Crude Shipper Switches To Safer Tankers
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Fuel shipping company Global Partners will require tanker cars to meet with updated standards for all crude oil trains arriving at its East and West Coast terminals, starting in upstate New York and Oregon, the company announced Wednesday.
Global Partners, based in Waltham, Mass., said it will only accept trains consisting entirely of a new type of car, which is more resistant to puncturing and leakage in a derailment like the one that caused an explosion and fire that killed 47 people in Canada last year.
The announcement came the same day several CSX tanker cars carrying crude oil derailed in downtown Lynchburg, Va., and caught fire along the James River.
Global said its new policy will take effect June 1 at the company's terminals in Albany and Clatskanie, Ore.
The standards for new tanker cars were developed by the American Railroads Tank Car Committee for cars ordered since October 2011. There are still about 78,000 of the older cars carrying flammable liquids in North America, according to the Railway Association of Canada.
The Canadian government announced last week that it will require that the older rail cars be phased out by May 2017. A number of U.S. elected officials, including New York's Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, have called for a federal rule requiring all rail and oil companies to replace or retrofit the older cars.
Schumer said Wednesday that railroads carried nearly 1,400 carloads a day of crude across America last year, compared to just 31 carloads a day in 2009. The Global Partners terminal at New York's Port of Albany on the Hudson River has become a major hub for much of the production from North Dakota.
Global is seeking to expand operations at the Albany and Clatskanie terminals.
"Rail operators, shippers and facility owners have an obligation to take every measure possible to ensure hazardous materials they transport and receive are shipped as safely as possible," Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said Wednesday in response to Global's announcement.