Canada sets 3-year deadline to phase-out DOT-111 crude railcars

23 April 2014 20:31  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--Canada’s transport minister on Wednesday set a three-year deadline for the phase-out or retrofit of DOT-111 railcars used in shipping crude oil and ethanol.

The DOT-111 railcars were involved in a number of recent accidents, including a derailment and explosion of a train carrying Bakken crude in a small Quebec town last year when 47 people were killed.

Minister Lisa Raitt said that while the timeline was "ambitious", it was doable. Industry sources have said the phase-out may take up to 10 years.

Raitt also said that within 30 days railcars that have "no continuous reinforcement of their bottom shells" would be removed by ministerial order from service in Canada. There are about 5,000 of those railcars in North America, she said.

Furthermore, the ministry will require railroads to prepare risk and emergency response plans for shipments of crude oil, gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel and ethanol, and it issued an order to slow down the speeds of rail shipments of dangerous goods.

Raitt acknowledged that the surge in oil railcar shipments was a response to rising oil production in Canada and the US amid tight pipeline capacities. "It would be nice to see more pipelines being built," she said.

Raitt added that the ministry was seeking to ensure that rail can ship all commodities - including fertilizer and grain - to market. Industries such as ethanol have said they fear that rising crude shipments are crowding them out from the rail system.

Raitt's orders are available on the ministry's website.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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