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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 #17-0140

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: RCN Corporation

Individual Name: Richard J. Lloyd

Location State: PA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Richard J. Lloyd
RCN Corporation
31 Bastian Lane
Allenton, PA 18104

Reference No. 17-0140

Dear Mr. Lloyd:

This letter is in response to your December 19, 2017, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to transportation of lithium metal batteries by vessel. You describe several scenarios involving overpacks containing packages of lithium metal batteries (UN 3090), lithium metal batteries packed with equipment (UN 3091), and lithium metal batteries contained in equipment (UN 3091) that meet the conditions for exceptions found in both the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code Special Provision 188 and 49 CFR 173.185(c).

You ask if the lithium battery handling marking, the "PRIMARY LITHIUM BATTERIES—FORBIDDEN FOR TRANSPORT ABOARD PASSENGER AIRCRAFT" mark, the "LITHIUM METAL BATTERIES—FORBIDDEN FOR TRANSPORT ABOARD PASSENGER AIRCRAFT" mark, or the "CARGO AIRCRAFT ONLY" label must be replicated on an overpack containing packages of UN 3090 or UN 3091 for vessel transportation.

The answer is no. For vessel, highway, and rail transportation the overpack is not subject to the marking requirements of §§ 173.185(c), 171.25(b)(3), or the currently incorporated edition of IMDG Code (Amendment 38-16) Special Provision 188. Therefore, the overpack would not require the lithium battery handling marking, the "PRIMARY LITHIUM BATTERIES—FORBIDDEN FOR TRANSPORT ABOARD PASSENGER AIRCRAFT" mark, the "LITHIUM METAL BATTERIES—FORBIDDEN FOR TRANSPORT ABOARD PASSENGER AIRCRAFT" mark, or the "CARGO AIRCRAFT ONLY" label, even if the packages inside the overpack are required to bear any of the above markings.

Please note that Special Provision 188 has been amended in the next edition of the IMDG Code (Amendment 39-18). Effective January 1, 2020, the IMDG Code would require the reproduction of the lithium battery handling marking on the outside of the overpack, unless the mark is clearly visible on a package inside the overpack. Additionally, the overpack must be marked with the word "OVERPACK." PHMSA will consider this provision in a future rulemaking action.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.

Sincerely,

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

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.25 Additional requirements for the use of the IMDG Code