Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Journal of HazMat Transportation

A Publication of PRI International, Inc.

Volume 31, Number 2 July/August 2020

In This Issue   

PHMSA Penalties:  May and June 2020  

DOT Rule and Rulemaking Summary     

Compliance Dates: Login to and find links to these resource under Critical Dates in the top navigation bar.                    


Discussions on Recent PHMSA Interpretations

  • Materials of Trade
  • Carriage by Public Highway, Loading and Unloading, General Requirements
  • Specifications for Portable Tanks, Bottom Openings
  • Lithium batteries and cells
  • Shipper Responsibility, Class 4 Definitions, and Class 4 Assignment of Packing Groups
  • Shipping Papers

By Christopher Lind, Technical Advisor

DOT Special Permits

A Review of Newly Issued Special Permits issued in June and July for Lithium Batteries, Sanitizing Solutions, Chlorine, Opening of Packages, and Stainless Steel IBCs for High Pressure PGII Liquids
By Christopher Lind, Technical Advisor

Mr. Lind takes a critical look at the special permits issued by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration during the months of June and July, 2020. Read for relevant coverage of critical topics from lithium batteries to IBCs.

Dangerous Goods Packaging

Requirements for Shipping Empty IBCs   
By Christopher Lind, Technical Advisor

A question arose regarding whether empty IBCs containing hazardous residues  are required to be part of a site hazmat registration. Mr. Lind responds on the basis of UN 31HA1 type composite IBCs.

Lithium Batteries

NTSB Report Urges Tighter Standards for Air Transportation of Lithium-Ion Batteries
By Glenn Wicks, The Wicks Group

Braille Battery, Inc. had failed to comply with federal regulations and international provisions which resulted in the destruction of commercial property and could have resulted in a far more serious air incident involving a cargo jet. NTSB asserts that the testing required by PHMSA for limited production applications often does not meet the rigorous standards of UN 38.3 and is moving forward with recommendations to PHMSA and ICAO.

Legislative Reports 

HMTA Reauthorization Legislation Passes in the House  
By Cynthia Hilton, Legislative Advisor

Legislation to reauthorize the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act for five years, from fiscal year 2021 to 2025, “Improving Hazardous Materials Safety Act of 2020,” was introduced by House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio as part of a larger $500B legislative package to address surface transportation needs when the “FAST” Act expires at the end of FY 2020. Ms. Hilton provides a riveting look at the ongoing budget situation in the US.

UN Reports

Update to Our Pre-Meeting Report on Proposals to be Discussed at the 57th Session of the UN Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods  
Compiled by JHMT Staff with proposals reviewed and commented on by Chris Lind, Technical Advisor

The 57th session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (SCETDG), has been postponed for November 30 to  December 8, 2020. Mr. Lind reviews proposals and comments that were provided by delegates by members in a special online delegate” room” and a special web based meeting. He also provides updates based on the discussions at the recent PHMSA pre-meeting. 

Pre-Meeting Report on Proposals to be Discussed at the 39th Session of the UN Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals 
Compiled by JHMT Staff with proposals reviewed and commented on by Dr. Michele R Sullivan, PhD, Technical Advisor

Dr. Sullivan provides a thorough look at the currently available working and informal papers submitted to the postponed and upcoming 39th session of the United Nations Sub- Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. There will only be three sessions in the current biennium, so extra attention and care is recommended.

Reader Inquiries

Marine Pollutant Shipment Exceptions    
By Senior Technical Advisor Frits Wybenga

Responding to a real-life situation, Mr. Wybenga reviews the key moving parts in a dilemma regarding marine pollutant shipment exceptions. Involved are the subjects of classification; exception for nonbulk packagings of marine pollutants; class 9 placarding, and CDL hazmat endorsement requirements and carrier acceptancee.

Overlap of IMDG, IATA, and US DOT concerning Poison By Inhalation (PIH)
By Chris Lind, Technical Advisor

In addition to fielding day-to-day questions from readers, The Journal also periodically requests direct input from subscribers via formal questionnaires. This report is one result of our most recent, with an individual requesting clarification on the overlap of IMDG, IATA, and US DOT regulations on the transport of Poison by Inhalation (PIH), also called Toxic by Inhalation (TIH).

Shipping Shock Absorbing Devices 
By Frits Wybenga, Senior Technical Advisor

Taking inspiration from a reader's request for advice, this report looks at that case and aims to provide instruction for others shipping similar shock absorbing devices under similar circumstances.


Assignment of Packing Groups for Corrosive Materials    
By Christopher Lind, Technical Advisor

Mr. Lind provides clarification in a matter regarding corrosion rates and assignment of packing groups. He offers additional advice for those who might be exporting.

Transportation Risk Management

Conducting a Transportation Risk Assessment: Part 4 of a Series  
By Cherry Burke, Technical Advisor

In the latest entry in her series on transportation risk management, Ms. Burke focuses on the risk assessment phase. This phase is meant to further an understanding of the risks associated with an activity and the risk mitigation strategies in place.

Comments on DOT Interpretations   
The Journal of HazMat Transportation’s Exclusive Comments on the U.S. DOT Letters of the Hazardous Materials Regulations 
By Frits Wybenga, Senior Technical Advisor

  • IMDG Code SP279 and 172.101(b)(1); Classification on the basis of human experience
  • UN3528 Machinery, internal combustion, flammable liquid powered

U.S. DOT Letters of Interpretation of the Hazardous Materials Regulations: May and June 2020. 17 letters sorted, indexed and provided verbatim.         

Copyright 2020, PRI International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Journal of HazMat Transportation and its Digital Edition is published bi-monthly and HazMat Alerts are issued severally per month by PRI International, Inc. Subscription licensing inquiries and letters to The Journal of HazMat Transportation should be directed to PRI International, Inc., P.O. Box 3144, West Chester, PA 19381-3144, tel. (610) 436-8292, or fax (610) 436-9422. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Reproduction in part or whole, or the derivation of content for external or internal redistribution via print, facsimile, electronic, or any other means, of content presented in The Journal of HazMat Transportation (print and digital) editions, HazMat Compliance Alerts, The HazMat Reference Gateway™, and The HazMat Compliance DataBase™  is prohibited without explicit prior written permission from the publisher (see Title 17 USC),  or unless commercial arrangements have been made via subscription license, available to all subscribers. Violators may be subject to fees by PRI International, Inc.  PRI International, Inc. will enforce its intellectual property rights to the fullest extent provided by United States and International law against all violators.

Single user content licensing and multiple user agreements are available which provide for rights to the internal distribution of content. Call (610) 436-8292 for information.  Complete intellectual property provisions and guidelines for use are found at

PRI International, Inc. hereby disclaims responsibility for any statements made or opinions expressed in its publications by individual or group contributors. 

Have a Question for The Journal?

If you have any questions or comments regarding our content, our website, or hazardous materials/dangerous goods transportation, please contact us.