Wednesday, March 11, 2009

UP Tries to Avoid Chlorine Shipment

Last week I briefly mentioned that the UP was attempting to get the Surface Transportation Board to allow it not to quote a rate for shipping chlorine over a new route through several HTUA. That comment was based on brief article I found at Yesterday, based on UP’s petition (PD 35219.0) the STB instituted a declaratory order proceeding under 49 U.S.C. 721 and 5 U.S.C. 554(e). Public comments are requested (STB Finance Docket No. 35219) and are required to be submitted by March 31, 2009. UP's rebuttal and reply to comments are due by April 20, 2009. These comments will not be filed using the web site, but may be filed either electronically (using the E-FILING link on the Board’s website) or by mail (1 original plus 10 copies to STB and 1 original to UP) at: Surface Transportation Board 395 E Street,S.W. Washington, DC 20423 Tonya W. Conley Union Pacific Railroad Company 1400 Douglas Street Omaha, NE 68179. Issues The UP was approached by a customer (not disclosed in the public copy of the filing) in Utah wanting a rate quote for the bulk shipment of chlorine to locations in Louisiana and Texas. UP maintains that their only available route for the shipment would require them to transit four HTUAs (Salt Lake City, UT, Kansas City, KS/MO; and Fort Worth, TX) and a number of other large cities. Re-routing is not an option because neither “UP nor any other railroad has a route structure that would allow these shipments to avoid HTUAs.” They maintain that there are closer sources of chlorine available to all four of the destinations, within 70 miles of the Louisiana locations and within 300 miles of the Texas locations. The shipments from those alternate supply locations would not require transit of other HTUAs or large cities. Furthermore, they along with all other rail road carriers have been approached by TSA and the FRA to be engaged in an effort to reduce the number of TIH loads, like chlorine, shipped through HTUAs. UP claims that the shipper’s request works against that goal. What UP Wants UP is requesting that the STB provides “clarification of whether a shipper has an unlimited fight to ship TIH wherever it chooses without considering the safety of the employees and the public who would be put at risk unnecessarily in light of demonstrably better alternatives.” UP would also like the STB to consult with TSA and the FRA before ruling on this matter.

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