The OTIF has issued a new regulation for the transportation of hazardous materials. What changes for the carrier?

The OTIF has issued a new regulation for the transportation of hazardous materials. What changes for the carrier?
photo: Archives/Railway station
14 / 11 / 2020

The Intergovernmental Organization for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) has updated the rules for the transportation of dangerous goods (RID). The new edition of the Regulation on International Carriage by Rail will apply from the 1st of January 2021. Thus, it will replace the existing Regulation of 2019. For a transitional period until the 30th of June 2021, the application of the Edition of 2019 will be tolerated.

So, what has changed in the rules? Several new features appeared in the RID 2021 rule release. It focuses on technical and scientific progress and aims to improve a rail safety. They also deal with the environmental friendliness of the transportation while maintaining efficient performance.

The RID 2021 also introduces a new UN number (UN3549), which will be used for solid medical waste. This is  a waste generated during the treatment of people or animals that are infected with the category A infectious substances. If the transporter wishes to transport such waste, it will have to follow the new instructions for its packaging.The UN number 3549 shall not be used for the biological research wastes or liquid wastes.

The new rules place more emphasis on checklists for filling and emptying tankers carrying liquids and gases. The aim is to increase the safety of such a transport. These checklists are available directly on the OTIF website to make them as accessible as possible. Those who perform the cars must meet all safety obligations, with the greatest emphasis on the tightness of the tank cars. These are the checklists that are to help people in their responsible work.

The RID 2021 also applies to the international transportation of dangerous goods by rail. In total, they relate to 45 parties in Europe, Africa, or Asia. In the EU Member States, the RID rules also apply to a national transport.

The RID 2021 is coordinated with the provisions and transport of dangerous goods (ADR), which will facilitate multimodal transport. The rules will also be available in foreign languages. In addition to English, they will be published in French and German. The Russian version will be released a year later.

Increasing railway safety is a long-term priority for both holders and haulers. New safer technological parameters are being developed for freight railway cars as well as various software smart solutions. Following previous, the OTIF respects current trends and updates of the RID rules in the sense of greater security. This can be a huge benefit for the rail safety.

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