April 2016 Transportation News Update

1. SOLAS Regulation

The international Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulation has reached the final stage of the rulemaking process. This new regulation, effective July 1, 2016, requires all shipping containers leaving from any port across the world to be accompanied by a shipping document signed electronically or physically by the shipper on the bill of lading.

This document must have the verified gross mass (VGM) of the container in order to be loaded onto a ship. The VGM must be weighed by one of the approved methods, one of which is a scale calibrated and certified to the national standards of the country where the container is being weighed.

Currently, the consequences of not having this VGM document or the enforcement policy have not been finalized. However, many ports have already made it clear that they are not offering weighing services, which puts the sole responsibility back on the shipper.

2. FDA’s Final Rule on Safe Transportation of Food Rule

There’s been some buzz in the industry about the FDA’s new rules regarding food safety during transit.  There was talk of a new rule that could shake up the industry quite a bit, and that has finally come to fruition.

As of April 6, 2016, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the Final Rule for the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food.  The aim of this new rule is to further protect food from contamination from farm to table. This means there are a new set of requirements for all shippers, receivers, 3PLs, loaders, and carriers who transport food in the United States by motor or rail vehicle.

Some of the key requirements noted by the FDA are that all vehicles and transportation equipment involved in the transit of food must be sanitary and able to be cleaned, as well as be able to maintain a temperature that is safe for the food they are hauling. Also, responsible parties will be held accountable for keeping ready-to-eat food from touching raw food, protection from contamination from a previous load of food, and cross-contact that could aid in spreading a food-borne illness. In addition, carriers will now be formally responsible for receiving training in safe food transport, as well as keeping the associated records.

Depending upon the size and role of the business, compliance dates vary. The earliest compliance dates begin on April 6, 2017, while those deemed as small businesses have until April 6, 2018 to comply.

To learn more about waivers and exemptions to this rule and compliance dates, visit the FDA’s website.

3. New Senate Bill Addresses 34-Hour Restart Rule

If you read our February news update, you may remember the 34-hour restart rule had been suddenly removed from legislation, an action that appeared to be accidental. The ruling, which requires commercial motor vehicle drivers to take an off-duty rest that includes two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods within 34 consecutive hours, is back on the map with the Senate’s new bill.

This new bill, the 2017 FY Transportation and Housing and Urban Development funding bill, makes it known that the restart rule will be in full effect if the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) study on the pre-2013 restart period shows that these restart hours make for safer roadways. If the 34-hour restart rule does go back into effect, there will also be a new set of regulations to go along with it. One of the most notable would be that there would be a 73-hour work week cap on the consecutive amount of time a driver can be on duty in any seven-day period after making use of the 34-hour restart.

If the DOT’s study shows that the 2013 restart rules are safer, then those regulations would go back into effect. This means that truckers could use a 34-hour rest period to restart their week, but they would have to have at least two 1 a.m. to 5 p.m. periods in that restart. This specified restart would only be allowed once a week. This rule set would not include a 73-hour cap.

This bill noting the possible scenarios made final by the outcome of the DOT’s study on driver fatigue and hours of service, has been passed in the Senate, but will still need to be passed by the full Senate, not just the committee, as well as the U.S. House.

We will update you as more information becomes available about each of these hot topics. To learn more about how Trinity can help you, click here