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Interpretation Response #14-0142

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date: 12-23-2014
Company Name: Transportation Compliance Associates, Inc.    Individual Name: Mr. Mike Alston
Location state: PA    Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

December 23, 2014

Mr. Mike Alston
Transportation Compliance Associates, Inc.
1340 RT 30
Clinton, PA 15026

Ref. No. 14-0142

Dear Mr. Alston:

This is a response to your July 7, 2014 letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) with regard to the use of exceptions for limited quantity and ORM-D materials.  In your incoming letter, you describe a packaging that consists of multiple cardboard trays that are stacked and placed on a wooden pallet.  This display is then surrounded by cardboard sheeting and banded to the pallet.  You also provide photographs showing the packaging.  Your questions are paraphrased and answered below.

Q1.  Does the packaging configuration as described meet the definition of a “box,” in accordance with § 171.8?

A1.  Yes.  A box is defined in § 171.8 as a packaging with complete rectangular or polygonal faces.  It is the opinion of this Office that your configuration would meet this definition.

Q2.  Would the packaging configuration as described satisfy the requirement of        § 173.156(b)(1)(i) for unitizing in boxes?

A2.  Yes.  The configuration you describe would be acceptable for use of the exception found in § 173.156(b)(1) provided the inner packagings otherwise met the applicable limited quantity requirements specified in § 173.306(a) and it is transported in compliance with § 173.156(b)(1)(ii) and (iii).

Q3.  Would the packaging configuration as described satisfy the requirements of             § 173.156(b)(2)(iii)?

A3.  No.  In order to use the exception found in § 173.156(b)(2), all requirements under that paragraph must be met.  Section 173.156(b)(2)(iii) states that the trays are placed in a fiberboard box which is banded and secured to a wooden pallet by metal, fabric, or plastic straps, to form a single palletized unit.  Based on your configuration the bottom of the tray is being used as the bottom face of the box.  This exception requires the trays be placed in a fiberboard box (having a bottom face).  The bottom face provides a protective layer between the trays and the open slats of the pallet.  Therefore, if the tray is acting as the bottom face of the box it would not satisfy this requirement.  However, if an additional cardboard sheet was placed between the bottom of the tray and the pallet (as if it was the bottom face of a fiberboard box), the packaging configuration would be considered acceptable for the purposes of this exception.

I hope this information is helpful.  If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.


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

171.8, 173.156(b)(1)(i), 173.306(a), 173.156(b)(1)(ii) and (iii), 173.156(b)(2)(iii), 173.156(b)(2)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
§ 173.156 Exceptions for limited quantity and ORM