Sunday, August 10, 2014

PHMSA Publishes Reverse Logistics NPRM

On Monday DOT’s Pipe Line and Hazardous Material Safety Administration if publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register (79 FR 46748-76758) proposing to modify the Hazardous Material Regulations (HMR) to provide for return shipments of hazardous materials by motor vehicle. The advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) was published on July 5th, 2012.

In this NPRM PHMSA is proposing to:

• Define the term “reverse logistics;”
• Establish a single section in the regulations for the shipment of hazardous material in the reverse logistics supply chain;
• Establish training requirements tailored to reverse logistics shipments;
• Define the authorized packaging for reverse logistics shipments;
• Establish segregation requirements for reverse logistics shipments; and
• Allow for more flexibility in the transportation of lead acid batteries.

Reverse Logistics Defined

The definition of the term ‘reverse logistics’ would be added to 49 CFR 171.8. The definition would read:

Reverse logistics is the process of moving goods from their final destination for the purpose of capturing value, recall, replacement, proper disposal, or similar reason.”

The preamble explains that this rulemaking is targeted at consumer goods that are returned from retail facilities to collection centers or warehouses. It would specifically “include consumer products in hazard classes 1.4 (ammunition), 2.1, 2.2, 3, 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 6.2, 8 and 9 in the reverse logistics exception”.

Reverse Logistics Requirements

PHMSA proposes to add a new §173.157. The new section would establish:

Quantity limits for the covered materials based upon Division and Class and Packing Group designation;

Lead Acid Battery Recycling

On a slightly different, but related topic PHMSA is proposing to amend §173.159 as it relates to the transportation of used lead acid batteries for the purpose of recycling. The current requirements of §173.159(e)(4) only allow recycled batteries to be shipped from a single shipper. This change would re-write (4) to allow that:

“A carrier may accept shipments of lead acid batteries from multiple locations for the purpose of consolidating shipments of lead acid batteries for recycling.”

Two additional subparagraphs would be added that would require that no other hazardous materials would be allowed on vehicles transporting used lead acid batteries and reiterates that the immediate incident reporting requirements of §171.15 apply to these shipments.

Public Comments Solicited

PHMSA is soliciting public comments on this NPRM. Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (; Docket # PHMSA-2011-0143). Comments should be submitted by October 10th, 2014.

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