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Practice Area

Transportation

Highway with eighteen wheelers
©2021 Keller and Heckman LLP

Keller and Heckman attorneys represent clients on a diverse array of transportation matters ranging from helping companies navigate compliance obligations arising under hazardous materials, motor carrier, and pipeline safety regulations to negotiating transportation services agreements. Our clients include industrial, commercial, and consumer product manufacturers seeking to bring new products to market, as well those seeking solutions to transportation challenges for existing products. Keller and Heckman is able to leverage its nuanced understanding of the transportation regulations and substantial expertise in product safety, chemical control, environmental, food and drug, and worker safety to provide practical advice at the design phase regarding marking, labeling, packaging, and other transportation-related considerations. We advise companies that operate their own motor carrier fleets and pipelines in the U.S., as well as shippers offering goods for truck, rail, air, and/or vessel transport to and from locations around the world.

Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods 

Keller and Heckman assists companies with product classification and in determining whether a shipper, carrier, or shipment is subject to hazardous material/dangerous goods regulations. We assist companies in developing and refining transportation compliance management systems, conduct audits of corporate practices/procedures, and represent companies in agency (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), etc.) investigations and enforcement actions. We help clients obtain special permits, competent authority approvals, and letters of interpretation that facilitate desired domestic and international shipments per Department of Transportation (DOT), Transport Canada, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Air Transport Association (IATA), International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), etc. requirements).  

Motor Carriers

Keller and Heckman attorneys advise clients on the development and implementation of programs and procedures designed to ensure compliance with the DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), including DOT mandated drug and alcohol testing procedures and requirements, the preparation and maintenance of driver qualification files, and hours of service limitations. We help clients obtain registrations and operating authority, as well as design and implement remedial measures to enhance their overall DOT safety compliance posture and improve their assigned DOT safety ratings.

Fuels

Keller and Heckman attorneys assist clients with legal requirements applicable to the distribution of new fuels and fuel additives and have extensive experience with import and export regulations and transportation safety requirements impacting fuels. We advise clients on fuel transportation, distribution, and blending services, as well as on emergency management issues, including spill prevention control and countermeasures (SPCC).

Pipeline Safety

Keller and Heckman attorneys represent operators of hazardous liquid pipeline systems in Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and state pipeline safety agency inspections and enforcement actions.  We advise on jurisdictional issues and provide counsel on accident reporting, operation and maintenance, integrity management, safety management system (SMS), and related requirements.  

Representative Matters

  • Reviewed product portfolio for consumer product manufacturer and advise on options for addressing shipping needs and regulatory compliance obligations   
  • Advised motor carrier operator on hours of service and drug/alcohol testing requirements and developed updated driver and transportation services manuals.  
  • Reviewed and prepared update material safety data sheets (MSDS) to address U.S. and international transportation classification and regulatory requirements.
  • Successfully petitioned the UN Committee of Experts on Transportation of Dangerous Goods to remove Division 6.1 classification from listing for substance in Model Regulations and obtained U.S. DOT support for petition and ultimate removal from DOT regulations and counterparts around the world
  • Obtained competent authority approvals and special permits for new lithium battery designs/technologies
  • Advised consumer product and cosmetic product manufacturer on packaging design and marking and labeling requirements to inform new product development 
  • Developed and successfully implemented strategy to resolve inconsistent domestic and international product classification issues for bulk chemical shipper
  • Reviewed and updated corporate dangerous goods/hazardous materials training program for consumer product supplier 
  • Successfully challenged PHMSA denial of special permit for cylinder testing 
  • Developed testing plan/advocacy strategy to achieve product de-listing from transport regulations 
  • Represented pipeline operator in corrective action order and PHMSA enforcement action regarding alleged integrity management, control room, and spill response deficiencies 
  • Represent packaging supplier in PHMSA enforcement action  
  • Advised chemical product manufacturer on transportation packaging, labeling, and approval obligations and opportunities for roll-out of new product to multiple destination countries
  • Advised shippers and carriers of bulk fuel and specialty chemicals on compliance with DOT hazardous materials regulations, including secured letters of interpretation, special permits, and competent authority approvals 
  • Prepared industry comments on rail tank car specifications/requirements  
  • Negotiated favorable resolution of FRA enforcement action against rail shipper
  • Represented shipper in FAA enforcement action regarding shipment of sample products  
  • Developed updated audit and training program for hazmat shipper  
  • Obtained PHMSA special permit for novel package testing/design approach
  • Conducted audit of fuel blending facility and advised on EPA obligations  
  • Defended motor carrier operator in FMCSA enforcement action and negotiated favorable resolution

Please contact transport@khlaw.com for more information.

Areas of Focus

Advising on the development and implementation of strategies to effectively protect industry interests during federal, state, and other rulemakings, including drafting comments, petitions for rulemakings, and filing petitions for reconsideration before regulatory agencies and for review in the courts 

Preparing and obtaining support for papers to modify the Model Regulations administered by the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (Committee of Experts on TDG and GHS) 

Designing and executing thoughtful strategies to robustly represent clients in agency inspections, investigations, and enforcement proceedings; conducting audits of corporate compliance practices, procedures and systems; and recommending practical risk management solutions  

Assisting clients in developing and implementing practical solutions to address the host of regulatory requirements involving the classification, packaging, labeling, and transportation of hazardous materials in the U.S. and around the world, including lithium batteries, explosives, oxidizers, bulk and specialty chemicals, consumer products, and new technologies 

Advising clients on the development and implementation of programs and procedures designed to ensure compliance with the DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and state-specific requirements, as well as industry best practices 

Assisting clients with legal requirements applicable to the distribution of new fuels and fuel additives 

Advising and assisting clients in conducting due diligence regarding potential sales/acquisitions and in negotiating and drafting a variety of transportation service and related agreements

Partner

Associate

Taylor D. Johnson
Associate

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