Transport Canada and PHMSA Team Up on Electronic Hazmat Shipping Papers
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The agencies’ goal is to evaluate the benefits, cost, and effectiveness of using electronic shipping papers for hazardous materials shipments. The program will be used for all modes of transportation and include shipments that cross the US-Canada border.
As a first step, Transport Canada set up a web page to inform stakeholders and collect thoughts from first responders, businesses, law enforcement, and government agencies.
Pilot testing of electronic shipping documents is planned to begin in 2020.
Shortcomings of Physical Hazmat Shipping PapersA move to electronic hazmat shipping papers is not simply about using technology for technology’s sake. While hazmat regulatory agencies do want shippers and carriers to have options that reflect the latest technological advances, there are concrete benefits to using electronic shipping documentation.
For example, in the event of an emergency release in transportation, an emergency responder may need access to shipping papers in order to know the exact type and quantity of hazardous materials on board. If the shipping papers are inside the truck, this can mean putting him- or herself in tremendous danger to retrieve them in order to have the information needed to respond properly.
With an electronic system in place, responders could access information remotely, avoid the risk of entering the vehicle, and respond more promptly.
In addition to the safety benefits, using electronic hazmat documents in place of printed shipping papers can save shippers and carriers the cost of printing and maintaining this paperwork. Electronic shipping papers could also be incorporated into the wireless communication systems that many companies already have in place for added efficiency and improved sharing of hazard data.
Hazardous waste shippers would benefit as well. While US EPA already allows the use of the electronic Hazardous Waste Manifest or e-Manifest, US DOT still requires a paper copy to accompany a waste shipment under its 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR).
Have thoughts about electronic hazmat shipping papers? You can join the discussion here.
Nationwide Hazmat Training in Summer 2019Join expert Lion instructors in cities nationwide for engaging, comprehensive hazardous materials training to help you simplify your responsibilities and maintain compliance with 49 CFR, the IATA DGR, and the IMDG Code.
Catch the Complete Multimodal Hazmat Shipper Workshops near you this summer:
Parsippany, NJ July 8—11
Hartford, CT July 15—18
Atlanta, GA July 30—Aug. 2
Nashville, TN Aug. 5—8
Jacksonville, FL Aug. 13—16
Plus, catch 49 CFR and/or IATA DGR training for hazmat ground and air shippers in Boston, Philadelphia, Williamsburg, Baltimore, Charlotte, and Orlando throughout July.
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