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Interpretation Response #13-0006 ([Baker Hughes] [Mr. Aubrey R. Campbell])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Baker Hughes

Individual Name: Mr. Aubrey R. Campbell

Location State: TX Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

February 6, 2013     




Mr. Aubrey R. Campbell
Senior Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor
Baker Hughes
2001 Rankin Road
Houston, TX 77073

Reference No.: 13-0006

Dear Mr. Campbell:

This is in response to your December 10, 2012 email, and your December 7, 2012 telephone conversation with a representative in the Hazardous Material Information Center concerning transport of several package types in service beyond the requalification date under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180).  Your questions are paraphrased and answered below:

Q1)  Under the HMR, is it possible to transport empty cylinders, intermediate bulk containers (IBC's) and portable tanks by highway to the test facility for retesting when the requalification date has passed, or is it necessary to apply for a special permit?

A1)  A special permit is not necessary.  Under the HMR, a cylinder, IBC, or portable tank filled before its requalification becomes due may remain in service until it is emptied, and may be transported in commerce by highway, rail, aircraft, or vessel all applicable HMR requirements are met (see §§ 173.301(a)(6) for cylinders; 173.35(a) for IBC's; and 173.32(a)(2) for portable tanks).  The intent of the aforementioned sections is to permit packagings, filled prior to the retest date, to be transported to their ultimate destination for emptying and to permit their return to the shipper or a test facility for retesting.  A cylinder, IBC, or portable tank past its test date may not be filled or topped off with a hazardous material and transported in commerce. After emptying, a cylinder, IBC, or portable tank due for retest may not be refilled and offered for transportation unless it has been inspected and retested in accordance with Part 180, Subparts C, D and G of the HMR. However, a cylinder, IBC, or portable tank with a specified service life may not be refilled and offered for transportation after its authorized service life has expired (see §§ 173.301(a)(7) and 180.205(c)).

Further, the requirements for shipping empty packagings previously containing a hazardous material are provided in §173.29.

Q2) Is it PHMSA's intention to align with the paragraph of IMDG code?  This provision allows for (1) a portable tank filled prior to the date of expiry of the last periodic inspection and test to be transported for a period not to exceed three months (2) a portable tank to be transported when empty for purposes of performing the next required test or inspection and (3) a portable tank to be transported for a period not to exceed six months, unless otherwise approved by the competent authority, beyond the date of expiry of the last periodic test or inspection to allow for the return of dangerous goods for proper disposal or recycling.

A2)  See A1.  The HMR allows for a portable tank, cylinder, and IBC filled prior to the requalification date to remain in service until empty, and subsequent transport, therefore the provisions of the HMR are already compatible with the IMDG code.  The IMDG code also has similar provisions for pressure receptacles (cylinders) (see IMDG code and IBC's (see IMDG code

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


Delmer Billings
Senior Regulatory Advisor
Standards and Rulemaking Division

173.301(a)(6), 173.35(a), 173.32

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.301 General requirements for shipment of compressed gases and other hazardous materials in cylinders, UN pressure receptacles and spherical pressure vessels
173.32 Requirements for the use of portable tanks
173.35 Hazardous materials in IBCs