The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) recently announced a temporary reduction in its registration fees for offerors and transporters of hazardous materials and set a deadline for applying to participate in its pilot program to test the use of paperless hazard communications. Shippers and transporters of hazardous materials may potentially benefit from these actions.

On April 19, 2013, PHMSA announced a temporary registration fee reduction. Under 49 C.F.R. part 107, subpart G, certain shippers and transporters of hazardous materials must register with PHMSA annually and pay a registration fee. For the registration year 2013-2014, the registration fee will be reduced to:

  • $125 for a small business or not-for-profit organization
  • $1,300 for all other businesses

A $25 processing fee will also apply to all registrations. PHMSA will contact shippers and transporters who have already registered for 2013-2014 concerning a refund.

On April 17, 2013, PHMSA published an update concerning its Hazardous Materials Automated Cargo Communication for Efficient and Safe Shipments (HM-ACCESS) initiative, a pilot program under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), which became effective on October 1, 2012. The purpose of HM-ACCESS is to evaluate the feasibility of using electronic shipping papers and advanced communication techniques to communicate hazards to all parties in the transportation chain, including law enforcement and first responders, instead of the hard-copy shipping papers currently required for hazardous materials shipments.

PHMSA anticipates conducting pilot tests of electronic shipping papers in up to four regions of the United States - the Northeast, Southeast, Northwest and Southwest - with at least one test being conducted in a rural area of one or more of these regions. Hard-copy shipping papers will still be required during the pilot tests. PHMSA will report the test results to Congress by October 2014.

All entities interested in participating in HM-ACCESS must submit an e-mail expressing their interest to PHMSA by May 1, 2013. Participation is voluntary and selection for participation is not guaranteed.