“Sea Change” Amendment to TDG Proposed- Criteria Requiring IMDG Code Clarified

Hot on the heels of the Feb. 2 Transport Canada proposed amendment (“Harmonization Updates”) posting, there was another (Feb. 9) proposal for consultation to clarify the intent of Part 11 regarding marine/ferry shipments.

A major result, if the proposal is adopted, will remove the confusion around when the IMDG Code is mandatory for vessel (updated terminology to replace the noun “ship”) shipments of dangerous goods. This issue has been subject to conflicting interpretations from time-to-time; not just among consignors, but also within the transport and enforcement communities.

This difficulty in making a clear interpretation stemmed from the difference in the intent of the term “Home Trade Voyage” in an obsolete version of the Canada Shipping Act which was quoted (perhaps out of context) in Part 11 of the TDGR.
A literal reading implied that essentially all “salt water” voyages could be considered Class I home trade voyages; requiring use of the IMDG Code.

As proposed, shipments by ferry to, for example Newfoundland or Vancouver Island, will likely clearly be under the provisions of the TDGR, not the IMDG Code. This will be of benefit, particularly to shippers of limited quantity/consumer commodity items which should no longer require a formal dangerous goods document or other considerations unique to the IMDG Code.

Short-Run Ferry qualification criteria may also be expanded to 5 km voyages; and restrictions on fuel transport on passenger ferries may be relaxed based on risk assessments/current equivalency certificate experience.

Comments on the proposal are welcomed by Transport Canada until Feb.28 – see:
http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/tdg/safety-menu-1262.html

Clifton J. Brown

Clifton J. Brown

Clifton Brown has over 35 years of practical experience in the Canadian chemical and manufacturing industries. He has worked in research, quality, environment, health and safety in a range of industries including explosives, pesticides, manufacturing/contract packaging, pharmaceuticals, and specialty chemicals. This experience has provided a basis for dealing with a variety of regulatory approaches that have been useful in implementing and evaluating/auditing compliance. This experience has also been useful in effectively helping others to understand and apply the regulations in a North American context. Clifton represents ICC on the RDC regulatory and safe operations committees, participates in Transport Canada consultations and attends WSPS, CSSE and related activities.