Monday, December 7, 2009

BASF Installing Real-Time Tracking System on Chemical Railcars

German chemical company BASF is completing the installation of a real-time tracking system on U.S. railcars carrying the company's six most hazardous chemicals, as mentioned in the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS's) Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report on Monday. The wireless tracking system, consisting of a VeriWise tracking unit with a GPS receiver and communications satellite transceiver, allows the company to monitor the location of approximately 1,000 of its 7,000 railcars that travel to and from chemical plants. Some of the systems also contain sensors to monitor the conditions on and around the railcar, including detection for impact and motion and temperature gauges. The system transmits all information via satellite to a VeriWise server, identifying the railcar with an ID number. In the event of an incident, such as a collision or tampering with the railcar, VeriWise sends an alert to BASF. The upgraded system also allows BASF to communicate with the mounted devices, providing two-way communication capabilities. Eventually, BASF plans to equip a total of 1,200 of its railcars with the tracking system.

In the wake of increased chemical security regulations in recent years, including the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards and the Rail Transportation Security Final Rule, security of railcars carrying hazardous chemicals has increased. Tracking and monitoring of such railcars as well as chain of custody and control procedures at facility loading and unloading stations have become necessary in order to address new security regulations.

No comments: