FedEx Grants Extension on Lithium Battery Mark for Air Transport

New Lithium Battery Marks

The 58th Edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations has introduced new package markings for air transport of lithium batteries. For fully-regulated (Section I) batteries the UN has introduced the dedicated lithium battery Class 9 label, showing a battery graphic in the lower half. For low-powered batteries that are exempted under Section II, IATA has introduced a new version of the Lithium Battery Handling label (the one marked “CAUTION”).

The new Lithium Battery Handling mark (no longer classified by IATA as a “label”) was designed to eliminate the text portion, making the mark no longer dependent on a specific language. Instead of using text to indicate type of battery, this mark will use the UN number, making it easy to identify the batteries no matter what language the handlers speak.

New Lithium Battery Mark and Pictogram

ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) and IATA (International Air Transport Association) intend this new handling mark and the new lithium battery Class 9 label to be phased in over the next two years, to become mandatory on January 1, 2019. This will allow people to use up old stocks, and train their staff to recognize the new symbols while still using the old ones.

FedEx Implementation

However, FedEx introduced a variation (FX-05 in the IATA DGR) that requires shippers to mark the UN number on Section II batteries as of January 1, 2017, two years before ICAO and IATA make it mandatory. This has caused concern among shippers who were not planning on changing to the text-free version so soon.

Therefore, FedEx has decided to extend the deadline for implementing the UN number requirement until July 1, 2017. At that point, the shipper must either change to the new handling mark, or start marking the UN number beside the old handling label (“CAUTION”). Of course, shippers have the option to comply immediately if they prefer.

FedEx notes that this would only be an issue for Section II batteries. Batteries shipped under section IB would require both the handling label (or mark), as well as the Class 9 label, shipping name and UN number as regular dangerous goods.

If you have questions about the coming requirements for shipping lithium batteries by air, contact us here at ICC Compliance Center at 1-888-442-9628 (USA) or 1-888-977-44834 (Canada).

Single Packaging
ISTA Series 6: 6-FEDEX-A Testing vs. Standard UN Testing

When we think of UN Testing, several things may come to mind. We have the drop test which evaluates the package’s ability to handle collisions, the vibration test which simulates movements created by a motorized vehicle, the Cobb test which is designed to ensure the fiberboard will not disintegrate when exposed to water, and the stacking test which checks the integrity of the package by stacking various weights over the top of it. However, those that want to test their packages under the ISTA 6-FEDEX-A requirements for packages 150 lbs. or under are finding it to be difficult to get a passing grade.

What Are The Differences?

Under standard testing, each sample is dropped only one time at a specific height for a total of 5 drops total from 5 different samples.

Under the ISTA 6-FEDEX-A testing, 1 complete sample is dropped 10 times focusing on every corner and edge of the package. Any significant leaking on either of these tests would result in a failure, which makes the ISTA testing very difficult to pass because of the number of drops. In addition, flat and elongated packages must go through a bridge or concentrated impact test procedure. This procedure consists of dropping a wooden box measuring 12″ x 12″ x 12″ dense wooden box weighing 21 lbs. on the midpoint of the package.

Under standard testing, the stacking test is usually employed. This a 24-hour test in which the boxes must be subjected to the force applied to the top surface equivalent to the total weight of identical packages which might be stacked during transport. ISTA 6-FEDEX-A testing specifically requires the dynamic compression test. This consists of a computerized control system which exerts a specific amount of force upon the boxes to determine if any damage to the sidewalls occurs.

Although ISTA 6-FEDEX-A testing doesn’t require the Cobb moisture test, it does require a vibration test similar to standard testing. Both tests are completed by using a rotary vibration table designed to simulate the movements from motor vehicles. However, with ISTA 6-FEDEX-A testing, certain items require a vibration test from a Random Vibration Tester. This vibration testing reproduces 3 consecutive sequences at 15 minutes each of random vibration profiles which simulate air vibration as well as truck vibration.

If ISTA 6-FEDEX-A testing is in your future when shipping hazardous goods, you may find it challenging to find packaging that will pass the rigorous amount of drops and impact testing that are performed. Contact ICC Compliance Center for your custom packaging needs.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
Who is Authoring Your SDS? – Dare to Compare

Authoring safety data sheets (SDS) is a technical job and requires a thorough understanding of various regulations depending on the destination country. Companies may promote themselves as experts, but how can you be sure?

Some companies may contract SDS work out unbeknownst to you and act as the middle-person. This in turn can lead to delayed responses as they try to understand/interpret your questions and/or get in touch with the contractor.

An SDS is a valuable and critical component of your dangerous goods product and deserves as much attention as the finished product itself. When looking for an SDS authoring company ask them questions such as the following to be sure you are selecting the right one.

  1. How many SDS have they authored?
  2. Do they understand the rules/regulations if the authoring is done manually?
  3. Can they verify the accuracy of the data if using authoring software?
  4. How long have they been authoring SDSs?
  5. Is there a team of qualified peers to contact if necessary?
  6. What process/procedure is in place to guarantee non-disclosure and safeguard any confidential business information (i.e., formulations)?
  7. Are they using authoring software?
  8. Can the SDS be integrated into a user-friendly multi-location labeling system?
  9. What type of training do they have in place for SDS authors?
  10. How many ingredients are present in their library/database?
  11. What associations do they belong to and/or are active in?
  12. How many languages can they translate an SDS to?
  13. Where or how are they storing your SDS?
  14. Can you obtain access to the completed SDS 24/7 on a dedicated site?
  15. Can you search your SDS database by fields such as CAS number, product name, or part number?
  16. What industries have they written SDS for?
  17. Are you required to complete/provide minimum information prior to starting your SDS work?
  18. Do they ask for clarification of your SDS or supporting data to ensure all information needed for a compliant SDS is obtained?
  19. Can they answer your questions as to why products were classified a certain way?

If these questions cannot be answered with confidence – or worse yet the vendor tries to pass over these questions nonchalantly – then you should continue your search. Of course you may have additional questions after reading the list. But, the above questions should give you a good reference point when deciding who to choose as your vendor. Sadly if the price is too good to be true be wary about the old adage, “You get what you pay for.” This is not an area where your business can afford a mistake.

ICC Compliance Center has a team of full-time regulatory specialists who have years of experience and are certified/recognized in their field of expertise. Contact us about authoring, reformatting, updating, and translating your SDSs. Ask us your tough questions by calling 888.442.9628 (USA) or 888.977.4834 (Canada).

WHMIS 2015
WHMIS 2015 – The Great SDS “Headache” – Concentrations

New Concentrations and Concentration Ranges Rules

If you’ve begun switching your MSDSs to SDSs under the new WHMIS 2015 regulations, you likely know this headache all too well.

With the publication and implementation of the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR or WHMIS 2015), Health Canada removed the old Controlled Products Regulations’ (CPR or WHMIS 1988) list of prescribed concentration ranges that could be used in MSDSs. These concentrations were in place, in part, to allow some Confidential Business Information (CBI) protection when concentrations varied in a product. WHMIS 2015 now requires disclosure of exact concentrations of ingredients, or the actual concentration range of the ingredient. Actual concentration ranges can only be used if the concentration varies in the product due to issues such as batch to batch variability. You cannot list a range if you have an exact concentration, and simply wanted to “protect your formula”.

Suppliers would be required to file a CBI claim under WHMIS 2015 requirements, if even just to protect the exact concentration of one ingredient on a SDS. A whole host of difficulties may face the supplier in obtaining information that would be needed to complete this type of CBI submission, such as obtaining exact concentration information from suppliers outside the country, where CBI or trade secret requirements are different from those in Canada. In the United States, for example, there is no federal requirement to submit any type of claim to protect an ingredient’s exact concentration on a SDS. The SDS simply has to state that the concentration is being withheld as a “trade secret.” You can imagine the reluctance of a US supplier in providing information that they consider to be a trade secret.

This new requirement to submit a CBI claim for exact concentrations can result in significant additional costs. Fees for an original claim begin at $1800 CAD per claim, with review fees every three years of $1440 CAD per claim. Sometimes the supplier can group several products into one claim; however, costs for submission could skyrocket depending on just how many products are being submitted. The non-profit trade association Responsible Distribution Canada (RDC) estimates that the impact of those submission fees to members of the Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association (CCSPA) will be over $12 million.


There may be some light at the end of the tunnel, however. As a result of this substantial cost burden, the RDC, as an industry representative, has requested that Health Canada amend the HPR to include some kind of alternative to disclosing exact concentrations that avoids having to file a costly CBI claim. The RDC believes that the use of ranges does not diminish protection of workers, and that the new requirements in WHMIS 2015 creates disharmony rather than harmony between Canada and its major trading partners.

In the RDC Newsletter Volume 6 Issue 43, issued November 7, 2016, the RDC presented a proposal that would allow the use of the WHMIS 1988 prescribed ranges again, with the added ability to combine up to three of the low end ranges into a single range (e.g. 0.1 – 1%, 0.5 – 1.5% and 1 – 5%, into one range of 0.1 – 5%). The additional stipulation of allowing those combined low end ranges, would, the RDC believes, allow for better alignment with US requirements.

Open for Suggestions

In previous meetings with Health Canada, the RDC and other industry groups did not come to a resolution on this issue of concentration disclosure, but Health Canada is willing to listen to solutions to this issue such as the current RDC proposal. The RDC has requested help from interested parties on approaching Health Canada, and is asking that suggestions from interested parties be sent to Cathy Campbell at: Please submit your suggestions prior to November 30, 2016.

If you would like to learn more about the RDC, please consult the following website: For further information on CBI exemptions and claims in Canada, please consult the following website:

As always, should you have any questions regarding SDSs, please contact ICC Compliance Center Inc at 1-888-442-9628 (USA) or 1-888-977-4834 (Canada).

Shipping a Gift? Ask Yourself, is it Dangerous Goods?

This weekend, my husband and I decided it was time to do some clean up and sell some things on e-Bay. We did the usual photo and description, and posted a few odd items. When we came to the last item, a PS3 controller, my husband stopped and said, “I am going to have to ship this as dangerous goods.”

It got me thinking, how many people would know that? I wonder how many lithium batteries are mailed or shipped by average people, never thinking that they are doing something wrong and potentially very dangerous. Even scarier, is the thought that my family could be on that same plane.

As the holiday season approaches, people everywhere will be sending gifts to loved ones around the world. What many people still do not realize, is that innocent gifts like game controllers, lap-top computers, cell phones, and tablets are dangerous goods.

The definition of “dangerous goods” varies slightly from regulation to regulation, but basics means  articles or materials capable of posing significant risk to people, health, property, or the environment  when transported. Examples include: perfumes, paints, aerosol cans, and anything with a lithium battery including power tools, computers, and cameras.

Dangerous goods need to be packaged and labeled in accordance with the regulations. You also need to be a trained person to ship them.

Before you wrap that gift, contact the post office or the shipping company and ask them if it is considered dangerous goods. If it is, the best solution might be to seek a local packaging and crating company to assist. ICC Compliance Center has a list of “Repackers” around the USA and Canada that can be found here:

Since not everyone is privileged enough to be in the dangerous goods industry, as dangerous goods professionals, we need to do our part in to educate and protect others, so all families can have a safe holiday season. Help me educate others by sharing this on your social media pages.

Danger Placard
Does My Personal Vehicle Need Placards? – Answering Regulatory Helpline Questions

One of the great services offered by ICC Compliance Center to our customers is our Regulatory Helpline. Current customers can call in and have basic questions answered for free. Our Specialists are trained in all of the transport regulations for the US and Canada. We also answer questions surrounding HazCom2012 and WHMIS 2015. A great benefit of our service is getting the customer a “right” answer. Occasionally it may require some information gathering, but we still give you an answer. Being relatively new to our Helpline, I tend to take a bit longer to get an answer.

I mention this because of an interesting question that came in last week. A customer called and posed the following question:

If I want to move a container of oxygen in my personal vehicle, does [my vehicle] have to be placarded?

On the surface this seems easy enough to answer, but in reality that is not the case. As I discovered a good bit more information was needed to formulate a “right” answer.

Answer Step 1:

What is meant by “a container of oxygen”? This information is needed for several reasons. We have to determine if what the caller has is truly a hazardous material/dangerous good. For example, is it pure oxygen or is it a blend of oxygen and nitrogen similar to a SCUBA tank? One is much more dangerous in the event of a fire than the other. In this case, the container is of pure oxygen.

Answer Step 2:

What is the description of the container? The assumption is the container is a cylinder. If so, what size? There could be exemptions in place depending on how large or small the container is. The caller said it is a steel cylinder that weighs 15 kilograms and it has TC on the outside.

Answer Step 3:

Where is this person located? We need to have this information so that the proper regulations can be checked. If the caller was in the United States, but I used Canada’s transport regulation to answer that may not have worked. In this case the caller is from Canada. This is helpful because there was a mention of using a “personal vehicle”. In the U.S. this could have led to a discussion of Materials of Trade exemptions. Since Canada does not have that type of exemption it would make no sense to go over them with the caller.

Answer Step 4:

Now we almost have the whole picture. We have a steel cylinder full of pure oxygen that weighs 15 kilograms. It is being transported in a personal vehicle in Canada. With all of that information, the caller MAY meet the 150 kilogram Gross Mass Exemption in the Canadian Transportation of Dangerous Goods regulations per Section 1.15. This prompted one more question. Was this cylinder purchased by the caller at a location open to the general public? The answer was “yes.”

Final Answer:

The final answer is “no”, the caller is not required to placard his personal vehicle to transport a cylinder of oxygen. Per the 150 kilogram Gross Mass Exemption, he does not need a shipper’s declaration, training or … any sort of “dangerous goods safety marks”. This section also includes placards. He may voluntarily display it per Section 4.1.1 of the regulation but there are multiple provisions.

So while this looks like a complicated process, it is in fact not. As long as we have all of the information, answering your questions can be quite easy. Give us a call today to see just how easy it is – ICC Regulatory Helpline 855.734.5469. We are here to help. As always, ICC Compliance Center is here to help you with all of your regulatory needs.

Amazon: Hazmat Violations Lead to Hefty Fines

Pulled over by police officer

Violations & Fines

We have all had this experience: We are driving in our car on a long stretch of highway or a small suburban road and it happens.

We notice a flashing light in our rear view mirrors and we are pulled over by a friendly neighborhood member of law enforcement.

As you go into a brief moment of anger and confusion, you realize most likely this is going to result in a hit to your pocketbook. As the old saying goes, “You do the crime, you do the time.” In this case it is in the form of a check or money order. Following the regulations for the transportation of dangerous goods is certainly no exception. The world’s largest internet-based retailer is finding this out. Recently, Amazon has been hit with a $78,000 fine by the FAA for violating its Hazardous Materials Regulations.

When a package containing a highly flammable liquid began leaking en route to its destination, it was found to have no markings or labels and was also missing required paperwork. This incident is just one of numerous shipping violations Amazon has had within the last several years, totaling approximately $872,000 in fines.

UN Packaging New Labels

Penalties Have Become More Severe

Since the ValueJet Disaster in 1996, The FAA has taken a far more aggressive approach in the regulations of dangerous goods resulting in substantial fines for offenders. The FAA can impose up to $75,000 in civil penalties for each violation of hazardous-materials regulations and up to $175,000 for severe injury, illness, death or property damage. Clearly violations of hazardous material regulations can leave your company, whether it’s large or small, at a risk to substantial fines. The best way to reduce this risk is to get your company thoroughly trained in shipping hazardous materials by a reputable company.

For training and other information on how ICC can help you remain in compliance with dangerous goods regulations call us at 888.442.9628 (USA) or 888.977.4834 (Canada).

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Recall & Exchange

IATA Training & Lithium Batteries

I recently taught an IATA refresher training in New York. In the class we touched on transporting lithium batteries by air, as there has been so many changes this year to the regulations. To make it relevant to today’s world, I mentioned the newest warning for passengers to “shut off completely all Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones” before boarding any flights. According to several news reports these phones are overheating and even exploding. Having made the point, the class moved on to marks, labels, and the dangerous goods declaration. After class as I was preparing to head to the airport, one of the participants came and asked what my itinerary was. It was on Delta Airlines through Atlanta, GA. Come to find out just that morning a flight from Norfolk, VA to Atlanta had a fire on board due to a spare Lithium battery wedged between two seats.

Now, picture my arrival to the Buffalo/Niagara Falls airport that afternoon. As we are preparing to board the warning to turn off all Galaxy Note 7 phones was again broadcasted. Once on board, several of us asked the cabin stewards if they had heard about that morning’s plane. At one point during the discussion, a fellow passenger called out, “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger” from the 1960’s TV show Lost in Space. For those of you who are too young or not science fiction nerds like me, listen to Robot’s warning:

What is Wrong with the Galaxy Note 7’s Battery?

Once home I wondered why are these phones so at risk for overheating and exploding. This put me into research mode. The advertising campaign for these phones includes such claims as “bigger battery”, “powered for up to nine hours”, and “water resistant”. What is happening instead is overheating. This overheating can be caused by the environment like hot cars or from within the battery itself. It is the latter that is causing the problem for the Galaxy Note 7. Samsung is calling it a “battery cell issue”. For those of us in the dangerous goods business we know that phrase isn’t exactly correct but it gets the point across. As a reminder batteries are a series or group of cells connected together.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Recall & Exchange

There is currently a recall on these phones as well as an exchange program in place for the United States. The recall is for devices sold before September 15, 2016. The recall stresses “it is extremely important to stop using your device, power it down and immediately exchange it …” The Exchange Program allows the owner to do the following:

  1. Exchange your current Galaxy Note 7 device with a new Galaxy Note7 as approved by the CPSC available no later than September 21, 2016; or
  2. Exchange your current Galaxy Note 7 for a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge and replacement of any Note 7 specific accessories with a refund of the price difference between devices; or
  3. Contact your point of purchase to obtain a refund.

To see if your device is eligible for exchange, go to and scroll to the Eligibility section. This same link will also provide owners with the websites and contact numbers for the retailers that sell the phones and provides a Frequently Asked Questions section.

As always, ICC is here for all of your safety needs. Contact us today for our Lithium Battery Multi-Modal transport course.

The Poisoner’s Handbook – How Forensic Science Gave Birth to Modern Safety Regulations

Modern Forensic Science

Dr. Charles Norris, New York City's first chief medical examiner
[Dr. Charles Norris, New York City’s first chief medical examiner]. [Between 1920 and 1932?] Image. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed September 02, 2016.)
If you love TV shows like “The Making of a Murderer” or “Forensics Files”, you’ll probably be intrigued by a book titled The Poisoner’s Handbook. But rather than serving as a guide to criminal mayhem, this book traces the growth of modern forensic science in the U.S., concentrating on the contributions of Dr. Charles Norris.

Norris was a visionary of his time who reformed the New York City Medical Examiner’s office from a political plum into a modern instrument for protecting the public. This meant protecting them not just from the occasional thug or greedy heir lurking with a bottle of rat poison, but against some of the largest industries of the time, who, in a combination of greed and ignorance, often poisoned their own employees and the public at large.

Author Deborah Blum deftly outlines her heroes and villains. Charles Norris came from a family of bankers (his grandfather had negotiated the first loan to the federal government to finance the Civil War), and often would resort to using his own money to keep his office running. His expertise in toxicology served him well in finding new ways to detect chemicals and prove their role in the deaths of the unfortunates who ended up in his morgue.

Playing Robin to Norris’s Bruce Wayne was Alexander Gettler, a forensic chemist from an immigrant family. Despite their vastly different backgrounds, the two shared a dedication to science and to justice, and were determined to ensure that the first would be always used in the service of the second.

Science, Justice, and Poison

The villains were more wide-ranging. Some were the typical murderers associated with today’s forensic science. Many were able to walk away from their crimes due to the crude science of the time. Mary Frances Creighton was acquitted in the arsenic poisoning of her brother and mother-in-law, only to be convicted and executed years later for killing another woman. But each defeat sent Norris and Gettler back to the laboratory to discover ever more effective techniques for identifying chemical poisons.

But the actions of individual criminals didn’t endanger New Yorkers as much as some of the ostensibly law-abiding corporate citizens. The medical examiners were called in to investigate an oil company whose employees had nicknamed one facility the “looney gas building”. As Blum describes it,

“[t]he men who worked there … had become a little odd—moody, short-tempered, unable to sleep. They’d started getting lost on the familiar plant grounds, sometimes had trouble remembering their friends. And then in September 1924 the workers started collapsing, going into convulsions, babbling deliriously.”

Norris’s investigation pinned the blame on a chemical manufactured in that facility—tetraethyl lead—and identified its neurotoxic properties. The chemical was temporarily banned in New York City, until lobbying efforts restored it to a perceived “safe” status. Tetraethyl lead remained a common component of gasoline until concerns about the spike in environmental lead from car exhaust led to its phasing out in the 1970s .

US Radium Girls Argonne National Laboratory
US Radium Girls Argonne National Laboratory

Another chapter covers the plight of the “Radium Girls“, who painted clocks and watches with luminous paint, unaware that the appealing glow came from deadly radium. Taught to use their lips to put a point on their brushes, the workers, mostly teenagers and young women, soon suffered from the horrific effects of radiation poisoning. Norris and Gettler proved that the very bones of the victims had become radioactive.

Consumer Safety Regulations

The book gives a terrifying look at what a world without workplace or consumer safety regulations is like. By 1926, drunken drivers were already a menace (automobile accidents being the biggest killers in New York City that year), but elevators in high buildings were becoming death traps, taking 87 lives—most simply because no one thought to put up barriers and warning signs in front of empty elevator shafts. Deadly carbon monoxide came not only from the exhausts of the newfangled automobiles, but was piped directly into many homes as “illuminating gas,” and killed many from causes as simple as a faulty fitting. Another deadly gas, hydrogen cyanide, was used as a fumigant against rats and insects, with scant attention to its effects on humans nearby. Toxic chemicals such as arsenic could be easily purchased and used by members of the public who might or might not have any idea how to handle them safely.

But regulation could bring more danger to the public. Blum examines how Prohibition, designed to save people from the dangers of alcoholism, was killing more than unregulated alcohol ever had. Contaminated drink—caused by bad distilling in homemade stills, deliberate adulteration by bootleggers to increase their profits, or even by government who thought that “denaturing” illegal alcohol by pouring in toxic chemicals would keep people from drinking it—lived up to its nickname of “rotgut” in sometimes horrific fashion. The last part of the book shows, ironically, how counter-productive badly-conceived regulations can be.

The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York is a primer on criminology and safety, a glimpse into the fascinating world of 1920s New York City, and a morality play about the struggles of two men determined to protect the public from toxic monsters loosed upon them by apathy, greed and politics. In an era where regulations are seen by some as not worth their economic impact, the lesson of this book is that we can’t afford to avoid such a fight.

Questions about chemical safety in the workplace? Contact ICC Compliance Center’s regulatory department here at 1-888-442-9628 (USA) or 1-888-977-44834 (Canada).

Uniform Straight Bill of Lading
US Bill of Lading New Requirements

NMFC Supplement 2

Supplement 2 to the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) version NMF 100-AP, became effective on August 13th 2016, which updates the standards of the US Bill of Lading.

Included in this supplement are drastic changes to the Uniform Straight Bill of Lading, Straight Bill of Lading–Short Form and the NMFC rules in Item 360 regarding bills of lading. These changes were made without notice and without a comment period for shippers. See below for the most significant changes and the impact that shippers will incur:

NMF 100 Item 360-B Uniform Straight Bill of Lading Terms and Conditions Sec. 1 (b)

What Changed:

Previous version:…The burden to prove freedom from negligence is on the carrier or the party in possession.

Supplement 2:…The burden to prove carrier negligence is on the shipper.

This is in regard to loss or damage due to negligence of the carrier. Previously, the carrier—or the party in possession—had to prove they were not negligent. Carriers are actually in possession of freight when shipping damage occurs. Now the burden of proof has shifted to the shippers. This becomes exceedingly difficult because the shipper did not possess the freight at the time the damage occurs. They are not knowledgeable about the movement of the shipment from origin to destination, and therefore are at an unreasonable disadvantage. Shippers have to be aware of this change and protect themselves and understand how this will affect their business.

NMF 100 Item 360-B Uniform Straight Bill of Lading Terms and Conditions Sec. 1 (b)

What Changed:

Previous version:No carrier shall be liable for any loss or damage or for any delay caused by an Act of God, the public enemy, the authority of law or the act or default of shipper.

Supplement 2:No carrier shall be liable for any loss or damage or for any delay caused by an Act of God, the public enemy, the authority of law, the act or default of the shipper, riots or strikes, or any related causes.

There were two additions to the list of conditions in this sentence. The first was that “riots or strikes” were added to the list of conditions. Another new addition is the phrase “or any related causes.” This is extremely vague in its meaning and application. Ambiguity in this sense could be harmful to shippers when trying to prove the carrier’s negligence. Again the shipper will have to negotiate a well-defined and protective clause in their contracts with carriers.

NMF 100 Item 360-B Uniform Straight Bill of Lading Terms and Conditions Sec. 2

What Changed:

Previous version:…carrier is not bound to transport a shipment by a particular schedule or in time for a particular market, but is responsible to transport with reasonable dispatch.

Supplement 2:…carrier is not bound to transport a shipment by a particular schedule or in time for a particular market, but will transport the shipment in the regular course of its providing transportation services.

“Reasonable dispatch” has been the standard for a century. It has gone from a standard that could be applied across all carriers to a more carrier specific time frame. This is holding shippers captive to the carrier’s chosen standards. We already see carriers offering different transit times for different prices. This leads shippers to start questioning whether this could become a big enough issue that they will be forced to pay more for services to ensure their shipments are being delivered in an acceptable time frame. Shippers will need to be vigilant, the more regulations put on carriers, the more likely that delivery times will become longer.

NMF 100 Item 360-B Uniform Straight Bill of Lading Terms and Conditions Sec. 3 (b)

What Changed:

Previous version:…except that claims for failure to make delivery must be filed within nine months after a reasonable time for delivery has elapsed.

Supplement 2:Claims for loss must be filed with the carrier not more than nine (9) months from the date of the bill of lading.

There were a few wording changes that seemed less significant, i.e.: “failure to deliver” was changed to “loss.” However, there was a significant change made regarding the timeline for filing claims for loss. Previously, it was nine months from a reasonable delivery time frame; now it is “nine months from the date of the bill of lading.”

So shippers should be asking which bill of lading date is to be used. Is it the date the shipment was requested? Is it the date the bill of lading was created? Is it the date when the bill of lading was printed? Or is the bill of lading date the pickup date?

Who Will This Affect?

Virtually all major motor carriers in the US are participants to the NMFC, and freight charges based on rates dependent on classifications provided in the NMFC are required to use the Uniform Straight Bill of lading. The impact of the changes will impact most shippers and shipments [see NMF 100 Item 360-B Sec. 1 (a) and (b)]. If shippers so choose to use their own bill of lading, per NMF 100 Item 360-B Sec. 1(h), they are still bound to all of the provisions and conditions of the Uniform Straight Bill of Lading.

Since the Supplement Became Effective:

The Transportation & Logistics Council (TLC) filed a petition with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) for suspension and investigation of the Supplement on July 29th. The National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council (NASSTRAC) then filed a petition in support of TLC dated August 1st. The STB released their decision on August 12th. The STB denied the request and stated parties should file supplemental pleadings by September 12th. There is an open comments period and shippers are urged to comment in support of Docket Number IMA 35008. Comments can be sent to:

Chief, Section of Administration
Office of Proceedings
Surface Transportation Board
395 E. Street, SW
Washington, DC 20423

Source; AMTR Inc.