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Interpretation Response #12-0138 ([Southeast Testing and Engineering] [Mr. Charles Radev])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Southeast Testing and Engineering

Individual Name: Mr. Charles Radev

Location State: GA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

January 7, 2013

Mr. Charles Radev
President and Chief Executive Officer
Southeast Testing and Engineering
1325 Capital Circle, Suite D
Lawrenceville, GA  30043

Reference No. 12-0138

Dear Mr. Radev:

This is in response to your June 25, 2012, and July 19, 2012 e-mails and telephone calls and your August 9, 2012 telephone call with a member of my staff requesting clarification of the testing requirements for Large Packagings under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180).  Specifically, you ask how to properly test a fiberboard, UN 50 GW Large Packaging under the HMR that is authorized under the terms and conditions of Competent Authority (CA) Approval CA 2006030023.  You state this packaging contains Packing Group II, "UN 0336, Division 1.4G," and "UN 0337, Division 1.4S" fireworks that the shipper places in a variety of inner packagings and configurations in response to customer orders.  You also state these packages are shipped from China to the United States (U.S.) by vessel, and from a port area in the U.S. to customers in North America by motor vehicle and/or railcar.  Further, you state testing all possible configurations of the packaging and preparing the test report on each are time consuming and difficult.  You ask if the packaging can be tested once in a manner that accommodates all the shipper's packaging configurations. 

The answer is yes.  Normally, under § 178.601(c)(4), any change to the structural design, size, material of construction, wall thickness or manner of construction from the originally produced and tested packaging, unless specifically excepted, meets the definition of a "different packaging" and requires new design-type qualification testing.  However, the terms of CA 2006030023 do not contain specific requirements for inner packagings except that they must be "suitable for retail sale" and in "plastic-wrapped boxes and plastic bags [that] are suitable inner packagings."  Therefore, only a representative sample of fireworks must be tested and not every possible combination of items. 

The enclosed test report you provided states the outer packaging is a fiberboard UN 50GW/Y250/S/USA Large Packaging that is surrounded in a polyethylene, shrinkwrap overpack, and the entire package is attached to a wooden pallet.  The test report also states the inner packagings consist of one large, multicolored fiberboard store display box, composed of interlocking panels and trays that form up to 10 multi-level, cabinet-like lower compartments and 1 open tray-like top with several vertical dividing interlocking panels.  In addition to photographs of the above-described packagings, the report includes photographs of the fireworks, both individually and grouped together and enclosed in polyethylene film, and engineering drawings of the packagings authorized under CA 2006030023. 

We note that CA 2006030023 is valid until January 31, 2013.  The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) incorporated UN 50 Large Packagings into the HMR on October 1, 2010, in a rulemaking issued under Docket No. PHMSA-06-02536 (HM-231; 9/30/10, 75 FR 60333), but did not authorize these packagings to transport explosives.  PHMSA has issued Special Permit DOT-SP 15615 that allows a Large Packaging to be tested as a non-bulk packaging for fireworks, but it is authorized for domestic transportation by motor vehicle only.  If your customer wishes to continue to transport the fireworks it manufactures by vessel and rail in bulk fiberboard packagings, your customer should contact PHMSA's Approvals and Permits Division at (202) 366-4511 to initiate a new special permit or to modify an existing one.  The requirements to apply for or modify a special permit are prescribed in 49 CFR Part 107, Subpart B, §§ 107.105 and 107.121, respectively.

I hope this satisfies your request.


T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
178.601 General requirements