Archive for Chemicals

IMPORTANT WEB SITE for timely access to Hazardous Materials Railway regulations. // My recommendation is this STARS site

Important periodic weekly updated intelligence that is useful for your business.

Log  onto this S.T.A.R.S. internet site. 

starsconsulting.org/february-18-2016-c3rs-midterm-accomplishments-at-another-site-and-success-factors-across-sites/

STARS stands for the name Specialty Transportation and Regulatory Services

STARS is a consulting firm specializing in all facets of Hazardous Waste Management & Hazardous Materials Transportation for rail and highway movement as well as covering aspects of pipeline wnad waterborne transportation.

They can help you develop the expertise you need to make technically informed safety decisions…      …for practical, cost effective solutions to following complex regulatory rules.

Good way to keep up to date with current regulatory compliance rules.

This is Jim Blaze  Your go-to rail due diligence contact.  I highly recommend these experts.

Cheers!

New mobile application for First Responders to crude oil trains accident could be INFO breakthrough

Under development since last fall, the AskRail mobile phone application gives local responders essential train commodity hazardous information even without train on board train information available from the train crew or if it is difficult to reach local BNSF train offices or train dispatchers.

Demo given by the BNSF railroad in Chicago.

A French language version to be released soon for Canada.

Other rail carriers can also use the software application developed in part with RailLinc technical assistance.

Software use will now become part of hazmat training provided by the rail companies.

Other carriers besides BNSF can choose to use the application.

http://www.rtands.com/index.php/safety-training/mobile-app-that-gives-first-responders-real-time-dangerous-goods-info-continues-role-out.html?channel=

BNSF increases track inspection and tank car safety process

In response to growing community concerns surrounding crude oil train movements, BNSF has announced an aggressive track inspection and tank car inspection program.

BNSF spokesman Mike Trevino has told reporters in Illinois that the railway company has tightened its oversight of tank cars and reduced its tolerance for when potential wheel defects would lead the company to pull a car out of service.

The Texas headquartered freight railroad in late March slowed crude oil trains to 35 mph in all cities with more than 100,000 people.

It also increased track inspections near waterways.

It stepped up efforts to find and repair defective wheels.

“We wanted to take some operations steps to further drive safe operations while we waited for the new (tank car) standards” (finally ordered by the federal government in early May).

Most rail tank cars are not owned by the railroads, but by the shippers and oil receivers who lease them to move the oil freight.

BNSF confirms that its trained railroad personnel now inspect the crude oil route tracks that it operates over 2.5 times more often than FRA regulations require as the federal minimum safety standard.

BNSF also reduced the spacing between sophisticated track-side detectors along the crude oil train main line routes to better and more frequently identify wheels and axles that are beginning to fail.

 

Struggle to find how to pay July 2013 oil train derailment costs & claims in Canada

 

Report tonight says World Fuel Services (NYSE: INT ) agreed to provide an estimated  $110 Million to a compensation fund for victims of the 2013 Lac-Megantic, Quebec, oil train derailment as part of a settlement with the people trying to identify liability payment sources..

The report is that a subsidiary of INT sold the Bakken light crude oil that was on the train when it crashed and exploded, killing 47 people.

Canadian Pacific Railway, which transported the oil over some of the rail route but not over the track section where the train derailed has not yet settled with those parties seeking to put together a total compensation package say news reports,

The amount of funding found so far may still be about $200 million dollars short of the total liabilities identified in other news reports.

The public issue of how such catastrophic rail shipment risks are covered is still unresolved now almost at the two year date of this accident, And that may also be the public issue here in the United States if a multi billion accident occurred in a major US city.

Multiple causes.  Prime cause was run away train derailing in the middle of the small town

Multiple causes. Prime cause was run away train derailing in the middle of the small town

 

More evidence of Mounting Risks to Keep Africa Growing

Still largely a very poor region, Africa faces economic hurdles is its hopes for growth

A Bloomberg report on 2 June shows evidence that African nations are facing mounting risks as they seek to extend two decades of stellar economic growth.

Stellar but uneven.

To read the entire Bloomberg report, go to http://bloom.bg/1RHYdJ

 

Here are some important points for my associates in the African rail industry.

In May The International Monetary Fund lowered its 2015 growth outlook for sub-Saharan Africa by 1.25 percentage points to 4.5%

Based on multiple sources of evidence, economic growth in both Nigeria and South Africa is clearly slowing. “Sustaining Africa’s growth is going to prove increasingly challenging,” says Peter Attard Montalto (an economist at Nomura International Plc in London) in a conversation with Bloomberg reporters. Montalto points out that “competition for trade and investment within the continent is increasing. All countries will need to step up their game.”

THE NEED TO STEP UP THEIR GAME

Are the key government leaders, policy makers and company executives from companies meeting at this week’s World Economic Forum in Cape Town paying attention?

The forum will discuss growth in the context of a continent where 72% of the Sub Saharan population still lives in or at the brink of poverty (UN data). In numbers, that is a staggering 585,000,000 estimated souls.

IF (actually very likely) global commodity prices remain low or worse even decline further — then the African governments will have to go increasingly to a Plan B government budget cut approach. Most are not use to that tactic.

On the positive side, There is still selective growth in Africa.

Ernst & Young released a report to the public this week that shows Africa attracted $128 billion in foreign direct investment during 2014. That marked an increase year over year. However, the number of projects dropped by 8.4%.

On the negative side, a large number of mine and rail and port projects are on hold. Many indefinitely. My readers and clients have discussed this pattern before. Tonight’s report is just another confirmation of the pattern.

Where and on What?

E&Y found that 44% of the investment went to projects in the real estate, hospitality and construction industries 25% went for oil, natural gas and coal 9 of the world’s 15 fastest-growing economies are in Africa

SLOWING INVESTOR CONFIDENCE

EY surveyed more than 500 business executives in 30 countries Growth could slow they felt because of a combination of factors

Those identified include: 1) Africa’s political instability, 2) Corruption 3) Poor security 4) Lack of infrastructure including transport and electricity These plus a scarcity of skilled labor are the biggest deterrents to investors.

———————————-

What will come out of this week’s forum?

What leaders will leave with a sense of urgency and change?

Stay tuned and we can discuss later when more facts emerge.

Sent from Jim’s iPad

Jim Blaze quoted in State Impact Pennsylvania NPR story on tank cars near Amtrak 188 derailment

NTSB Chairman Sumwalt surveys scene of Amtrak derailment, Philadelphia

Jim was quoted in Susan Phillips report for State Impact Pennsylvania, a National Public Radio project, about the tank cars narrowly missed by the locomotive of Amtrak #188 during the recent tragic derailment near Frankford Junction in Philadelphia.

 

Virginia looks to improve emergency response at rail accidents

A Nevada National Guardsman with the 92nd Civil Support Team conducts a simulated search and rescue at a vacant building near the Community College of Aurora, Colo., July 23, 2013, during a notional F4 tornado as part of Colorado's 2013 Vigilant Guard exercise. Vigilant Guard is a series of federally funded disaster-response drills conducted by National Guard units working with federal, state and local emergency management agencies and first responders. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares/Released)

Safety oversight may be a federally regulated responsibility for railway traffic like hazmats and crude oil.

However, responding to an actual derailment and possible fires and evacuations of nearby people is the clear responsibility of local community and state agencies. Governors, mayors, and fire fighters are wrestling with technical issues on how to be better prepared. With or without federal help.

Here, briefly, is how rail experts in Virginia see the local and state technical issues. Other states like Pennsylvania and Minnesota are tacking the question for their elected officials. Reports from those states on improving and managing rail safety are expected later this month.