PHMSA Issues Notice on International Standards Enforcement

Support for the USMCA

On Oct. 1, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline Hazardous Materials Administration (PHSMA) issued a notice of enforcement policy regarding international standards. The notice recognizes that many offerors and carriers of hazmat in international transport will soon be adhering to requirements in the internationally-adopted International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 2021-2022 Technical Instructions and Amendment 40-20 of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code). However, DOT’s current Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) authorize offerors and carriers to use the 2019-2020 Edition of the ICAO Technical Instructions and Amendment 39-18 of the IMDG Code.

The PHMSA Enforcement notice aims to mitigate this inconsistency. PHMSA coordinated its enforcement discretion with the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the United States Coast Guard. Accordingly, the notices states:

PHMSA gives notice that while we: (1) continue to evaluate whether to propose the inclusion of the 2021-2022 Edition of the ICAO Technical Instructions and Amendment 40-20 of the IMDG Code in a future notice of proposed rulemaking; and (2) potentially adopt these updated standards in a future final rule, we will not take enforcement action against any offeror or carrier who is using these standards when all or part of the transportation is by air with respect to the ICAO Technical Instructions, or all or part of the transportation is by vessel with respect to the IMDG Code.

Additionally, PHMSA and its modal partners will not take enforcement action against any offeror or carrier who offers or accepts for domestic or international transportation by any mode packages marked or labeled in accordance with the ICAO Technical Instructions or the Amendment 40-20 of the IMDG Code.

PHMSA’s notice provides temporary enforcement discretion while the agency continues to consider adopting updated editions of the ICAO Technical Instructions and IMDG Code into the HMR.  This notice is limited to the use of the standards incorporated by reference in 49 CFR § 171.7(t) and (v). Offerors and carriers must comply with all other obligations under the HMR and other applicable laws.

The temporary enforcement discretion will remain in effect until withdrawn or otherwise modified.

Contact ACA’s Rhett Cash for more information.

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