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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 #23-0052

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Dayton Freight Lines, Inc.

Individual Name: Justin Sharkey

Location State: OH Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

May 10, 2024

Mr. Justin Sharkey
Director of Safety
Dayton Freight Lines, Inc.
P.O. Box 340
Vandalia, OH  45377-0340

Reference No. 23-0052

Dear Mr. Sharkey:

This letter is in response to your May 18, 2023, letter and conversations with my staff requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the shipment of batteries. In your letter, you reference Letter of Interpretation (LOI) 16-0081, in which PHMSA states that an electric storage battery exceeding 400 kg (882 lbs.) and secured to a pallet is considered a bulk package under § 173.159(d)(1).

We have paraphrased and answered your questions as follows:

Q1. You ask whether a battery secured to a pallet and weighing more than 400 kg (882 lbs.)—with a liquid content of less than 450 L—would meet the definition of a bulk packaging when shipped as "UN2794, Batteries, wet, filled with acid, electric storage, 8."

A1. In accordance with § 171.8, for solids, a bulk packaging is a packaging with a maximum net mass greater than 400 kg (882 lbs.). It is the opinion of this Office that the weight of the battery determines whether a package meeting the requirements of § 173.159(d)(1) is considered bulk or non-bulk. Therefore, an electric storage battery exceeding 400 kg secured to a pallet is a bulk package.

Q2. You ask whether a lithium ion battery shipped as "UN3480, Lithium ion batteries, 9" weighing more than 400 kg (882 lbs.) and secured to a pallet would meet the definition of a bulk packaging.

A2. It is the opinion of this Office that the weight of the lithium ion battery, without the weight of the pallet, determines whether the lithium ion battery meets the definition of a bulk package. Therefore, a lithium ion battery that has a net mass greater than 400 kg would be considered a bulk package.

Q3. You state that you typically secure batteries to a pallet with banding, shrink wrap, or bracing screwed to a pallet. You ask whether there is a specific way batteries must be secured to the pallet to meet the requirements specified in § 173.159(d)(1).

A3. In accordance with § 173.159(d)(1), the electric storage batteries must be firmly secured to skids or pallets capable of withstanding the shocks normally incident to transportation. Provided the load secured with banding, shrink wrap, or bracing described in your letter is capable of handling shocks normally incident to transportation, the electric batteries firmly secured to skids or pallets would be in conformance with § 173.159(d)(1).

Q4. You ask whether an electric storage battery described in LOI 16-0081 would need to be marked as a bulk or non-bulk package.

A4. Please see answer A1. It is the opinion of this Office that the weight of the battery determines whether a package meeting the requirements of § 173.159(d)(1) is considered bulk or non-bulk. Therefore, an electric storage battery exceeding 400 kg secured to a pallet is a bulk package and is required to be marked with the United Nations (UN) identification number in accordance with § 172.331.

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

Sincerely,

Steven Andrews
Acting Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

173.159(d)(1), 171.8, 172.331

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations
172.331 Bulk packagings other than portable tanks, cargo tanks, tank cars and multi-unit tank car tanks
173.159 Batteries, wet