Quality Management Program - Interpretation by DOT PHMSA / USA Ref.-No. 18-0073 - Responsibility of the manufacturer

Up until now the text of the UN Model Regulations, the ADR, IMDG Code and ICAO TI / IATA DGR implies that the shipper/consignor needs to ensure that the manufacturer of the lithium cells and lithium batteries has manufactured them according to the Quality Management Program described in the regulations.
Because such a confirmation is hard to get from some cell and battery manufacturer, we asked the PHMSA whether it poses a transport prohibition to the shipper/consigor if a confirmation of the manufacture according to QM Program can not be obtained from the cell resp. the battery manufacturer.
The answer from the PHMSA is absolutely clear. They see the responsibility solely on the manufacturer side.
Should you be interested in what the Quality Management System implies, you can find the requirements here:
In the 49 CFR §173.185 there is no requirement of a manufacture according to Quality Management Program. Therefore for transports within the USA this is not required from manufacturers of lithium cells and lithium batteries. Only when lithium cells and lithium batteries are transported internationally the liability exists to manufacture according to QM Program.
We have now asked PHMSA to change the respective text on UN basis in the UN Model Regulations, so that the text in the UN Model Regulations in the future will make clear that the responsibility lies with the manufacturer and not include the Shipper/Consignor in the liability as it does now.
The whole text of the letter of interpretation you can find on the PHMSA website under this link:
And should you have any questions regarding the text, please feel free to contact us via:
In our checklists and Supplier Inquiry Forms we will keep the question about the Quality Management Program until the respective text will be changed. Because on the United Nations level the opinions differ. And we´d like to give our customers legal certainty worldwide.

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