USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #12-0128 ([SGS North America] [Mr. Terry M. Thompson])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: SGS North America

Individual Name: Mr. Terry M. Thompson

Location State: TX Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

September 26, 2012



Mr. Terry M. Thompson
SGS North America
8701 New Trails Drive, Suite 175
The Woodlands, TX 77381

Ref. No. 12-0128

Dear Mr. Thompson:

This responds to your June 4, 2012 letter requesting clarification of the small quantity exceptions under § 173.4 of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Your understanding is that petroleum crude oil (UN1267) may be shipped under the conditions outlined in § 173.4. Additionally, in your letter, you describe plans to package an article (i.e., a pyncnometer) consisting of a metal cylinder that has a capacity of 10 mL and will be used to transport the crude oil for research analysis. You request clarification of the meaning of "prototype testing" as used in § 173.4(a)(6). Specifically, you ask whether the packaging must be independently tested using your inner receptacles or whether you can use a commercially produced outer packaging already tested for loads greater than 64 pounds.

Your understanding of the eligibility of crude oil for the small quantity exceptions is correct. Class 3 (flammable liquid) material such as petroleum crude oil (UN1267) may be transported under the conditions of § 173.4. The phrase "prototype testing" is not defined in the HMR. Its common meaning refers to an original model on which something is patterned; or a first full-scale and usually functional form of a new type or design of a construction. Finally, the completed package (as prepared for transportation) must be capable of sustaining the testing in § 173.4(a)(6). A successfully tested commercially available packaging similar to your intended completed package that differs only in minor respects may be used without undergoing further testing provided this difference would not affect its performance under requirements specified in § 173.4(a)(6). For example, you could switch out the inner metal receptacles of a successfully tested packaging with your pyncnometers.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have further questions, please contact this office.



Robert Benedict
Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.4 Small quantities for highway and rail