Effective Jan. 1, 2010, Canada will no longer recognize unmarked and unrated cargo securement devices.

Like the U.S., Canada had historically accepted unmarked and unrated cargo tiedown devices, and granted them the rating values described in table 393.108 (Default Working Load Limits) of the North American Cargo Securement regulations. As of New Year's Day, unrated and unmarked tiedown devices will be zero-rated in Canada.

"A phase-out provision for the default Working Load Limits for unmarked tiedowns was included when the provinces and territories adopted National Safety Code Standard 10 [cargo securement] in 2005," says John Pearson, chair, NSC 10 interpretation committee. "Still, we'll be giving drivers a year to upgrade their equipment. We'll be conducting educational enforcement for a 12-month period, and issuing only warnings -- except to those drivers who have been caught more than once."

In order to get the ascribed rating for the tiedown device, a label with the manufacturer's information and the rated Working Load Limit (WLL) of the complete tiedown assembly must be affixed to the device and be legible. Each of the components of a tiedown assembly does not have to be marked and rated if a rating is provided for the complete assembly. In the absence of a labeled WLL for a complete tiedown assembly, the WLL for the assembly would be based on the lowest WLL that appears on any of its components. In the absence of any rating, the device will be zero-rated.

Since enforcement in the U.S. will continue to rate unmarked tiedown devices at the default WLL, some confusion could arise from determining Aggregate Working Load Limits (AWLL) in cross-border operations. When calculating AWLL for a group of tiedown devices, each device used contributes to the AWLL. For example, four 4-in. synthetic webbed straps labeled with a WLL of 5,400 lb would sum to 21,600 lb. -- the AWLL. However, if the rating on one of those straps could not be identified, it would be zero rated, resulting in an AWLL of only 16,200 lb. The result in Canada could be some cargo deemed improperly secured.

Applied Examples
Marked 4-in. synthetic webbed strap: 5,400 lb WLL
Unmarked 4-in. synthetic webbed strap: 4,000 lb WLL (default WWL rating US)
Unmarked 4-in. synthetic webbed strap: 0 lb WLL (Canada)

Marked 5/16 Grade 70 transport chain: 4,700 lb WLL
Unmarked 5/16 chain: 1,900 lb WWL (deemed Grade 30, default WLL rating US)
Unmarked 5/16 chain: 0 lb WWL (Canada)