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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 #15-0175 ([Mr. Elliot Apland])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name:

Individual Name: Mr. Elliot Apland

Location State: WY Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

February 24, 2016

Mr. Elliot Apland
Crude Oil Sales Representative
455 N. Poplar
P.O. Drawer 2360
Casper, WY 82601

Reference No. 15-0175

Dear Mr. Apland:

This responds to your August 17, 2015 email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically, you provide a sample bill of lading (BOL) for a crude oil rail shipment and outline the roles of several parties involved in the shipment.

You state in your email that Company A owns the crude oil and railcars. Company C owns the crude oil loading unit train terminal in Wyoming. Company C has a contractor, Contractor 1, who provides moving and loading services at the loading terminal. Contractor 1 arranges for Company A's crude to be loaded into Company A's railcars and prepares the railcars for shipment, including preparing shipping papers. Contractor 1 signs the certification indicating everything was done in accordance with the regulations. You ask if the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) takes exception with listing Company A as the shipper on the BOL.

The answer is no. Company A may be listed as the shipper on the BOL. Under the HMR, any person performing functions of an offeror, as defined in § 171.8, must take responsibility for performing those functions in accordance with the applicable requirements. Based on your description, Contractor 1, at the direction of or through contractual arrangement with Company C, performs offeror (shipper) functions, such as preparing the railcars for shipment and signing the certification. Listing Company A as the shipper on the BOL does not necessarily relieve Contractor 1 or Company C of its offeror responsibilities. The degree of regulatory liability is usually determined on a case-by-case basis and is dependent on the facts of the specific situation.

I hope this satisfies your inquiry. Please feel free to contact us if you need further assistance.



Duane A. Pfund
International Standards Coordinator
Standards and Rulemaking Division


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations