Road and Rail Safety
We received awards from five major North American rail lines, qualifying us for the American Railroad Association’s Grand Slam award.
In 2018, our North American team was proud to receive rail awards from Canadian Pacific, BNSF, Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern, and Canadian National rail lines. These awards qualify us once again for the Grand Slam Award from the American Railroad Association.
For delivery of our product in North America, we carry out a rigorous railcar preventive maintenance program, which reported 100% compliance in 2018. This program depends on careful monitoring of regulatory changes to tank car standards and operational controls for flammables.
In 2018, we also instituted a proactive plan to ensure railcars in our service adapt to new standards announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation for implementation by 2025. We are requiring all railcars (currently DOT-111) to be either retrofitted to meet the DOT-117 specifications or replaced with the DOT-117 railcar by 2023, two years ahead of the deadline. The new railcar design leaves only a 3% chance that product could release in a derailment situation, compared to 26% for railcars currently.
To enable the safe transportation of methanol, we worked closely with stakeholders across the supply chain.
In 2018, we conducted a variety of activities to enable the safe transportation of methanol and to test that our emergency-response networks are capable of safely and efficiently responding to any potential land-transportation incident involving methanol. Examples of these activities in each of our regions are described below.
Our emergency planning and response activities for potential transportation incidents follow the Transportation Emergency Assistance Program (TEAP) standards, defined by the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC). We strategically focus on enabling coordinated technical resources and emergency support across our supply chain for any emergency or transportation event, whether or not it involves our product.
- In Chile, we began working with one of the country’s largest emergency responders to support our emergency preparedness efforts in Punta Arenas. Also, for the fourth year in a row, we launched the Random Audit Truck Program for Brazil. The results of these audits are shared with customers and logistics service providers in Brazil to share best practices, as are the cumulative scores of over 30 transportation companies in Brazil who participate in these audits.
- Our emergency-response team (ERT) in Medicine Hat, Canada, attended two TRANSCAER events in Edmonton and Calgary, along with multiple agencies and municipal partners. With neighbouring municipal partner Cypress County Fire Department, the team hosted a training night for local firefighters to raise awareness on fire-fighting tactics for fires involving railcars and events occurring at night. The Medicine Hat ERT also joined fire departments from across southern Alberta for two days of training hosted by CP Rail. This hands-on training event focused on emergency response in situations involving railway transportation and flammable liquids.
- In Geismar, USA, Methanex participated in CAER Day, an annual event hosted by the local chemical industry’s Community Awareness and Emergency Response (CAER) committee. (See the Community chapter for more information.)
- In Europe, we assessed transportation hazards along 15 methanol transportation routes. (We call these “route risk assessments,” a phrase that denotes an extensive process of identifying possible hazards along the path of travel of our product, from terminal to customer.) We are working closely with customers who have recognized our efforts in this important area and are seeking to learn from us.
- In China, where we have been working since 2013 to promote product stewardship “downstream” through the supply chain, we hosted another distribution forum that was attended by over 80 representatives from more than 25 downstream partners. These included distributors, truck companies, and distributors’ customers and terminals. In a cumulative total of 240 hours spent together, participants focused on practical best practices in the areas of truck maintenance and management, driver training, route risk assessments, and emergency preparedness. There is great appreciation for Methanex’s leadership in Responsible Care in the region.