PHMSA is publishing an ANPRM to identify ways to reduce the regulatory burden for persons who ship consumer products containing hazardous materials in the “reverse logistics” supply chain. Reverse logistics is the process that is initiated when a consumer product goes backwards in the distribution chain. It may be initiated by the consumer, the retailer, or anyone else in the chain. Therefore, the process may involve consumers, retailers, manufacturers, and even disposal facilities. PHMSA anticipates publishing an NPRM that will propose to simplify the regulations for reverse logistics shipments and provide avenue means for regulatory compliance that maintains transportation safety.
For shippers of hazmat rail cars, STARS foresees that PHMSA and FRA will need to properly define a “residue tank car” for the portion of these regulations which will pertain to rail reverse logistics.
PHMSA issued a final rule under Docket Number HM-216B. The final rule incorporated several widely used and longstanding rail special permits into the regulations: DOT SP-7616, 9388, 12095, 12905, 14333, and 14622. The final rule also incorporated two AAR petitions for rulemaking: P-1497 concerning the use of electronic shipping papers, and P-1567 concerning the removal of the AAR-600 portable tank program.
PHMSA has cancelled their plans to effectively abolish the combustible hazard class in HM-242. Despite the benefits to international commerce, non-bulk shippers did not want to lose the associated relief and bulk shippers were reluctant to send them as non-hazardous because of the very real hazards posed during transport. On April 5, 2012, PHMSA published their intent to revise the regulations pertaining to combustible liquids, a classification unique to US domestic transportation. PHMSA intended to harmonize these rules with existing international standards, which do not currently regulate combustible liquids (those liquids with a flashpoint of 141-200 degrees F). They also discussed revising the marking and placarding requirements of these materials and expanding current exceptions. However, due to negative feedback from the industry, PHMSA withdrew the advance notice of proposed rulemaking.
PHMSA published an NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) to address appeals to HM-215K International Harmonization Rules (1/1/2011 – 12/31/2011). Among other items, PHMSA proposed extending the ORM-D transition period by two years. The ORM-D (Consumer Commodity) hazard class is supposed to be phased out in stages through1/1/2013 for air or 1/1/2014 for rail, highway, and vessel when it will be dissolved completely. However, due to comments from the regulated community, PHMSA has now proposed to extend only the rail, highway, and vessel phase-out period of ORM-D until 1/1/2015.
Also, when the final rule is issued, the old limited quantity marking of the square-on-point with UN Number will be permitted until 12/31/2012 for air and 12/31/2013 for rail, highway, and vessel. After that the new black and white mark with a Y will be required for air (1/1/2013) and the blank black and white mark will be required for rail, highway, and vessel (1/1/2014). See below.
- The old Square-on-Point LTD QTY marking will be permitted until 12/31/2012 (AIR) and 12/31/2013 (RAIL, HIGHWAY, VESSEL)
- The Y LTD QTY Marking be required for air transport of LTD QTY 1/1/2013.
- The Blank LTD QTY Marking will be required for rail, highway, or vessel transport of LTD QTY 1/1/2014.
PHMSA published their intention to pursue several miscellaneous rulemakings in HM-219 NPRM including:
- Certification Package Marking and Recordkeeping Requirements
- Clarification of Alcohol and Gasoline Mixtures
- Self-Reactive Solid Type F
- Plastic Drum and IBC Material of Construction Standards
- Dangerous Cargo Manifest Location
- Table of Portable Tank T Codes
- Smokeless Powder, Division 1.4C