• PHMSA Issues Q&A Regarding the Use of Electronic Shipping Papers

  • PHMSA Issues Q&A Regarding the Use of Electronic Shipping Papers


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    BREAKING NEWS from The Petroleum Marketers Association of America!
    May 5, 2020

    PHMSA Issues Q&A Regarding the
    Use of Electronic Shipping Papers

    Tuesday, May 5, 2020 – The U.S. DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued a guidance document on methods for transferring product transfer documents (shipping papers) while adhering to social distancing requirements. The guidance is important to petroleum marketers and heating fuel dealers because it clarifies that while electronic shipping papers for hazardous materials may be used for all parties along the distribution chain, including for shippers certification signatures, hard copies of shipping papers must still be kept in the cab of the cargo tank transport truck at all times in the event of an accident or investigation. This guidance does not apply to heating fuel delivery tickets left with commercial and residential customers. State law requires delivery tickets to be left with customers at the time the tank is filled and not electronical transferred – unless, otherwise waived by a State for COVID-19 social distancing purposes. At this time PMAA is not aware of any such state waiver.
    Shipping Papers
    Q1 – Does PHMSA’s guidance issued on April 10, 2020, titled “Notice Highlighting Existing Options Related to Hazardous Materials Shipping Papers and Social Distancing during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” provide any relief from the HMR or enforcement actions?
    A1 – No. The guidance is intended to clarify that shippers and carriers can comply with the HMR with respect to the exchange of shipping papers while also adhering to social distancing guidelines.
    Q2 – Is a computer-generated signature an acceptable way of complying with the signature certification requirements of the HMR?
    A2 – Yes. A certification may be accomplished by mechanical means such as a computer-generated electronic signature, in addition to other conventional forms of certification (e.g., signed manually, by typewriter, or by other mechanical means). (See 49 CFR 172.204(d)(2)
    Q3 – When hazardous materials are being transported by highway, do electronic shipping papers comply with the requirements of the HMR?
    A3 – No. In accordance with 49 CFR 177.817(e), during highway transportation a shipping paper must be in hard copy form. Furthermore, a driver of a motor vehicle containing hazardous material and each carrier using such a vehicle, shall ensure that the shipping paper is readily available to, and recognizable by, authorities in the event of an accident or investigation. Note: While a physical paper is required to be in the vehicle, the HMR do not prohibit having and transmitting an additional electronic shipping paper throughout the transport chain to support efficiencies and/or social distancing.  
      PMAA Today is published by The Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA)

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