Same- Same, but Different
The U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will release the Interim Final Rule (IFR) to harmonize the Hazardous Materials Regulation (HMR) with emergency amendments to the 2015-2016 edition of the International Civil Aviation Organizationâ€™s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transportation of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO Technical Instructions). If that wasnâ€™t a mouthful I donâ€™t what is. In laymenâ€™s terms, these rules have been in effect for nearly three years already and itâ€™s likely that you are already following the â€œnewâ€ air shipping requirements if you ship lithium batteries by air.
Since this IFR isnâ€™t necessarily new, and the FAA Authorization Act of 2018 requires PHMSA to update these rules quickly, PHMSA will not be taking comments or publicizing the IFR as they normally would. The effective date for the new IFR is March 6, 2019 and the comment date was March 6, 2019. Hence non-existent comment period.
While this IFR harmonizes such restrictions as:
- Prohibits standalone lithium-ion cells and batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft.
- Prohibits the shipping of lithium ion cells and batteries over a 30% state of charge aboard Cargo Only Aircraft when not packed with or contained in equipment.
- Limits the use of alternative provisions for small lithium cell batteries to one package per consignment.
PHMSA does provide limited exception (with approval from the Associate Administrator) of not more than two lithium cells or batteries specifically used for medical devices and batteries, if the intended destination for the cells or batteries is not serviced daily by cargo aircraft. PHMSA would also authorize the transport on passenger aircraft not more than two lithium cells or batteries specifically used for medical device and would waive the 30 percent state of charge limit for lithium cells and batteries with approval from Associate Administrator.
For full details on what PHMSA defines as medical devices see â€œSubsection D. Limited Exceptions to Restrictions on Air Transport of Medical Device Cells or Batteries.â€ For a full look at the IFR click HERE now!
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