U.S. Department of Transportation updates Hazardous Material transportation guidelines

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced a new final rule in April that would improve the safety transporting essential products like medical supplies and manufacturing components.

The final rule “harmonizes” federal regulations with international standards, the agency said, and encourages shippers to package goods more efficiently. Officials said the streamlined requirements will save an estimated $50 to $130 million in shipping costs.

“The safe transportation of hazardous material like batteries and components used in manufacturing is integral to our supply chains and our economy,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “This new rule improves safety, keeps the U.S. competitive on the global stage, and cuts shipping costs to the benefit of consumers nationwide.”

Officials said the rule will help to reduce greenhouse gas emission and supply chain disruptions by allowing the transport of more goods in fewer trips. The rule also aligns hazardous materials regulation requirements with an eye toward anticipated lithium battery transportation increases as the demand for those items increases as electrification of transportation and other economic sectors increases.

“This regulatory update actually improves safety and environmental benefits while reducing red tape for businesses,” PHMSA Deputy Administrator Tristan Brown said. “It will also help improve supply chains and reduce prices for everyday Americans.”

Amendments to the rule include changes to proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provision, packing authorizations, air transport quantity, limitations and vessel stowage requirements. The amendments were necessary, officials said, to facility the transport of hazardous materials in domestic and international commerce.