On Wednesday, William Furman, chief executive of The Greenbrier Companies, said "some 80,000 tank cars that don't meet current industry safety standards need to be replaced or retrofitted," Hays reports. Greenbrier "owns approximately 8,600 railcars, and performs management services for approximately 224,000 railcars," according to its website.
Furman "said 'modest but meaningful' improvements that can be implemented immediately could reduce major risks of a hazardous materials leak by as much as 80 percent in derailments," Hays writes. Furman said during Greenbrier's quarterly-earnings conference call with analysts, "We believe a retrofit proposal if adopted can be completed in a reasonably expedited time frame and do not accept that there is not adequate capacity in the industry to do so. The concern for public safety here is delay. Delay through the inability to act on the regulatory front while the public would like to see something done sooner."
The Railway Supply Institute, a lobby for tank-car owners has urged the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration "to adopt safety standards already embraced in October 2011 by the Association of American Railroads, the rail industry's trade group," Hays writes. "Under those standards tank railcars known as DOT-111s built after October 2011 should have thicker hulls and reinforced valves to better protect against punctures or leaks in derailments. But those built before that date lack those features and the rail industry has said it could cost $1 billion to retrofit older railcars. Furman said on Wednesday that about 80,000 railcars 'that are in question' were being used." (Read more)