[ID] => 10230
[post_author] => 34
[post_date] => 2018-10-22 09:29:28
[post_date_gmt] => 2018-10-22 08:29:28
[post_content] => There was something of a ‘rail’ theme to the November 1988 issue of HCB. Not only was there a profile of UP Railroad’s hazmat activities and a report on tank car construction in the US, but we also posed the intriguing question: what’s safer – road or rail?
Thirty years, ago, the West German government (as it was then – the Berlin Wall had another year’s life left) had just taken action to require dangerous goods to move to rail wherever possible. The move came as a response to an accident in July 1987 when a road tanker carrying gasoline ran out of control and crashed into a café in Herborn, killing four people. The provision is still in place in the snappily titled Gefahrgutsverordnungs-Strasse and is perhaps not well understood by hauliers outside of Germany.
At the time, we said of the German action: “The move has infuriated the road transport industry, jeopardised the status of the ADR Agreement and placed the European rail tank wagon leasing business in a difficult position with practically no time to plan for their being granted a virtual monopoly on the long-distance carriage of bulk hazardous liquids through the Federal Republic.”
Perhaps, as things turned out, we were being overly dramatic: the ADR Agreement remains firm and there does not appear to be any problem with delivering dangerous goods in bulk in Germany, albeit a number of major players in the chemical industry do make more use of rail transport than their peers in other European countries.
There were suggestions at the time that other states would follow West Germany’s example. Spain, for instance, was thought a likely candidate, not least since it suffered one of the highest rates of road accidents in Europe. Since then, and following its accession to the EU in 1986, there has been massive investment in its road network and things are much better. Plus, there was always the issue of the Iberian gauge rail network, effectively split off from the rest of Europe by the need to transload goods at the French border. While Euro-gauge tracks are making inroads into Spain, the link with the chemical hub at Tarragona is still not complete, making it harder for manufacturers there to achieve seamless movement by rail to the rest of Europe.
The November 1988 issue also looked at the latest session of the ECE Working Party on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, which had finalised the changes to ADR due to enter into force in 1990. Much of the work dealt with revision of the requirements for explosives and radioactives but there was also a lot to be done to adopt the new Class 9, as well as Appendix A.6 on intermediate bulk containers (IBCs). It is illuminating to remember that those provisions are only thirty years old, when they are now such an integral part of the dangerous goods supply chain.
HCB also reported on the August 1988 meeting of the Group of Experts on Explosives, the last prior to its merger with the UN Group of Rapporteurs. There were concerns among the explosives experts that the move would lead to less time being available for discussion of Class 1 issues which, for them at least, were obviously much more important than other classes.
[post_title] => 30 Years Ago: November 1988
[post_status] => publish
[comment_status] => open
[ping_status] => open
[post_name] => 30-years-ago-november-1988
[post_modified] => 2018-10-18 11:32:05
[post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-18 10:32:05
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[guid] => https://www.hcblive.com/?p=10230
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30 Years Ago: November 1988
// By Peter Mackay on 22 Oct 2018
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