The United Nations Subcommittee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UNSCOE TDG) is holding their 58th Session remotely 28 June – 2 July 2021. There are 31 formal and 46 informal papers submitted for discussion as of Day 4. This session is the first of four sessions to be held during the 2021-2022 biennium.
Unlike the 57th Session from December 2020, all daily sessions are to be held formally (interpreted). Therefore, papers are to be reviewed as listed on the agenda (INF.2) and final decisions will be taken when appropriate. Given the virtual nature of the meeting, there are only four (4) hours each day dedicated to discussion of the papers. This means that discussions on some papers may be limited, and final decisions may be deferred to a later meeting in the biennium.
This summary is provided to assist you in following the discussions of the papers. Note that the Official report of the session will be made available by the UN Secretariat 3-4 weeks after the session concludes.
Day 4 – Discussion of Papers
2021/31; INF.7 – Proposal to create UN Numbers for pyrophoric gases and add criteria for pyrophoric gases in Division 2.1 – These papers were withdrawn without discussion. No proposals were considered.
2021/24 – Introduction of a requirement to provide an equivalent level of safety for the shell of a fibre reinforced plastics portable tank (Chapter 6.9) to that currently required for a metallic portable tank (Chapter 6.7) – ITCO voiced concern over shell resilience from relatively low impacts. They pointed to specific testing requirements for metallic portable tanks and proposed to adopt similar provisions for FRP tanks. The Russian Federation noted interest in the approach and requested data on how FRP tanks would perform under the tests. Germany pointed out there are wall thickness differences between steel and FRP tanks. They also questioned whether the standard test proposed by ITCO was equivalent to the standard referenced. France agreed the issue should be researched. However, they agreed with Germany that the test referenced is not appropriate. The US, who also served as Chairman to the FRP Working Group, noted this was discussed in the WG and delegations decided it was not appropriate to include. Belgium and Canada also had reservations regarding the proposal. Based on comments received, ITCO withdrew the proposal but intends to continue to discuss the issue with interested parties. No proposals were adopted.
2021/8; INF.3; INF.41; INF.46 – Inclusion of the new section 6.9.3 “Requirements for design, construction, inspection and testing of fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) valves, relief devices and manholes for portable tanks” – The Russian Federation pointed out that valves, relief devices and manholes made of FRP provide superior protection against corrosion than metal valves. They requested the Subcommittee convene a working group to discuss future provisions on this topic. They submitted INF.41 as a basis to start the discussion. INF.3 and INF.46 provided additional details. The US felt additional data and research needed to be presented to justify adoption of provisions identified in INF.41. They also questioned whether valves made from FRP could be used on metallic tanks. The US believed a separate mandate may be needed from the current FRP Working Group. Belgium noted that where FRP tanks are permanently attached to frames, they experienced delamination. This topic could be discussed in a WG. Finland, France, the UK, and Canada agreed to the concept in principle. The Chairman agreed with the US in that the current mandate of the FRP WG had been completed. Therefore, new terms of reference (TOR) would be needed for a WG on this topic. INF.41, paragraph 6 was suggested to be used as the TOR. The US indicated they were not able to Chair the new WG. The Russian Federation offered to Chair the WG. The Subcommittee agreed to consider a WG on the topic for the future with the Russian Federation serving as Chair. Interested parties were invited to contact the Russian Federation. No proposals were adopted.
2021/5 – Proposal on the interpretation of 220.127.116.11.5 and 18.104.22.168.5 on waiving the internal examination of portable tanks – Germany requested clarification on when the 2.5-year internal inspection on portable tanks could be waived for a single substance in 22.214.171.124.5 and 126.96.36.199.5. They proposed several proposals based on possible interpretations. Belgium agreed that clarification is needed and had received several comments from industry regarding the topic. They noted it is difficult to clearly identify when a tank is dedicated, and how safety valves are inspected. Such valves are typically removed to inspect, yet this may lead to contamination and additional safety concerns if the tank is unclean. They were supportive of the effort but suggested additional discussion was necessary before choosing either option. The Republic of Korea supported Option 2. Sweden agreed with Belgium. The Netherlands did not believe either option solved the problem adequately. Spain, Japan, and the US agreed with the Netherlands. The UK currently follows Option 1 but were open to considering Option 2. China also supported Option 2. DGAC agreed with the US and the Netherlands. If changes were to be considered, they believed Option 1 would be particularly problematic. Mexico agreed with others that their main concern is how would one know if the tank is dedicated to only one substance. France originally supported Option 2. However, after reviewing current situations with Industry, Option 1 was closer to what was actually happening. Although they have not noted any actual issues in practice, they supported clarifying the text. Based on the comments received, Germany acknowledged there were differing options on the topic, and indicated they would continue the discussion and will consider bringing a new proposal for a future session. No proposals were adopted.
2021/9 – Proposed amendments to Chapter 6.7 of the Model Regulations – IDGCA pointed out 188.8.131.52.1 requires a design approval certificate to include a number of items including the results of the applicable framework test specified in ISO 1496-3:1995. However, this ISO standard only applies to one type of portable tank. Thus this paragraph may mislead competent authorities to think that this ISO standard is required in all cases. To address this, they proposed changing the reference to Annex II of the International Convention for Safe Containers (CSC) or “other applicable standards”. Further, they suggested providing a definition of a “tank container”. DGAC voiced concern for adopting a new definition of tank container without determining possible consequential impacts elsewhere in Part 6 or 7. They suggested that adding the words “as applicable” to the end of 184.108.40.206.1 (a) would solve the problem more simply. The UK pointed out the ISO standard referenced was updated in 2019 but shared DGAC’s concerns about possible impacts to other areas of the Model Regulations. The Netherlands and the Republic of Korea also opposed the proposal. IDGCA indicated they would discuss the topic with interested parties and may return with a revised proposal at a future session. No proposals were adopted.
2021/2 – Inclusion of a note to 220.127.116.11 to ensure consistent interpretation – The UK proposed to add a clarifying statement to 18.104.22.168 that standards that are referenced in the regulations that go beyond the actual requirement are optional. The US supported the approach. The proposal was adopted as presented in 2021/2.
2021/23 – Amendment to 22.214.171.124 – Classification of articles containing prototype or small production run lithium batteries – IATA pointed out that the text in 126.96.36.199 related to Articles containing DG may contain lithium batteries, including those that are prototype or low production runs. However, the example provided appears to suggest that it is the article that could be “prototype or low production” and in reality, it is the batteries that could be a prototype or low production” when they are being sent for testing. They offered two options to resolve the issue. The Netherlands agreed that the text refers to the batteries contained in the article, not the article itself. But they did not believe Option 1 was possible. Therefore they supported Option 2 and added editorial amendments. Belgium felt Option 1 was the most ideal. However, they felt additional review was needed to address package marking and labeling requirements. France did not believe Option 1 was practical and preferred Option 2. But they pointed out the French text is slightly different and may be a better solution. The UK agreed with Belgium that the issue comes down to precedence of identification. They did not support Option 1 and preferred Option 2. But Option 2 needed additional work. The US shared significant experience with this issue and was comfortable with Option 1. But could support Option 2 with additional work to ensure that lithium batteries are not an afterthought. DGAC pointed out that the section includes low production batteries, not just prototypes. They agreed that Option 2 would be preferable. MDBTC agreed with DGAC. Canada, Australia, and China preferred Option 1. Germany reminded the Subcommittee that this is for articles containing other DG including batteries, not just batteries. Based on comments received, IATA withdrew their proposal and indicated they would work with interested delegations to prepare a revised proposal for a future session. No proposals were adopted.
INF.19 – Unified Interpretations of the Model
Regulations – The US led an informal session on how interpretations could be developed or incorporated into the UN system. They noted that there are some interpretation systems today in ADR and IMO but they may not be widely used. Many delegations voiced support for the concept, but others questioned how such a system would be managed, what legal standing would the interpretations have, and whether all questions need to be fully answered (intent to leave things subject to regional interpretation). Participants agreed to continue to consider the idea and whether such a system could be utilized in the future. No proposals were considered.
INF.20 – Dangerous Goods Safety Training and Capacity Building – The US opened discussion on how awareness and compliance could be improved through basic training elements. The UN Secretariat shared that the GHS UNITAR training materials are supported by a different organization than the Subcommittee on GHS. The UN has limited or no funds to support the development of such a program. Participants discussed whether an actual program needed to be developed or whether a depository of information would be a better solution. The group agreed to discuss the issue further in future sessions. No proposals were considered.
2021/25; INF.13 – Interpretation problem in ADR 188.8.131.52 – COSTHA noted an interpretation problem with ADR 184.108.40.206 and whether self reactives or organic peroxides with a subsidiary hazard of Class 1 required segregation from other dangerous goods when loaded in separate closed containers on a single-vehicle. In 2021/25, COSTHA proposed revising the text in ADR 220.127.116.11 and requested the Subcommittee’s opinion on the proposal. In INF.13, COSTHA focused on the issue of whether Div. 4.1 and Div. 5.2 with a subsidiary Class 1 hazard required segregation on the same vehicle when in separate closed containers. The topic was discussed by the EWG with differing opinions. The Chairman of the EWG indicted the original intent of the language was to permit the allowance of these substances with other dangerous goods in separate closed containers. But this is not necessarily clear. France pointed out this is a technical question and it would be beneficial to discuss the topic. They agreed that clarification was needed so that the Joint Meeting and WP.15 could make any necessary changes in the next addition. CEFIC supported the discussion and offered to assist COSTHA in rectifying the issue. Based on the discussion and results from the EWG, COSTHA will continue to engage with CEFIC, France, the UK, and the EWG intersessionally and report back to the Subcommittee at the December session. No proposals were adopted.
2021/29 – Editorial amendments – The Secretariat identified a number of possible editorial amendments and requested feedback from the Subcommittee. France and the UK provided support for the proposals. Based on the discussion, the Subcommittee adopted the provisions as drafted in 2021/29 except for the change in 18.104.22.168.4.
2021/30; INF.18; INF.37 – Proposal for the establishment of an Informal Working Group on Quality – IDGCA pointed out confusion with regards to the use of a quality system when looking at the manufacture of tanks. This caused IDGCA to look at the use of the term “quality system” used elsewhere in the regulations. Noting that there were locations where the term was used differently, they requested the Subcommittee develop an Informal Working Group to discuss what is meant by the term and whether such systems should be voluntary. In INF.37, they provided additional support for such a group. In INF.18, IDGCA suggested that a “virtual presence” could be established to allow for remote implementation of the regulations and guidance provided to competent authorities to conduct their inspections and oversight virtually. Germany supported the discussion and shared additional locations where the quality system is mentioned. The UK did not feel there is a real issue at this point and were not convinced the establishment of such a WG was necessary at this time. Belgium, Austria, Australia, and Sweden welcomed the discussion but shared that quality systems are mandatory in their country, not voluntary. The US agreed with Germany that some confusion existed. The Netherlands was of the same opinion as the UK and did not feel enough technical justification had been shared to warrant a WG. They were supportive of an editorial amendment to clarify how quality systems are viewed by competent authorities. Switzerland and France agreed with the Netherlands and the UK. Germany also commented INF.18 noting that onsite visits should always take precedence over virtual audits. Their main concern about virtual inspections is data security. However, they felt that was beyond the scope of the UN Model Regulations (MR). France felt any virtual actions should not be standardized in the MR. Based on the discussion, IDGCA withdrew their proposal and may reach out to interested delegations. No proposals were adopted.
INF.11; INF.31; – Rolling Hoops Requirement for Steel Drums – 22.214.171.124.4 – Canada requested input from the Subcommittee as to whether the text in 126.96.36.199.4 was meant to require 2 rolling hoops or whether it was adopted to provide relaxation. ICDM stated in INF.31 that they believed the text provides an option for rolling hoops but does not mandate their use. Rolling hoops are often used for handling purposes and are not necessarily required for integrity. They proposed a modification of 188.8.131.52.4 to clarify that it is optional. The US supported the interpretation in INF.31 but questioned the need for the edit suggested. Belgium agreed with the US but supported the editorial amendment. The UK viewed drums without hoops to be a variation for testing with drums for hoops. But they did not believe hoops were mandatory. IFDI, China, and ICIBCA requested additional time to consider the proposals in INF.31. Based on the discussion, the Subcommittee believed the provision to be optional. Canada and ICDM will consider submitting a proposed revision for a future session. No proposals were adopted.
INF.16 – Outcome of the thirty-fourth session of the Editorial and Technical Group (the IMDG Code) – IMO shared the outcomes of the 34th Session of the IMO Editorial and Technical Group. They pointed out a number of points where they requested input from the Subcommittee. Paragraph 6 dealt with a clarification of a formula in 184.108.40.206.6.1, and paragraph dealt with lithium battery storage units. Those discussions were held in other papers submitted to this meeting. They did request feedback from the Subcommittee on items in paragraphs 11 and 12 of the document. Both paragraphs deal with radioactive items. RPMSA thanked IMO for adopting the provisions of UN3550 COBALT DIHYROXIDE containing not less than 10% respirable particles. The Secretariat commented that paragraph “or” would be more appropriate but “and” came directly from the IAEA. They have requested clarification on this point from IAEA. Canada supported the change noted in paragraph 6. France and Belgium indicated they would discuss further with IAEA and come back with a decision in December. No proposals were considered.
End of Day 4