A recent CBC News article discusses a report from the Canadian Energy Research Initiative (CERI), which found that over the next eight years, shipments of petroleum products could double in Eastern Canada and nearly triple in Western Canada.
The report suggests that petroleum-related traffic in the West will rise from 204,581 cars per year in 2012 to 790,597 in 2024 and from 199,787 cars per year in 2012 to 384,429 in 2024 in the East, with overall rail traffic expected to increase 44 percent by the same year. Despite this substantial rise over the next decade, Peter Howard of CERI says that the growth will not surpass what the rail system can accommodate, but adds that double tracking between Winnipeg and Calgary or Edmonton may be needed.
Following the tragic accident in Lac-Mégantic in 2013, petroleum shipments by rail have been heavily scrutinized. The increase in shipments of oil-by-rail causes concern for many, as major rail routes pass through many large Canadian cities. However, the federal government is pushing for stronger, heavier-duty rail cars that can handle products such as neatbit – a product that is 95 percent bitumen. Neatbit will not burn as dilbit does, and can be cleaned up with relative ease should a rail car be punctured in an accident.
To read the full article on CBC News, click here.