Back Customer Notifications Home

Customer Notifications inform BNSF customers of the latest news covering BNSF services, tools, prices and facilities.
To: BNSF Customers

New Federal Hazardous Material Emergency Contact Requirements Effective July 5, 2017

BNSF Railway, in response to a regulatory change by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), will no longer accept alphanumeric telephone numbers as part of submitted emergency response contact information. Beginning July 5, shipping information for any hazardous material offered in transportation must include a numeric emergency response telephone number, including the area code.

The numeric telephone number provided may contain the following punctuation marks: open and closed parentheses '( )', dashes '-', periods '.' and plus sign '+' as well as OPT or EXT where appropriate. For telephone numbers outside the United States, the international access code, or the ''+'' (plus) sign with country code and city code, as appropriate, must be included.

The regulation, an amendment that first became effective July 5, 2016 with mandatory compliance extended to 2017, was proposed to address any undesirable delays in acquiring emergency response information in time-sensitive situations where a first responder would have to first convert letters to numbers. Full details regarding this regulatory change via the associated final rule from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration [Docket No. PHMSA-2013-0225 (HM-218H)] can be reviewed here.

EDI Rail Billing
Per EDI standards, an emergency contact name or contract number (PER*02) is required along with an emergency contact telephone number (PER*04). All EDI 404/858 rail billing instructions transmitted to BNSF with alpha characters in the emergency response telephone number section (PER*04 field within the hazardous loop - with the exception of EXT or OPT) will be rejected beginning July 5. Any filler text, such as 'N/A,' 'Not Shown,' 'None Shown,' or 'Unknown, as well as 'spaces' / 'null' value is also not permitted.

For customers using an Emergency Response Information Service Provider (ERISP) (Chemtrec, InfoTrac, Canutec, Chemtel, SETIQ, Cenacom, 3E Company, etc.), do not provide the name of the ERISP. Instead, provide the ERISP's contract number and, when applicable, the contract holder's name.

When identifying a contract number, the literal "CONTRACT," "CCN," or "CONT" is to be shown preceding the contract number. Please refer to the examples below for valid format:

PER*HM*CONTRACT: 4108*TE*1234567890
PER*HM*ACME CHEMICAL*TE*+123 456 7890 123
PER*HM*CONTRACT: 4108*TE*1234567890 EXT 123
PER*HM*CONT: 4108*TE*1234567890 EXT.123
PER*HM*CONTRACT: 4108*TE*1234567890 OPT1
PER*HM*ACME CHEMICAL*TE*(123) 456-7890 OPT. 1

BNSF Shipping Instructions
If using BNSF's online Shipping Instructions tool, update the HAZMAT entry screen with your emergency response information, including either the Name of Offerer or the Contract Number (agreement with an ERISP) and the numeric emergency telephone number. Any Bill of Lading created via the BNSF Shipping Instructions tool will not reject ERISP information when submitting online, however, an error will be generated that could cause a delay in your shipment. Please refer to the summary screen after transmitting your Bill of Lading to ensure no errors were generated.

For assistance with BNSF Shipping Instructions tool, please contact our Waybill Solutions Team at (888) 428-2673 option 3,2,4.

Your business is important to us. Thank you for choosing BNSF Railway as your transportation service provider.

If you have any questions, please send an email to