01 July 2008 18:41 [Source: ICIS news]
Under a rule issued earlier this year by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), major
There are approximately 12,000 chemical tank cars on the
Under the FRA rule, from Wednesday through the end of this year railroads must gather data on TIH shipments, routes now used and the safety and security risks along those routes.
As part of the data collection, rail carriers must consult with state and local government agencies to determine security risks to high-consequence locations in their areas.
From 1 January 2009 the railroads will have eight months to conduct risk and route assessments and, beginning 1 September 2009, use those assessments to begin sending hazmat cargoes along the least risk routes.
In assessing risks along current routes for TIH shipments, the FRA requires that railroads consider 27 factors, including the volume of hazardous material being shipped, traffic density, length of route, population density along the route, train speed, past incidents and availability of practical alternative routes, among others.
Tom White, spokesman for the Association of American Railroads (AAR), said major
Noting that the survey period has only just begun, White also said the association could make no estimate yet on what additional costs or time delays might be generated by the rerouting.
White pointed out that TIH cargoes constitute an extremely small portion of rail freight, with some 100,000 TIH carloads annually out of 33m total carloads shipped, or 0.3%.
Scott Jensen, spokesman for the American Chemistry Council (ACC), said his industry has supported the rail administration’s rerouting rule, saying the requirement will “enhance security but won’t affect transportation of these vital materials”.
Jensen also noted that with the FRA taking the lead in rerouting hazardous rail freight, it reduces the prospects of multiple state and municipal governments taking their own actions to regulate the movement of such rail cargoes.
($1 = €0.63)
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