The agency, which issued its final report on the accident that killed 47 people, says a similar catastrophe could happen again unless more measures are taken to boost rail safety, as crude-by-rail shipments in Canada and the U.S. skyrocket as energy companies try to compensate for a lack of pipeline capacity.
The report says “all older Class 111 tank cars must not transport flammable liquids, and a more robust tank car standard with enhanced protection must be set for North America."
Shares of companies that manufacture railway cars finished mostly higher today: ARII +2.6%, GBX +2.3%, TRN +1.8%, RAIL -0.2%.
With production capacity for new tank cars ~35K cars/year and cars ordered today unable to be filled until 2016 at current production rates, industry analysts say the railcar industry could have difficulty expanding production fast enough to accommodate the short time frames proposed by regulators for ushering out older tank cars for transporting flammable liquids.
Questions remain about whether there is enough production capacity available to retrofit existing cars or replace them in time to comply with the government's schedule to phase out the older cars.
Carl Icahn has resigned as a director and chairman of American Railcar Industries (ARII) because he serves on several boards of directors and wanted to decrease his number of directorships, and not from any disagreement with the company or its board, an SEC filing says.
Icahn's board seat will be filled by Courtney Mather, who has served as a managing director of Icahn Capital since April and once was a managing director at Goldman Sachs.
The orders included 1,200 intermodal cars used to transport containers from railroads to ships and trucks; other orders included small hoppers and tank cars used in the energy sector, and automotive-related products for the U.S. auto industry.
GBX and others that supply equipment and services to the railroad industry such as Trinity Industries (TRN -0.8%), Wabtec (WAB -0.5%) and American Railcar (ARII +1.6%) have benefited in recent years as shipments of crude oil surged.
BNSF's plan, unusual for a railroad which generally owns only the tracks and locomotives that pull trains, is intended to further the industry's push for safer movement of crude by rail in light of several recent derailments and crashes, including one involving a BNSF train in North Dakota last December.
BNSF isn't identifying railcar makers from which it will seek bids, but U.S. manufacturers include Trinity Industries (TRN +9.5%), American Railcar Industries (ARII +10.3%) and Greenbrier (GBX +5.4%).
Canada's Transportation Safety Board would like to see regulators in the U.S. and Canada adopt stricter standards to ensure safety on both new and older railroad cars. A particular from the board is on tankers carrying oil and other dangerous products.