Transloading – Rail Car to Truck to Refinery

Last week’s blog talked about transloading, what it is and how it’s used to transport oil to a pipeline or refinery. Today we look at the second half of the journey, which is unloading the railcar back into a tanker truck near the pipeline or refinery. Also discussed is the importance of having a proper terminal and how the terminal should provide safety for workers and protection from chemical spills.

Last time we left off, oil had been transloaded from tanker trucks onto railcars that would eventually arrive very close to the pipeline or refinery. Once the railcars get close enough to their destination the oil must be transloaded back onto tanker trucks that will be able to drive right up to the pipeline connection or refinery station. Any time your workers are transloading, there’s the possibility of a fall or a chemical spill. That’s why you need a company that has plenty of experience creating terminals to keep you, your workers and the environment safe from these types of dangers. A terminal built especially for transloading crude will have the proper equipment including loading racks, top and/or bottom loading arms, hoses, sturdy non-slip platforms with gangways, ladders and more.

Your terminal should have all the safety measures in place to protect workers as well as protecting the terminal area in case there’s a spill. Once the rail cars are loaded they’re off to their destination where they will be offloaded into tanker trucks bound for the refinery. All that transloading increases the probability of a spill.

Oil spills usually occur during loading and unloading while a worker connects or disconnects the loading arm. That’s why spill containment is an essential part of any terminal. Along the railroad tracks, spill containment track pans fulfill required environmental spill regulations and help make it easier to clean up a spill when one occurs. These pans also catch drips and leaks to keep the work area cleaner. Pans can be placed end to end to create continuous coverage. Pans can be made from fiberglass or steel. Steel is usually the preferred material because it’s so durable. Many systems have one center and two side pans tied together with a cross drain.

Once the rail car is in place, a pipe is connected to the bottom of the car on one end and the tanker on the other. Next, gravity goes to work to unload. If the crude is taken from the top of the car then the pipe actually has to do the work drawing the crude oil out of the rail cars to deposit it into the truck.

Soon after it’s transloaded from rail car to tanker, the crude is once again on the move – this time to the refinery. Loading and unloading crude oil into refinery tanks is one of the most critical activities at any refinery.

Presently, pipelines remain the most efficient method for transporting crude oil. Expanding the existing pipeline up to an oil play’s wellhead will make transporting oil more efficient but it’s going to take time. Until then, some tried and true methods are being used for safe and cost effective delivery.

Carbis’ specialty is constructing complete terminals for loading, offloading and transloading. We can build from the ground up or add on to what you already have to bring you up to code. Contact us today for all your fall prevention and spill containment needs for tank trucks, rail cars and marine vessels.

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