What began as a small technical tweak has morphed into a big headache for trucked shipments of coatings around North America.
|Drivers of coatings shipped in totes and IBCs are inadvertently running afoul of a new rule aimed at tank vehicles, the American Coatings Association says.|
Swept up in a law of unintended consequences, coatings manufacturers are reporting “delays and difficulties” in product shipments, including drivers being ticketed, due to a recent change in the regulatory definition of a tank vehicle.
The change was not meant to affect coatings shipments, but it has. Now, the American Coatings Association, which represents manufacturers, is scrambling for a remedy.
Tank Trucks or Trucks with Tanks?
The problem stems from a May 2011 final rulemaking on the requirements for a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
In that rule, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) changed the regulatory definition of a tank vehicle “to reflect legitimate concerns from enforcement officials concerning ambiguities about which vehicles should be regulated as tank trucks,” according to ACA.
The change came in response to a February 2008 petition from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), a North American nonprofit that represents commercial motor carriers.
CVSA’s petition sought to clarify the differences between cargo tanks, which are attached in transport, and portable tanks, which are not attached in transport.
According to ACA, the petition “explicitly noted that individual portable tanks under 1,000 gallons, even if part of an aggregate shipment including more than 1,000 total gallons of capacity, should not trigger the need for a tank endorsement on a commercial driver’s license.”
In the end, however, that's exactly what happened.
The final rule, ACA says, “contained a new definition that is overly broad by including all shipments of bulk tank or tanks that have a total aggregate capacity of 1,000 gallons or more.”
The new definition is “extremely problematic” for the paint and coatings industry, which trucks “a significant amount” of product in totes (small portable tanks) and intermediate bulk containers (which typically carry 275 to 500 gallons).
Before the rule, drivers hauling these containers were only required to have a valid CDL with a hazmat endorsement. Now, the same drivers need a tank vehicle endorsement as well.
Tickets and Trouble
Coating manufacturers have complained to ACA that their drivers are being cited for violations of the new requirement, “which is causing delays and difficulties in moving totes and IBCs,” the group said.
The problems have spurred ACA to meet with law enforcement leaders and request “soft enforcement” of the rule until it can get FMSCA to “reconsider this definition. “
ACA reports that it is working to get FMSCA to change the definition—again—to exclude totes and IBCs and has requested a meeting with FMSCA Administrator Anne Ferro to discuss the issue.