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HQ 959626

July 16, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 959626 JRS


TARIFF NO.: 8426.41.0005

Thomas J. O'Donnell, Esquire
O'Donnell, Byrne & Williams
20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 1416
Chicago, IL 60606

RE: Container handling machines; Reachstackers; works trucks fitted with a crane; heading 8426; NY 881418; HQs 952400, 086864 distinguished; HQ 085938 noted; ENs 84.26, 84.27

Dear Mr. O'Donnell:

Your letter to the National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, dated July 3, 1996, on behalf of Mi-Jack Products, has been referred to this office for reply. Your inquiry concerns the classification of Fantuzzi Reachstackers made in Italy. A sales brochure on three types, namely the contstacker, railstacker and transtacker, accompanied the ruling request. Descriptive literature was included for Models RS 50, RS 60, Reach Packer MJ-45H5-2 and Rail Packer MJ-50RS.


The Fantuzzi Reachstackers are mobile self-propelled machines used to load and unload shipping containers in railroad depots, dockyards, and similar transportation terminals, as well as to stack the shipping containers one on top of the other in order to reduce the amount of space the containers occupy in the terminal. The Reachstackers consist of three types (the contstacker, railstacker and transtacker) which are of the same basic design and construction, but which differ in capacity, wheelbase and application features for use in ports and railyards.

The basic features of the Reachstackers consist of a diesel powered six-wheeled chassis, a hydraulically operated telescoping boom which is mounted at the rear of the unit, a rotatable spreader attached to the end of the boom for picking up a 20 to 40 foot container, and an enclosed operator's cab (which has a multifunctional joystick for one-handed control of boom elevation, spreader telescoping and rotation, side shift and slope) located in front of the boom pivot point on the chassis. The spreader can be removed and replaced with a winch and hook, and is capable of rotating from -95§ to 185§ (degrees) and contains a dampening system with twin cylinders to minimize container sway while suspended. Depending on the model, Reachstackers can lift up to 99,000 pounds (49.5 tons) and can stack containers up to five or six high in three rows. They have a maximum speed of 24 - 25 kilometers per hour unladen and 23 to 24.5 km/hr laden. Their turning radius is less than their length (e.g., turning radius of 370 inches for 489 inches overall length). A digital control system is available on the Reachstackers which allows for automatic load weighing, vertical lifting/lowering, horizontal inreach/outreach, height preselection, and boom status readout.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8426 Ships' derricks; cranes, including cable cranes; mobile lifting frames, straddle carriers and works trucks fitted with a crane:

Other machinery, self-propelled:
8426.41.00 On tires...0.8 percent ad valorem
8426.41.0005 Works trucks fitted with a crane

8427 Fork-lift trucks; other works trucks fitted with lifting or handling equipment:

8427.20 Other self-propelled trucks:

8427.20.80 Other...Free


Whether the lifting mechanism on the Reachstacker, a works truck, qualifies as a "crane" under heading 8426.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

The EN to heading 87.09, which defines "works trucks" as "self-propelled trucks for the transport of goods which are fitted with, for example, a platform or container (sometimes designed for elevating) on which the goods are loaded" excludes, in pertinent part:

(a) Straddle carriers and works trucks fitted with a crane (heading 84.26).

(b) Fork-lift trucks and other works trucks fitted with lifting and handling equipment (heading 84.27).

You maintain that the various models of the Reachstackers are classifiable under heading 8427 because they are specifically provided for by the terms of the heading, namely, that they are works trucks; that they are fitted with lifting and handling equipment; and the lifting and handling equipment fitted on the Reachstackers do not meet the common lexicographic definition of a "crane."

A comparison between the ENs to heading 84.26 and heading 84.27 is in order to determine the similarities and differences between the two headings.

The EN to heading 84.26 states that: [t]he heading covers lifting or handling machines usually based on pulley, winch or jacking systems (emphasis ours), and often including large proportions of static structural steelwork, etc. The heading covers: (1) ships' derricks, (2) jib or derrick cranes, (3) portal or pedestal cranes, (4) cableways and cable cranes, (5) bridge cranes, (6) gantry cranes and overhead travelling cranes, (7) transporter cranes,

(8) Mobile lifting frames on tyred wheels, particularly for container handling.
These machines may be self-propelled, provided they are designed to operate when stationary or, if they are able to move with their load over short distances, that they are simple portals which in most cases consist of a horizontal beam supported by two vertical members
(sometimes of the telescopic type), each resting on a set of wheels.

(9) Straddle carriers, which consist of a chassis of the " straddle " type, generally with vertical telescopic members for adjusting the height. This chassis is normally mounted on four or more tyred wheels which usually serve both as driving and steering wheels so as to permit manoeuvres within a very small radius.

Owing to their special design they are able to position themselves over a load, lift it by means of special gripping devices, transport it over short distances and then lower it again. Some of these carriers are sufficiently wide and high to be positioned directly over transport vehicles for lifting or lowering the load.

Straddle carriers are used in factories, warehouses, dock areas, airports, etc., for handling long loads (profile shapes, tree trunks, timber, etc.) or for stacking containers.

(10) Works trucks fitted with a crane, which are designed for moving loads over short distances in factories, warehouses, dock areas or airports by means of a light crane mounted on a chassis of the works truck type, usually in the form of a box frame, with a long wheel-base and a wide track to avoid overbalancing.

In EN 84.26 (b)(2), under the "Self-Propelled and Other Mobile' Machines" on page 1293, it states:

...this heading includes self-propelled machines in which one or more of the propelling or control elements...are located in the cab of a lifting or handling machine (generally a crane) mounted on a wheeled chassis, whether or not the whole can be driven on the road under its own power.

The EN to heading 84.27, provides, in pertinent part, that:

With the exception of straddle carriers and works trucks fitted with a crane of heading 84.26, this heading covers works trucks fitted with lifting or handling equipment. Works trucks of this description include, for example :


(1) Mechanically propelled fork-lift trucks, which are sometimes of large size, carry the load on an elevating carriage sliding on a vertical mast...

(2) Other stacking machines, ... equipped with a platform or fork which can be raised and lowered in a vertical support, by hand or power-operated winch or rack systems. They are used for stacking sacks, crates, casks, etc.


(1) Trucks with mechanically elevating platforms...

(2) Other trucks fitted with lifting or handling equipment including those specialised for use in particular industries (e.g., in the textile or ceramic industries, in dairies, etc.).

After reviewing the description of the lifting and handling machines in headings 8426 and 8427, a general distinction appears. The machines in heading 8426 operate by lifting and suspending their loads from above while the machines in heading 8427 generally support their loads underneath by a platform, fork, or carriage. As specifically stated above, the lifting and handling machine in 8426 is "generally a crane," see EN 84.26(b)(2), by virtue of its ability to suspend heavy loads and drop them down precisely in the desired location. In contrast, the vehicles with lifting and handling equipment in heading 8427 utilize an elevating platform, fork or carriage to support their loads in accomplishing the necessary lifting and handling. These machines do not suspend their loads as do the listed exemplars in heading 8426.

You contend that the lifting machinery mounted onto the Reachstacker chassis does not meet the definition of a crane, and that it does not comport with the exemplars found in the ENs to heading 8426. You point out that Reachstackers do not employ any pulleys, rollers, cables, winches or capstans to raise or lower its boom or load as a crane does, and are incapable of any boom rotation about a vertical axis, and thus, the Reachstackers are not cranes since boom movement is restricted only to raising and lowering.

The ENs for heading 8426 list the most common type of cranes and state that the cranes are "usually based on pulley, winch or jacking systems." By this language, an intention is conveyed that the machines in that heading will function using similar mechanics to that of a crane, but it does not mean that such machines have to utilize pulleys, cables and hoists as in a typical crane. It is our opinion that the exemplars and the descriptions in the ENs for heading 8426 are not intended to be all-encompassing, but they are broader in scope than you allege as they cover "jacking systems" and the ENs reflect the kind of significant lifting and handling that these type of machines accomplish. We agree that the Reachstackers' classification is dependent on the terms of the headings. It is our opinion that heading 8426 more specifically describes the Reachstackers (i.e., "works trucks fitted with a crane") than does heading 8427 (i.e., "other works trucks fitted with lifting or handling equipment").

The definition of "crane" included in your request from Webster's Third New International Dictionary, 1986, provides, in pertinent part:

3 pl cranes: a projection often horizontal swinging about a vertical axis or having at one end a bend suggestive of a crane's neck: as a: a machine for raising and lowering heavy weights and transporting them through a limited horizontal distance while holding them suspended and usu. having a jib of timber or steel sometimes affixed to a rotating post held by guys or having the hoisting apparatus supported by a trolley running on a overhead track(emphasis added)...d: an iron arm with a horizontal motion attached to a side or back of a fireplace and used to support kettles over a fire...h: a boom of considerable size used in the motion-picture and television industry for holding a camera and sometimes a cameraman.

It is our opinion that you have taken an extremely narrow interpretation of the word "crane" by focusing on the second half of the "3a" definition for your support that Reachstackers cannot be cranes since they do not contain guys, hoisting tackle or a rotating post. In view of the dictionary's use of the qualifying word, "usually," cranes need not possess all of those features. In fact, a camera crane does not possess all the features of a typical crane, but it is, nonetheless, considered a crane in the "3h" definition and such a machine would be classified in heading 8426.
The description of the various types of lifting and handling machines included in heading 8426 demonstrate the ability of such machines to generally lift and suspend loads while transporting the suspended loads from one location to another within a designated area. For instance, straddle carriers in EN 84.26(9) are not the usual type of crane, but they are used in transportation terminals for lifting and handling long loads and for stacking containers by means of positioning themselves over a load and lifting and lowering the load by special gripping devices. Although straddle carriers are not a typical "crane" with pulleys or winches, they nevertheless function as a crane would. See generally HQ 085938, dated November 13, 1990 (straddle carrier was classified as a "crane"). Likewise, Reachstackers incorporate an unusual type of crane, one which is based on a jacking system (that is, the telescopic boom lifts by means of hydraulic cylinders in the same manner as a hydraulic jack) and function, not unlike, a crane. The Reachstackers, as the straddle carrier, can lift, load, unload, and stack cargo containers. From the photographs contained in the sales brochure, it appears that the Reachstackers have a winch and hook application, which makes it more like the traditional crane. Thus, we reject your contention that the telescopic lifting boom on the Reachstacker does not function in the manner of a crane.

In NY 881418, dated January 11, 1996, Customs classified a "Superstacker crane," a self-propelled machine in which a telescopic boom with a spreader mounted on the wheeled chassis is used to load, unload, and stack cargo containers in shipping ports and terminals under subheading 8426.41.0005, HTSUS. The Superstacker is substantially similar to the Reachstackers but for the telescopic spreader's capability of rotating 360o (degrees). We agree with the classification of NY 881418.

While we agree with your contention that the wheeled chassis on the Reachstacker constitutes a "works truck," we reject your contention that the works trucks classified in HQ 952400 are similar to the instant Reachstackers. In HQ 952400, dated February 9, 1993, Customs classified under subheading 8709.19.00, HTSUS, two self-propelled, heavy duty industrial trucks with elevating platforms for the purpose of loading large pallets of goods. This ruling does not serve as precedent in this case because the trucks (with cab under platform and cab over platform) in HQ 952400 did not possess any lifting or handling equipment but merely an elevating platform, and works trucks of headings 8426 and 8427 are specifically excluded by virtue of their lifting abilities from heading 8709 by the ENs to Heading 87.09. Again, we note that "straddle carriers" and "works trucks fitted with a crane" are excepted from classification in heading 8427.

You argue that Reachstackers are "other" trucks fitted with lifting and handling equipment for specialized use in a particular industry, i.e., the transport industry, and that classification is only possible under subheading 8427.20.80. To support your argument, you cite to HQ 086864, dated July 27, 1990, wherein Customs classified a "tapping vehicle" in heading 8427. This four-wheeled, self-propelled vehicle incorporated a large crucible (refractory lined metal container) in which molten aluminum is stored during transport from production pots to its final transfer of its contents to large crucibles or molds exclusively within the aluminum plant. The vehicle was fitted with hydraulic equipment with which the crucible and tapping mechanism, consisting of a metal syphon tube and vacuum head, fitted on the crucible could be moved horizontally or lifted vertically to tap the production pots in hard to reach locations. Customs found this machine as specialized to the manufacture of aluminum for it taps molten aluminum from producing pots to another location in the factory. The "tapping vehicle" in HQ 086864 is distinguishable from the Reachstackers because the tapping vehicle is not able to remove its crucible which contains the liquid aluminum. The "tapping vehicle" is designed for the highly specialized task of syphoning contents from one container to another in a specialized aluminum plant locale. In contrast, the Reachstackers do not remove and transport the contents of the containers it lifts, but moves the entire container itself. The Reachstackers also are used in a variety of locales such as railyards, dockyards, and various transportation terminals to lift and move various sized containers and is not just limited to use in one specific location, i.e., an aluminum factory.


The Reachstacker is provided for in heading 8426. It is classifiable in subheading 8426.41.0005, HTSUS, which provides for : "[o]ther machinery, self-propelled: [o]n tires: [w]orks trucks fitted with a crane." The general Column one rate of duty is 0.8 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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