The federal Surface Transportation Board announced today its decision to form an advisory committee to study and suggest ways to safely move toxic cargo like chlorine in a cost-effective manner.
The Toxic by Inhalation Hazard Common Carrier Transportation Advisory Committee will provide the Board with independent advice and policy suggestions related to the common carrier obligation of railroads to transport toxic by inhalation hazards (TIH). The committee will specifically focus on the amount of economic responsibility for liability that railroads can reasonably ask TIH shippers to assume before the carrier will transport the cargo.
Common carrier obligation is the statutory duty of railroads to provide transportation or service on reasonable request. In recent years, the Board has seen an increasing number of issues and contentiousness regarding the common carrier obligation to transport TIH cargo.
By creating the advisory committee, the Board hopes to facilitate dialogue among TIH shippers, railroads, insurers or underwriters and tank-car owners, lessors or manufacturers with a goal of resolving economic concerns surrounding the transportation of TIH cargo.
"Achieving an industry-wide consensus on these tough problems through a process where shippers and railroads meet face-to-face and find common ground is more likely to result in better, more sustainable solutions," said Board Chairman Daniel R. Elliott III.
The Board seeks comment from interested persons on issues ranging from the scope of the committee's mandate to the composition of its membership.
The full decision establishing the committee, Establishment of the Toxic by Inhalation Hazard Common Carrier Transportation Advisory Committee, STB Ex Parte No. 698, is available on the Board's website, www.stb.dot.gov. The decision includes instructions on submitting comments or nominations.