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Interpretation Response #02-0328

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date: 02-26-2003
Company Name: CSX Lines LLC    Individual Name: Cliff Bartley
Location state: FL    Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Feb 26, 2003

Mr. Cliff Bartley                 Reference No. 02-0328
Corporate Manager Hazardous
5800-1 William Mills Street

Jacksonville, FL 32226

Dear Mr. Bartley:

This is in response to your letter dated October 7, 2002, to Commandant (G-MSO-3), U. S. Coast Guard, in which you requested guidance on the intent of the provisions found in § 176.69(a) and (c) of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180).  In essence, you asked whether those provisions require stowage of packages of hazardous materials near the door end of a freight container when the container contains a mixed load of hazardous and non-hazardous goods.

The answer is no, the provisions in § 176.69(a) and (c) do not address the location of cargo within a container.  In addition, there is no explicit requirement elsewhere in the HMR that would require stowage of hazardous materials at the door end of a container.  In particular, § 176.76 provides detailed provisions for the stowing and securing of cargo within containers but does not require stowage of hazardous materials at the door end.  Other considerations, including the need to effect proper weight distribution within a container, make it difficult to impose such a restriction.  Section 176.39 provides additional provisions for the inspection by vessel personnel of cargo while it is on board a vessel but again that section does not impose such a requirement and states in part: "However, freight containers or individual barges need not be opened." None of the foregoing is intended to limit compliance inspections of cargo, however, and when such inspections are conducted, the Coast Guard or another enforcement agency may require devanning cargo to inspect the hazardous materials, especially where packages of those materials may not be readily accessible.

The corresponding provision in the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, however, differs from the HMR.  Paragraph of the IMDG Code contains a provision that reads: "When a dangerous goods consignment forms only part of the load of a cargo transport unit, it should, preferably, be packed so as to be accessible (such as packing near the doors of the cargo transport unit)." A similar recommendation is contained in the IMO/ILO/UN ECE Guidelines for Packing of Cargo Transport Units found in the Supplement to the IMDG Code.  Paragraph 4.3.7 of those guidelines states: "Dangerous cargoes consignments which form only part of the load of a CTU (cargo transport unit) should, whenever possible, be packed adjacent to the doors with markings and labels visible.  Particular attention is drawn to 3.3.1 concerning the securing of cargo by the doors of a unit."

I hope you find this information responsive and helpful.  If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.

Hattie L. Mitchell
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
§ 176.69 General stowage requirements for hazardous materials