Registration of the reimbursed dewars in the electronic A Form
  2. Creation of the shipment, identification of reimbursed dewars and generation of transport labels through ISPyB/EXI
  3. FedEx request form for shipping the dewars to/from the ESRF

1. Registration of dewars in the A FORM

  • Once the experiment is scheduled in the ESRF User Portal, the proposers receive the invitation by e-mail; the A Form is available and can be completed by the Main-Proposer.
  • The Main Proposer must indicate as usual all users who will be coming for the experiment, and the number of ESRF-paid dewars (or other parcels of samples) to be sent and/or the users to be reimbursed by the ESRF. Reimbursed users are selected using the appropriate checkbox for each user as usual, and the number of reimbursed dewars requested can be selected using the available pull-down menu in the "Reimbursed dewars" section.


The information on reimbursed users and dewars/parcels selected for the session is only transferred to the Travel Office and to ISPyB/EXI once the A-form has been submitted, not when it is saved. Modifications to the selection of reimbursed users and dewars can therefore be made if the A-form has only been saved, but must be avoided if the A-form has already been submitted since travel and accommodation reservations will have already been triggered and reimbursed dewars may already have been identified and sent in ISPyB/EXI. The Main Proposer is therefore requested to carefully plan the user/dewar reimbursement request BEFORE submitting the A-form.

Detailed instructions on how to register the dewars in A Form (point 5: "Structural Biology experiments only").

  • Once the A Form is submitted, the shipment must then be created and managed using ISPyB/EXI.


2. Shipment of dewars to/from MX beamlines: ISPyB/EXI

A dewar/parcel tracking system has been implemented in ISPyB/EXI that allows shipment, tracking and management of each parcel via a printed labels solution. This system streamlines the whole dewar management process to and from the ESRF Structural Biology Beamlines.

During the creation of your shipment in ISPyB/EXI you will be given two numbers necessary for sending the reimbursed dewars to the ESRF: the ESRF FedEx account number and the session reference number. Please note them carefully.

Connect to ISPyB/EXI using the following credentials provided in the A Form of the experiment, "Session" tab:

  • Proposal account login: experiment number (mx1234)
  • password: the experiment password used to access the NICE account (password in "Session" tab)

4 Steps


  • Register the name of the user,
  • Select the experimental session: please make sure that you select the correct session as this will determine the reference number specific to the session that will be issued by ISPyB/EXI;

    This reference number:

    • corresponds to: the experiment number/the beamline number/the dates of the session (ex: mx-1234/ID29/15-04-2018)
    • links the dewars to a specific session at the ESRF and will enable a correct follow-up of the shipments and corresponding invoices,
    • MUST be registered in the FedEx document as "your reference/votre référence" (see "Dewar Transport by FedEx" below).
  • Register the number of dewars/parcels
  • Save

Note: users are not obliged to use FedEx for the transport of their non-reimbursed dewars, any other company can be used. In this case the name of the company must be registered in the appropriate section "Courier accounts details for return" when creating the shipment.

2. Add DEWARS  (-> Add a Component to this shipment)

The maximum of reimbursed dewars/parcels allowed for the experimental session and the reference number of the shipment are indicated above the list of added dewars.

  • A list of dewars is created,
  • For each dewar added, actions allowed (click on icon):
    • view the pucks in dewar
    • View the samples in dewar
    • edit the dewar
    • select/unselect the dewars as reimbursed
    • Upload/print labels
    • delete the dewar


  • Click on the Euro icon to select/unselect the dewars/parcels to be reimbursed by the ESRF,
  • Details on the reimbursement of a dewar are given in a window, as well as:
    • the session reference number
    • the ESRF account number
  • check the box "I agree, please set this dewar to reimbursed" to set a dewar as "reimbursed"
  • the reimbursed dewars are identified by a "R" in the list
  • to change the status of a dewar from reimbursed to non-reimbursed: click on the Euro icon and untick the box in the window.

The number of dewars/parcels registered as "reimbursed" by the User will be indicated in green at the top of the list of dewars.

4. Print the barcoded ISPyB/EXI labels

The labels for the reimbursed dewars will automatically contain "FedEx" as the courier company with the ESRF account number. The labels for non-reimbursed dewars will contain the name of the other company if another company was registered when creating the shipment, or show a blank entry otherwise.

  • Label 1 must be stuck on the dewar,
  • Label 2 must be stuck on the transport box,
  • Label 3 must be placed inside the transport box, to be used for the return trip.

The ESRF FedEx courier account number has changed on 08/09/2020. Make sure you use the recent one!

NOTE: regarding the sending of samples in dry-ice: The ISPyB labels 2 and 3 need to be modified to suit this type of transport as follows:

  • "Frozen samples in Dry-shipper for experiments at ESRF" should be converted to "Frozen samples in Dry-ice for experiments at ESRF" and the second sentence 'Not restricted, as per IATA special provision A152' should be erased with a marker pen as shown on this example
  • An 'UN1845 for dry ice' label should be attached to the parcel with the weight of the dry ice concerned.


3. Dewar Transport by FedEx

Please ensure your dewars are sent at least 3 working days before the experiment starts and that the delivery takes place during week days 08:30-12:00 and 13:00-17.00. The ESRF stores are closed at the weekends and for French and ESRF holidays: No deliveries can take place on any of these days.  Should you experience any issues with sample deliveries through Fedex, do not hesitate the User Office.

Arrange the transport of your reimbursed dewars TO and FROM the ESRF by FedEx. For more details, please also see the Structural Biology beamlines page on How to label and address your dewars.

Please follow the instructions below very carefully, so that the shipping costs are covered on the correct budget and that the return of your dewar from the ESRF beamlines is correctly organised.

  • On the FedEx website,
    • login using your institution credentials, or create an account if you do not have any,
    • go to the Shipment Manager
  • Fill in the destination address :
    ESRF Magasin,
    71 avenue des Martyrs,
    38000 Grenoble.
    Tel: 33(0)476882733.
  • Fill in the details of the dewars/parcels:
    The weight of a cold CP100 dewar with pucks is 20 kg and a customs value of 10-50€ should be selected
  • Please use FedEx International Priority shipping
  • Dewar dimensions are 40 x 40 x 60 cm3
  • For billing information (point 4 "Details de la facturation" on document below):
    • select the "Recipient/Destinataire" to be billed for the transport
    • enter the ESRF account number that was provided when creating the shipment in ISPyB/EXI - This number has changed on 08/09/2020. Make sure you use the recent one!
    • enter the SESSION REFERENCE NUMBER (created in ISPyB/EXI) in the "your reference/votre référence" field
  • IMPORTANT : Please select "Include a return label", this will allow the seemless return of your dewars. If your Laboratory doesn't have a FEDEX account, this option won't be available on-line. Please fill-in a FEDEX paper form for the return of your samples.

  • For NON European Union countries: you will then need to fill in a second page to declare the type and the country of origin of the goods. You will also now need to add your institute's EORI number on the export documents (proforma or invoice).

Please be aware that any abuse of the account number (ie shipments not to or from the ESRF for experiments on the Structural Biology beamlines) will result in the users having the right to send dewars revoked.

See below for an example of a shipping document