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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 #24-0021

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Sasol Chemicals

Individual Name: Nita Moniaga

Location State: TX Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

June 12, 2024

Nita Moniaga
Manager, Regulatory Affairs Chemicals
Sasol Chemicals
12120 Wickchester Lane
Houston, TX  77079

Reference No. 24-0021

Dear Ms. Moniaga,

This letter is in response to your March 20, 2024, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to assigning the correct proper shipping name for environmentally hazardous substances. Specifically, you state a material—identified as a marine pollutant according to international regulations—presents as a solid substance at room temperature (i.e., ambient temperature) but is heated for loading and is offered for and transported in a liquid phase as defined in § 171.8.

We have paraphrased and answered your questions as follows:

Q1. You ask whether offering the material for transport—in liquid phase—warrants the material to be described with United Nations (UN) identification number and proper shipping name, "UN3082, Environmentally hazardous substance, liquid, n.o.s." or whether "UN3077, Environmentally hazardous substance, solid, n.o.s." with the qualifying word "molten" is more appropriate.

A1. In this case, it is at the discretion of the offeror (i.e., the shipper). As specified in § 173.22 of the HMR, a shipper is responsible for, among others, properly describing and packaging, a hazardous material for transportation in commerce. Additionally, as you state, the material meets criteria for a marine pollutant under international regulations and—therefore—may be transported in accordance with the HMR as a Class 9 marine pollutant. See (4.) in Appendix B to the § 172.101 Hazardous Materials Table (HMT).

For reference, § 172.101(i)(4) provides a table for use when the packaging specified for a hazardous material specifically named in the HMT is not applicable to the form being transported (e.g., the packaging specified is for a solid material and the material being offered for transport is a liquid).

Q2. You ask whether § 172.102 special provision 335 requires when free standing liquid is observed at the time of loading a material or observed when the package or transport unit is sealed, that the material cannot be described and classified as "UN3077, Environmentally hazardous substance, solid."

A2. See answer A1. Based on our understanding that the material is offered and transported solely in the liquid phase, special provision 335 is not applicable.

Q3. You ask when considering the solid state of the material at room temperature and the criteria of § 172.325 for elevated temperature material, is describing the material as "UN3077, Environmentally hazardous substance, solid, n.o.s., molten" more appropriate.

A3. See answer A1. In this case, elevated temperature material is not applicable as your material does not meet the definition of an elevated temperature material as defined in § 171.8. However, to ensure that complete information concerning the material is provided, the qualifying word "molten" may be added to the shipping description in accordance with § 172.101(c)(16).

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


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

171.8, 173.22, 172.101, 172.101(i)(4), 172.102, 172.325, 172.101(c)(16)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations
172.101 Purpose and use of hazardous materials table
172.102 Special provisions
172.325 Elevated temperature materials
173.22 Shipper's responsibility