Canada hopes to finalize tank car standards this month: minister

Wed Apr 8, 2015 12:02am EDT
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By Allison Martell

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian government would like to finalize specifications for a new version of the tank cars used to transport crude oil by rail by the end of this month, Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said on Tuesday.

In the wake of several high-profile accidents involving trains carrying crude oil, Canada and the United States are drafting tougher standards that will see see the vast majority of tank cars currently in use retrofitted or replaced.

Transport Canada last month released implementation deadlines that would keep some cars in service for another decade until 2025, even though accident investigators have said they perform poorly in crashes.

Asked whether that timeline could change, Raitt said: "Everything is still under consideration."

On Monday, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said a 10-year deadline was "excessively long" and recommended a more aggressive schedule. The U.S. Department of Transportation has yet to announce its timeline.

"Those are the kinds of comments that we're looking for," Raitt said of the NTSB’s recommendations, adding that she recently met with the chair of Canada's Transportation Safety Board (TSB).

The TSB, an independent federal agency, said last month that it was concerned about Transport Canada's 10-year timeline.

The minister said industry needs clarity on what the final standard will be.   Continued...