BNSF Readies Incentives for Shippers to Use Safest Tank Cars

Fort Worth, Texas-based BNSF Railway Company announced a new policy April 9 to improve the safety of toxic inhalation and poison inhalation hazardous materials (TIH/PIH) it moves on the rails. BNSF said it will publish tariffs (public prices) beginning Jan. 1, 2008, to restructure rates based on car risk factors in a bid to encourage shippers to use the most enhanced and upgraded cars available.

The railroad said the tariff incentives "are based on the most improved and enhanced car identified by the Association of American Railroads" as the DOT specification tank car 112J500W for anhydrous ammonia and 105J600W for chlorine. These cars can also be used for most other TIH/PIH commodities. "Our number one priority is the safety of our employees, customers and the communities in which we operate," said John Lanigan, executive vice president and chief marketing officer. "The AAR requires that any tank cars built after Jan. 1, 2008, meet these specifications, and all shippers must convert their entire fleet to these cars by Dec. 31, 2018. We hope this change will incent our TIH/PIH shippers to use the most improved and strongest tank cars available as soon as possible, thus further improving the safety of transporting these materials."

BNSF operates one of the largest railroad networks in North America, about 32,000 route-miles in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. TIH/PIH shipments are "significantly less than one percent" of its total annual volume, the company said. "We believe these policy changes along with our safety investments help address the concerns of the citizens in the communities where we operate," Lanigan said. "BNSF is committed to leading the industry in the safe transportation of hazardous materials through capital investments and encouraging tank car manufacturers to build, and customers to use, improved and stronger cars."

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