Canada toughens oil tank car standards, wants even new ones out by 2025

Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:11pm EDT
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By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada proposed tough new oil tank car standards on Wednesday and said even improved tank cars coming into service now would have to be off the rails by 2025 at the latest.

The announcement comes after a rash of fiery derailments in Canada and the United States, including some that involved the newer, improved rail cars, and as more oil increasingly travels by rail due to higher output and a shortage of pipelines.

The proposed standards call for a hull thickness of 9/16 inch, up from the current 7/16 inch or half inch, depending on car type. It also makes thermal protection jackets and increased shields at each end of the cars mandatory.

Older DOT-111 cars are being replaced in Canada by CPC-1232 cars, but even these will have to be phased out by 2023 or 2025, depending on whether they are jacketed or not, under the proposed standards.

The proposed rules were welcomed by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, which represents the country's largest oil companies. The group supports retrofitting the older model tankers and the phase in of more robust cars.

"Rail is anticipated to remain an important mode of transportation to transport Canadian crude to market," said Chelsie Klassen, a spokeswoman for the lobby group.

"Given the integrated nature of the North American rail network, there’s a need to harmonize Canadian and U.S. standards on rail car standards."

Canada, which moved ahead of the United States in ruling DOT-111 cars cannot carry crude as of May 2017, signaled it was prepared to move faster than its neighbor on the latest standards.   Continued...

Canada's Transport Minister Lisa Raitt speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa March 9, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie