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Interpretation Response #13-0151 ([Apragaz V.Z.W. Uw Controle Organisme] [Mr. Chris Vleugels])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Apragaz V.Z.W. Uw Controle Organisme

Individual Name: Mr. Chris Vleugels

Country: BE

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

April 8, 2014

Mr. Chris Vleugels
Design Approval Department
Apragaz V.Z.W. Uw Controle Organisme
Vilvoordsesteenweg 156
B-1120 Brussels

Reference No. 13-0151

Dear Mr. Vleugels:

This is in response to your October 26, 2012 letter forwarded to the Pipeline and
Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on July 19, 2013, by Mr. Richard Hagemeyer, Agmark Corporation, and subsequent e-mails, additional documentation, and telephone calls between you, Mr. Hagemeyer, and members of my staff in which you requested clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to foreign-made United Nations (UN) standard portable tanks, herein referred to as UN portable tanks.  We have no record of receiving your original October 2012 letter, and apologize for the delay in responding and any inconvenience this may have caused.  

In addition to the correspondence noted above, you and Mr. Hagemeyer also provided the following information.  The foreign-made UN portable tanks:  

• Meet the European Standard (EN) 14025 metallic pressure tank design specification, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) VIII, Division 1 design specification, or both;
• Meet the T1 and T22 codes under § 172.102(c)(7) of the HMR, and have a minimum wall thickness according to the pressure vessel code that is 5 or 6 mm of reference steel or equivalent in conformance with § 178.274(d);   
• Are designed to transport hazardous materials meeting the following hazard classes:  3 (flammable liquid), 4 (flammable solid), 5 (oxidizer or organic peroxide), 6 (poisonous), 8 (corrosive), or 9 (miscellaneous); and  
• Are manufactured by companies that have not been inspected by a representative of the United States government.  

Specifically, you ask if these portable tanks may be loaded and unloaded with a hazardous material authorized for that container before and after transportation into, from, or within the United States.    

The answer is yes.  Under § 173.24(d)(2) of the HMR, a UN standard packaging, including a UN portable tank, manufactured outside of the United States in conformance with national or international regulations based on the UN Recommendations on the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (Recommendations) is an authorized packaging, as this term is defined under § 173.24(c)(1), when:  1) the packaging fully conforms to applicable provisions in the UN Recommendations and the requirements of 49 CFR Part 173, Subpart B, including reuse provisions; 2) the packaging is capable of passing the prescribed tests in 49 CFR Part 178 applicable to that standard; and 3) the competent authority of the country of manufacture provides reciprocal treatment for UN standard packagings manufactured in the United States.

In addition, when transported to, from, or within the United States, § 171.25(c) requires UN portable tanks used to transport gases to comply with the HMR.  Further, UN, and other types of portable tanks transported to, from, or within the United States must comply with the following requirements prescribed in § 171.25(c)(1)-(c)(4):  

(1) UN portable tanks must conform to the requirements in Special Provisions TP37, TP38, TP44, and TP45 when applicable, and any pertinent bulk special provisions assigned to the hazardous material in the § 172.101 Hazardous Materials Table;
(2) International Maritime Organization (IMO) Type 5 portable tanks must conform to Department of Transportation (DOT) Specification 51 or UN portable tank requirements, unless specifically authorized in the HMR or approved by the Associate Administrator;
(3) Except as specified in 49 CFR Part 171, Subpart C, for a material poisonous (toxic) by inhalation, the T Codes specified in Column 13 of the Dangerous Goods List in the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code may be applied to the transportation of those materials in intermodal (IM), IMO and DOT Specification 51 portable tanks, when these portable tanks are authorized in accordance with the requirements of the HMR; and
(4) No person may offer an IM or UN portable tank containing liquid hazardous materials of Class 3, Packing Group (PG) I or II, or III with a flash point less than 100 °F (38 °C); Division 5.1, PG I or II; or Division 6.1, PG I or II, for unloading while the portable tank remains on a transport vehicle with the motive power unit attached unless that person ensures the conditions prescribed in § 177.834(o) are met.

Please note that under 49 CFR Part 107, the HMR does not require foreign facilities that manufacture UN portable tanks to be inspected by a designated approval agency or approved by PHMSA’s Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety.

Further, please be advised that PHMSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on December 30, 2013, under Docket No. PHMSA-2010-0019 (HM-241; 78 FR 79363; that can be downloaded from this website location:  One of the changes we proposed in this NPRM is to authorize use of the 2013 edition of the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors’ National Board Inspection Code as it applies to existing cargo tank motor vehicles and portable tanks constructed to the ASME’s Section VIII, Division 1 standard.    

I hope this response satisfies your request.


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


171.25, 172.102 SP T1 & T 22, 178.274(d)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.25 Additional requirements for the use of the IMDG Code
178.274 Specifications for UN portable tanks