As updates are made to railroad tank cars, is it time to update industry rules as well?

Industries that use railroads to ship flammable liquids are replacing or retrofitting their rail cars to meet more stringent design standards first issued in 2015. While the new cars will be more expensive, shippers say they’re fine with that if the changes will improve safety.

But the changes in the industry are also bringing some underlying tensions to light. While they might be OK with updating their rail cars, many shippers are frustrated with the railroad companies that move those cars. Many industrial rail customers have only one option, which some say leads to high prices and shoddy service.

The first major deadline for cars that carry crude oil passed in January with little fanfare, says Tyler Gray, general counsel for the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association. The Louisiana oil and gas industry has access to an extensive pipeline infrastructure and doesn’t rely heavily on rail, notes Gifford Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association…


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