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Archive for the ‘Skolnik Newsletter’ Category

Using and Keeping Closure Instructions

June 20th, 2017 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Skolnik Newsletter

In previous Skolnik Newsletters, we have mentioned the need for drum users to follow the “Skolnik-Specific” Closure Instructions when closing a drum manufactured by Skolnik. Shippers of dangerous goods containers are required by DOT (49 CFR 178.2(c) to follow these specific instructions when preparing the completed package for shipment over public right-of-way. Closure combinations and drum designs vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and therefore, Closure Instructions are not generic. Recently, DOT has also stated that every time the drum is prepared for shipment, even if empty and going to a reconditioning or disposal facility, the closure instructions must be followed. Use proper calibrated tools when effecting closure and remember, it is the responsibility of the filler to not only follow these instructions, but also to reject a container that does not appear to be properly closed. A drum torqued at more or less than the prescribed foot pounds, a ring gap greater than or less than the specified distance, or gaskets which appear not to be properly seated onto the bead, should be rejected and returned to the manufacturer.

Check out the following on the Skolnik Web site:



Rising Napa Grape Prices are a Concern

June 13th, 2017 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

In the latest issue of Wines and Vines we learn that prices for Napa County Cabernet Sauvignon have always been exceptional when compared to prices paid for wine grapes from other regions of California and for other varieties, but they are getting so high it’s of some concern to industry experts. “Any land that’s in Napa Valley, in the watershed of the Napa River, that can be planted to Cabernet and produce a good crop of Cabernet is being planted today, and they can make a call and sell the fruit for $5,000, $6,000 $7,000,” said Tony Correia, president of the real estate appraisal and consultancy firm The Correia Co. Correia was speaking at the 22nd annual Vineyard Economics Seminar held May 24 in Napa. During his presentation, Correia showed a photo of a sign posted in a Rutherford, Calif., vineyard touting 20 tons of Cabernet grapes for sale. Such a scene would be unimaginable in today’s tight market for Napa Cabernet, but Correia was pointing out that it wasn’t that long ago when the market for high-end wine had shrunk due to the 2008 recession. Since 2010, however, the price graph for Napa Cabernet has been almost straight up, as consumer demand for premium wines has rebounded in a major way. The average price per ton for Napa Cabernet was $2,000 in 1995, and it was nearly $7,000 by 2016. The average dropped from $5,000 to $4,000 between 2009 and 2010 but bounced back by 2011. Nat DiBuduo, president of the Allied Grape Growers (AGG) also said the market for luxury grapes is particularly strong and even rhetorically asked about a bubble, pondering, “How high is too high?” before quickly adding, “I shouldn’t be saying that.” DiBuduo’s interest is in seeing AGG’s members receive good prices, but he admitted to some concern about sustaining such a market at the highest price points. He also mentioned there has been “great” Sauvignon Blanc in Napa County ripped out for Cabernet Sauvignon and expressed a concern that some appellations might be in jeopardy of becoming mono-varietal. “I haven’t seen prices like this in my 17 years,” he said. “There’s got to be a point here where we have to have balance for both the winery and the grower.” DiBuduo said AGG is projecting California’s 2017 harvest to come in around 4.2 million tons, and the group believes the state’s wine grape yields will stay around that level into 2019. He said the overall market is balanced, but in the long term wine consumption is poised to outpace vineyard development. California added about 15,000 acres of vines in 2017, and the development is almost exclusively in coastal regions, Lodi or the Delta. “I don’t know of any grapes being planted in the San Joaquin Valley anymore,” DiBuduo said. “In fact, you’re seeing the complete opposite in that grapes are being pulled out of the San Joaquin Valley.” Based on burn permit data, growers have removed nearly 25,000 acres of wine grape vineyards since 2015 and will pull another 10,000 acres by the 2017 harvest. Most of the vineyards in California support the production of wines priced at more than $10 per bottle, and that number is growing, while the acreage supporting wines priced less than $7 is shrinking. Allied projects that by 2019, acres supporting higher priced wines will increase by 10% to 262,933, while vineyards for lower priced wines will decline by 7% to 182,212 acres.

Rankin Testifies at the House

May 30th, 2017 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, DOT/UN, Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

On April 26th, 2017, the US House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials held a subcommittee hearing (Chairman Jeff Denham, R-Calif.) on “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America.” Addressing the State of Railroad, Pipeline, and Hazardous Materials Safety Regulations and Opportunities for Reform, Paul Rankin, COSTHA member and President of the Reusable Industrial Packaging Association represented the IP Group. The IP Group is an informal coalition of 45+ associations that meet on a regular basis in Washington DC.

Members of the Interested Parties strongly support a robust and efficient hazardous materials transportation regulatory program. Industry recognizes the benefits of a centralized regulatory agency within the Department of Transportation (DOT) that has cross-modal and international authorities. Safety is of paramount importance to industry and the exemplary record in this area, and support for effective regulation, underscore this goal. In his testimony to the Subcommittee, Paul addresses: the Importance of Reasonable Federal Regulation in the Field of Hazardous Materials Transportation, Preemption, Programmatic Authority, Special Permits and Approvals, International Affairs, Enforcement, PHMSA Office of Planning and Analytics, Incident Reporting, and General Regulatory Reform.

To view the video of the hearing –


Paul Rankin begins his testimony at 28:45.

To read Paul’s testimony –

Schoonover Speaks to the PHMSA Future at COSTHA

May 23rd, 2017 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, DOT/UN, HazMat, Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

May 2nd, 2017 in Scottsdale, AZ – At the annual meeting of the Council on the Safe Transport of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA), William (Bill) Schoonover, Associate Administrator for Hazardous Material Safety at the US DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) presented the Vision and Mission of PHMSA. Their Vision is to be the most innovative transportation safety organization in the world, and their Mission is to protect people and the environment by advancing the safe transportation of energy and other hazardous materials that are essential in our daily lives.

PHMSA will achieve these goals by investing in people, increasing communication internally and externally, positioning for innovation, fostering transparency and improving engagement. This will be achieved by implementing a safety management system that is data driven from information gathered from the 45,000 companies overseen by DOT. This information, and implementation, will include electronic shipping papers, new hazmatics which will improve how data is collected, and the beginning of regulation and data collection of autonomous vehicles. In addition, PHMSA will be the first government agency to have an ISO 9000 certified data collection system.

In addition to Mr. Schoonover, Ryan Pacquet, Director of Approvals and Permits; Shane Kelley, Assistant International Standards Coordinator; and Lindsey Constantino, International Transportation Specialist, also addressed the COSTHA members on the PHMSA strategies for the near future.