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

Interpretation Response #12-0150 ([Horizon Lines] [Mr. Clifford Bartley])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Horizon Lines

Individual Name: Mr. Clifford Bartley

Location State: FL Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

October 1, 2012

Mr. Clifford Bartley
Horizon Lines
5800-1 William Mills Street
Jacksonville, FL  32226

Ref. No.:  12-0150

Dear Mr. Bartley:

This responds to your July 11, 2012 letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to marking requirements for cargo containers.  Specifically, you state that your company ships refrigerated cargo in reefer containers.  The reefer containers have safety markings (as pictured in your letter) on the back door of the container to provide guidance to equipment users.  These marking are generally placed on the container by the manufacturer and have been noted on similar reefer equipment used by other container carriers.  You ask if these markings would be a violation of § 172.502(a)(2).

The answer is yes.  Displaying or affixing a sign, advertisement, slogan, or device on a transport vehicle or freight container that, by its color, design, shape, or content, could be confused with, or mistaken for, a hazard warning label or placard is prohibited under §§172.401(b) and 172.502(a)(2)) of the HMR.  This prohibition is intended to limit the potential for dilution of hazard warning communication provided by the appropriate hazardous materials labels and placards.  It is the opinion of this Office that the marking pictured in your letter is not sufficiently distinct from a placard referenced by the HMR.  Therefore, this logo is prohibited under the provisions of §§ 172.401(b) and 172.502(a)(3).

I hope this satisfies your inquiry.  Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


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

172.502, 172.401

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.401 Prohibited labeling
172.502 Prohibited and permissive placarding