These columns often find parallels between the news HCB was presenting thirty years ago and the pages of the current issue. The basics are very much the same: for instance, in May 1990 we wrote about the European road tanker market, the growth of the tank container sector in the US, combined road/rail transport, gas shipping, US packaging specifications, and the latest deliberations at the UN Sub-committee and the ADN Safety Committee. Environmental issues were there too, though perhaps not as high-profile as they are these days, even if the concept of ‘sustainability’ had not been defined. Digitisation was some way off, though we reported back then about the installation of onboard computers on trucks.
Another parallel could be found in the Safety pages of the May 1990 issue, where we reported on the travails experienced by Exxon in the year since the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in March 1989. On Christmas Eve that year, two people were killed and others injured by a “thunderous explosion” at the company’s Baton Rouge refinery in Louisiana, which set fire to five storage tanks, and on 2 January 1990 Exxon’s underwater pipeline in New York harbour sprang a leak. Readers might want to refer to this month’s Incident Log, where we record another explosion at the same refinery, though this time fortunately without fatalities.
In Europe, preparations were being made for the single market’s arrival in 1992. As part of that, the UK was looking to adopt ADR for domestic as well as international road transport of dangerous goods and HCB had sampled industry’s appetite (or otherwise) for the change. In general, we reported, there was a mood to support alignment but there were still qualms about the applicability of ADR to UK operations. In particular, industry did not want to lose the established Hazchem marking system for road tankers, although reassurance was offered that this would still be available for use, as it still is to this day. One particular qualm was the lack of an emergency contact number on the ADR plate and there was talk at that time of adding it, though nothing came of the initiative.
Interestingly, as we report in this issue from presentations at the BADGP annual conference, the UK Department for Transport is wrestling with similar issues as the UK prepares for the full effect of Brexit, with a lot of legislative changes in the offing.
We did not forget our US readers in May 1990, of course, and there was a further article from Ron Bohn of the National Cargo Bureau, who looked in particular at the way in which the US was applying the IMDG Code. Ron noted that the latest version of the US Hazardous Materials Regulations, ‘revised as of October 1, 1989’ had just been published; however, the ‘Optional Table’ in 172.102 of HMR was still four IMDG amendments out of date. There was a provision to allow shippers to use the proper shipping names in the IMDG Code as if they were in the Optional Table, but this would require approval from the US Department of Transportation. There were also differences in the regulation of the transport of motor vehicles in closed containers, though that has now at last been aligned.[post_title] => 30 Years Ago: May 1990 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 30-years-ago-may-1990 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-04-08 11:36:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-04-08 10:36:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://hcblive.com/?p=19231 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )