How will we remember the year 2020 when it’s all over? We may remember the clean air and quiet roads, and we may remember the struggles and stresses involved in getting enough food and drink.
But apart from that, will we remember it at all? My diary, for instance, is blank from early March onwards – blank, that is, apart from all the engagements and trips that had been planned only to be cancelled or postponed, and are now still in the pages of the diary, crossed out. Postponed till when? It’s hard to tell – pretty much everything this side of October is now not happening and some events that have been put back once have since been postponed even further.
This has affected everyone in the industry – although as we see in the pages of this issue of HCB, many companies are able to carry on and, with some tweaks to the way they are doing things, are still making money.
Also affected, of course, have been the regulators. They too have been unable to travel – and probably unwilling, too. After all, who wants to share a stuffy meeting room in Geneva with 100 or so other experts who have flown in from all points of the compass? Let’s not forget either that a fair number of these experts are not in the first flush of youth – that’s how they get to be experts – and are among those most at risk from the virus.
So if the experts cannot get to the meeting rooms at the UN building, how do they make regulations? Well, the short answer is: they can’t. So far this year the spring Joint Meeting of the RID/ADR/ADN experts, the spring sessions of the RID Committee of Experts and its standing working group and of WP15, and the summer sessions of the UN TDG and GHS experts have all been cancelled.
In all cases, these meetings were the last opportunity for the regulators to agree major changes to their respective rulebooks and, at least for RID and ADR, the 2021 texts will include only those changes that had already been adopted in the latter part of 2019 – although there may be some amendments, corrections and consequential amendments.
Likewise, the UN TDG Sub-committee will now miss the third of its four sessions in the current biennium. Traditionally this has been the one session where all the hard work and disagreements are sorted out and set down as the amendments that will appear in the next issue of the UN Model Regulations, for publication next year. The final session is generally left for late changes and tidying up. This will not happen this time around.
What all this does mean is that the next editions of the regulations will include fewer changes than they might have done. I dare say there will be many in industry who see this as a good thing, and I have some sympathy with that position.
On the other hand, it also means that there may be some safety-critical changes that are not adopted promptly, although the modal authorities may be able to bring those forward into the 2023 revisions rather than wait to 2025.
And in any case, you will still have to buy copies of the new regulations next year. Peter Mackay[post_title] => Letter from the editor on postponements [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => letter-from-the-editor-on-postponements [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-15 07:52:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-15 06:52:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://hcblive.com/?p=21011 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )