Oil a growing part of CN Rail transportation

CN Rail expects to surpass 30,000 carloads of oil transported in 2013.

CN Rail has been moving oil products by trail since 2010, when the company began to test the transportation of various types of product to markets in Canada and the U.S.

CN Rail communications director Mark Hallman told the Sentinel by e-mail that in 2011, CN moved approximately 5,000 carloads of crude oil, a number which jumped to 30,000 carloads in 2012.

The rail company believes it can double that business in 2013.

A carload’s worth of oil varies depending on the specific product being moved, he said. A carload can have 550 or so barrels-worth of heavy oil, or 650 barrels-worth fit of light crude oil.

Hallman said CN’s rail line gives them access to areas that aren’t served by pipelines. Those areas include places in the U.S. Gulf Coast and Eastern and Western Canada. However he notes that crude oil is not being sent to ports on Canada’s west coast because there is currently no infrastructure to unload the oil from cars to vessels.

The specific places CN delivers to is kept private due to commercial reasons.

The company also strives to minimize incidents relating to the transportation of oil.

“CN takes significant measures to prevent environmental incidents from occurring during rail operations. However, when incidents do occur, the company has a comprehensive Emergency Response Plan and procedures in place to deal diligently with the situation.”

He noted that CN had the lowest Transportation Safety Boat of Canada Main-Track Accident Ratio in its history, and none of the accidents caused a leak of dangerous materials.

Hallman provided a list of five benefits to using rail to ship oil — a business, which he noted, complements pipelines and is not a replacement for them. One benefit was that a rail line means a shipper is not tied to a specific market. As well, rail allows the volumes to increase or decrease as needed. Long term capital is also not required because rail uses existing infrastructure. Diluent is not needed for transportation by rail, and finally rail provides a safe back-up in the event a pipeline is disrupted.

“Both modes [rail and pipelines] are safe and the risk of accidental releases of product is extremely low for both modes of transport, with no appreciable difference considering both spill frequency and size,” he wrote.

Just Posted

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

Power restored to 120,000 customers after northern B.C. transmission failure

Lightning is suspected to be the cause of the outage, says BC Hydro

Kitimat fire department halts JFJV Labour Day weekend waste burning

Fire chief says tighter controls are now in place

Three people wanted on warrants

Terrace RCMP asking for public’s help

Belgian man linked as possible missing kayaker in Nass River

Family pleads on Facebook for more information

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Most Read