RSPA Proposes Changes to Improve Safe Transportation of Infectious Substances
The United States Department of Transportation's Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) has proposed changes to regulations governing transportation of infectious substances. This proposal is designed to enhance safe transportation of these materials and to harmonize those regulations with international transportation standards.
The proposed rule applies to infectious substances, including diagnostic specimens, biological products, regulated medical waste, and genetically modified microorganisms. Proposed changes to the hazardous materials regulations include:
Adopting new classification criteria for infectious substances based on criteria developed by the World Health Organization and consistent with standards contained in the United Nations' Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and the International Civil Aviation Organization's Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air.
Revising packaging requirements for infectious substances for consistency with international performance standards.
Imposing certain packaging and hazardous communication requirements for shipments of diagnostic specimens. Such specimens transported in dedicated motor vehicles by private or contract carriers would continue to be excepted from many requirements.
Limiting the current biological products exception to those biological products licensed for use under regulations of the Federal Drug Administration or US Department of Agriculture.
Adding requirements for transportation of genetically modified microorganisms consistent with international requirements.
Providing new bulk packaging options for transportation of regulated medical waste.
Making new hazard communication requirements for shipments of infectious substances, including a new marking requirement for bulk shipments of regulated medical waste.
Sewage Hauler Faces Fraud Charges
Frederick Fish of Ipswich MA was charged Jan 10, 2001, with mail fraud in connection with disposal of more than 10 million gallons of sewage. The defendant is the owner and president of Raggs Inc, a sewage hauling business in Concord MA.
Between January 1996 and September 1998, Fish allegedly disposed of sewage pumped from residential septic tanks and restaurant grease traps by discharging it into manholes connected to municipal sewers. This dumping allegedly was done to avoid paying treatment fees. Fish allegedly charged his customers 10 cents per gallon, contending that the sewage was being properly disposed of at a local treatment facility. Such facilities in Massachusetts usually charge 4½ cents per gallon to accept sewage. Fish allegedly pocketed the money that legally should have been paid to the treatment facilities.
If convicted, Fish faces up to five years in prison and/or up to $250,000 in fines.
International Marketing Teams Up with Tyme Tyre Management
International Marketing Inc (IMI), a tire and wheel product manufacturer based in the United States, has entered into a partnership with Tyme Tyre Management of Germany in which Tyme will distribute IMI's tire management systems throughout Europe and Australia.
These systems include the Snapshot Fleet Tire Survey System and the Audit Tire Management System, which both combine electronic tire inspection tools with Windows-based software to speed tire inspection with no manual data entry required after the inspection.
The tools, which have patents pending, are designed for use in a shop environment and can withstand outdoor elements. They comprise a hand-held controller (Data-Audit), an autoinflator (Air-Audit), and a digital tread depth reader (Tread-Audit).
Transportation Faces E-Commerce Roadblocks
A national electronic commerce study, conducted by business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce technology provider Edifecs, shows that one of the biggest e-commerce bottlenecks among transportation providers is “enablement”: the process of preparing a company, its internal systems, and trading partners to begin conducting online transactions.
Edifecs, based in Bellevue WA, said enablement is a time-consuming set of activities that involves a great deal of interaction via fax, phone, and e-mail, as well as visual checks to make sure e-commerce connections work smoothly.
The study, called Solving the B2B Ramp-Up Challenge, found that transportation companies need almost six months to establish just one electronic connection with one partner. The study also found that 46% of transportation companies currently conduct B2B e-commerce operation with less than 25% of their trading-partner base and that 77% conduct fewer than 15 processes electronically with their partners.
Edifecs' study also found that it takes transportation firms more than twice as long to establish e-commerce “groundwork” than those in other industries — an average of 399 days versus 188 days.
Finance Company Sees Grim Days Ahead
Boston MA-based Chancellor Co, a financial firm that serves the transportation industry, said market consolidation, an over-supply of trucks, rising fuel costs, and bankruptcies are all major factors affecting the entire trucking industry — and will continue to cause the industry heartburn.
Brian M Adley, chairman and chief executive officer of Chancellor, said the oversupply of used trucks and high fuel prices have negatively impacted the entire trucking industry, and that he expects industry conditions to continue to weaken. Truck output in the United States could drop 45% to 130,000 units in 2001, he said.
Bankruptcies, consolidation, and cutbacks are sweeping the industry. A recent study by a major investment brokerage showed that the rate of bankruptcies in trucking hit a record high of 1,320 in third-quarter 2000. In addition, 1,365 trucking companies went bankrupt in the first two quarters, resulting in 2,700 declaring bankruptcy through third-quarter 2000.