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Western Railroad Discussion > Chlorine Conundrum - BNSF vs. UP

Date: 10/23/11 15:56
Chlorine Conundrum - BNSF vs. UP
Author: SOO6617

Interesting action before the STB concerning the transport of Chlorine from N. Vancouver, BC to customers in Texas. Neither UP nor BNSF wants the long-haul on this shipment. The BNSF would like to get out of it completely, and the UP wants to minimize its haul by having the loads interchanged in Kansas City, rather than Portland.


Date: 10/23/11 16:04
Re: Chlorine Conundrum - BNSF vs. UP
Author: LarryDoyle

June 17 blog. So, what's happened since then?

-Larry Doyle

Date: 10/23/11 16:22
Re: Chlorine Conundrum - BNSF vs. UP
Author: SOO6617

No final resolution yet. BNSF had a contract for the movement of the Chlorine valid to the end of September, 2011. Interestingly the rate was mentioned in one of the filings at just under $19,000 to cover the movement from Vancouver to Kansas City, including the payment to CN for reciprocal switch in Vancouver. BNSF requested mediation and extended the rate for long enough to cover mediation. The mediation effort failed after one session. CP quoted a rate roughly 50% higher than the BNSF rate according to the customer. CP responded that the discussion with the customer did not amount to a formal rate quote under Canadian law and was not binding, further more CP insists that the STB has no jurisdiction over transportation in Canada. Then on September 14th the STB issued an Emergency Service Order saying BNSF must continue to haul the Chlorine traffic pending resolution of the issue. BNSF has responded by asking that the Emergency service order be vacated as they never refused to handle the traffic (in mediation they wanted a significantly higher rate), further they say that both CP, and CN (though not via KC) could provide service. That is where the issue stands today. A very interesting case of hot potato. It appears that the UP reached agreement with the shipper on a rate in order to guarantee itself the short haul. A very curious case.

If you are interested in reading the STB filings, they are here;


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/23/11 17:50 by SOO6617.

Date: 10/24/11 01:35
Re: Chlorine Conundrum - BNSF vs. UP
Author: lwilton

Sounds like none of the railroads want to haul chlorine.

Want to bet it ends up on trucks on the hiway to be 'safer'?

Date: 10/24/11 08:06
Re: Chlorine Conundrum - BNSF vs. UP
Author: lynngrove

Sounds like it may be better to produce the chlorine closer to where it is needed.

Posted from Android

Date: 10/24/11 09:37
Re: Chlorine Conundrum - BNSF vs. UP
Author: rbx551985

Send the commodity loads via the long route: CN or CP east to Chicago, then interchange the cars to CN/IC to send south, then back to UP and/or BNSF and on to customer destinations. Sure, that's TWO interchanges (at $100 per car per interchange), but if it's got to move, and the two western carriers (UP and BNSF) refuse them (is that allowed?), then go the best route possible.

Date: 10/24/11 10:19
Re: Chlorine Conundrum - BNSF vs. UP
Author: mukinduri

Could this be another case of unintended consequences? I think Congress mandated expensive positive train control (PTC) on some lines carrying hazardous materials so it's understandable if the railroads are reluctant to carry such stuff. As another poster noted we may end up seeing chlorine being transported by truck. Has anyone thought about a frightening scenario where a chlorine carrying truck is hijacked?

If chlorine must be transported, surely it would be best to provide incentives for the railroads to do it.

Date: 10/24/11 10:43
Re: Chlorine Conundrum - BNSF vs. UP
Author: SOO6617

Both BNSF and UP are willing to carry the traffic, they just don't want to carry it very far. Don't get the idea that CP wants to carry it, they didn't out and out refuse, they just asked for a price high enough that it made the shipment uneconomical. Hey the shipper could load it in a container or two and send it through the Panama Canal to a Texas port.

Date: 10/27/11 15:47
Re: Chlorine Conundrum - BNSF vs. UP
Author: DeutzHDL

This is not a new problem by any means. Folks chlorine gas is bad stuff and a HUGE safety problem with trains rolling through small communities or large population centers. I met one of UP's top HAZ-MAT guys at a training seminar and they have been trying to get out of hauling it completely or price it to where other options become better solutions for the shipper. The whole idea arose a few years ago when NS had that nasty HAZ-MAT accident in NC. Wrecks like those are franchise killers for bunisses like UP, BNSF etc.

Posted from iPhone

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