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A. TOPICS BY TRANSPORT MODE.
- Final Rule – “The Federal Maritime Commission … revises its rules to impose registration requirements on foreign-based unlicensed non-vessel-operating common carriers and to extend an exemption from certain provisions and requirements of the Shipping Act of 1984 and the Commission regulations to foreign-based unlicensed non-vessel-operating common carriers that agree to negotiated rate arrangements.” Great summary from Thompson Hine LLP.
- Announcement of Policy – The “[Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration] FMCSA announces that Commercial Mobile Radio Services (CMRS) network devices can be used as transponders for the purposes of [Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks] CVISN electronic screening truck inspection and weigh station bypass systems.” Note: This could lead to some real efficiencies.
- Emergency Railway Safety Rules – Transport Canada announced these in wake of Lac-Mégantic tragedy following two advisory letters to it from Transportation Safety Board of Canada (counterpart to U.S. National Transportation Safety Board): (1) Require 2 operators on a locomotive attached to loaded tank cars carrying “dangerous goods” (counterpart to U.S. usage “hazardous materials”), and (2) ensure that non trains are left unattended while transporting loaded tank cars with dangerous goods.
- Announcement of 2-day Public Meeting & Establishment of Public Docket – Presumably part of the federal government’s response to Lac-Mégantic tragedy: U.S. DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA’s) Hazardous Materials Division announces along with Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration a 2-day meeting August 27-28 about “a public meeting addressing the transportation of hazardous materials by rail”.
- Agency Notice – U.S. DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) announced that it is studying “close calls” in the railroad industry. Rail safety researchers at RITA will receive reports and interview on the occasion of each qualifying “close call” incident.
- Final Rules – The Surface Transportation Board (U.S. STB) changes the rules on two forms of rate complaint proceedings to make the procedural offerings to reduce the time, complexity and cost of cases in which a party wishes to complain about rail rates to the U.S. STB.
B. TOPICS BY TRANSPORT POLICY.
- Agency Notice – As authorized by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Centruy Act (MAP-21), the “[Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration] PHMSA invites volunteers for a pilot program to evaluate the effectiveness of paperless hazard communications systems and comments on an information collection activity associated with the pilot program.” The innovation: “Paperless hazardous materials (e-HM) communications systems (e-systems)”. The challenge: All parties – but especially emergency response providers – have historically relied on physical signage and shipping papers when coming into contact with a hazmat incident.
Homeland Security (U.S. Customs)
- Agency Notice – U.S. Customs and Border Protection announce that they will modify the National Customs Automation Program tests concerning document imaging (Document Image System test) and entry capability (Simplified Entry test) for specified users of the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) system. Practical impact: Simplify the entry process by reducing the number of data elements required to obtain release for cargo transported by air.
C. TOPICS BY AGENCY INITIATIVE.
No post this week.
D. TOPICS BY LEGAL DISCIPLINE.
No post this week.
E. NOTEWORTHY CRIMINAL ENFORCEMENT, CIVIL ACTIONS or INSPECTOR GENERAL AUDITS.
No post this week.