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Interpretation Response #14-0128 ([University of Minnesota] [Mr. Michael Maurer])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: University of Minnesota

Individual Name: Mr. Michael Maurer

Location State: MN Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Mr. Michael Maurer
Department of Environmental Health and Safety
University of Minnesota
W-140 Boynton Health Service
410 Church Street S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Ref. No. 14-0128

Dear Mr. Maurer:

This is in response to your June 3, 2014 letter regarding the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR parts 171-180) materials of trade (MOTs) exception. You state that the University of Minnesota-owned Umarket Services (UMS) wants to ship hazardous materials to its warehouse, which operates as a shipment consolidation hub between two campuses with various laboratories and facilities involved in the business of research and education. Shipments of hazardous materials will be transported to and from the warehouse in UMS motor vehicles in support of university work. You ask whether such transportation may be defined in accordance with § 171.8 as MOTs and thus eligible for the MOTs exception under § 173.6.

It is our understanding that the University of Minnesota is a state-run university. As provided in § 171.1(d)(5), the HMR do not apply to the transportation of a hazardous material in a motor vehicle, aircraft, or vessel operated by a Federal, state, or local government employee solely for noncommercial Federal, state, or local government purposes. A state agency (such as a state university) that transports hazardous materials for its own use, using its own personnel and vehicles, is not engaged in transportation in commerce and thus, the HMR do not apply.

For an operation considered in commerce, the scenario you describe would meet the § 171.8 definition of a MOT, in that a hazardous material, other than a hazardous waste, is carried on a motor vehicle by a private carrier in direct support of a business that is other than transportation by motor vehicle. Thus, UMS warehouse transport activities as described above and conducted for commercial purposes would be eligible for the MOTs exception under §173.6.

I trust this information is helpful. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.


Dirk Der Kinderen
Acting Chief, Standard Development
Standards and Rulemaking Division

171.8, 173.6, 171.1(d)(5)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.1 Applicability of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to persons and functions
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations
173.6 Materials of trade exceptions