LP Gas

Propane associations engage with railroads to keep supply moving

When a shortage of railcars in the Northwest became apparent last year, the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) worked to convince the involved railroads to dispatch more tank cars into the region.

“We’ll do the same thing this year, if need be,” says D.D. Alexander of Global Gas, a member of NPGA’s Propane Supply and Logistics Committee.

“The issue was more a case of propane supply getting from point A to point B and not an issue of not having propane supply,” says Matt Solak, executive director of the Pacific Propane Gas Association (PPGA). “Clearly, the ability to move supply is just as important as having supply. The Northwest is very dependent on railcars for its supply.”

When the region experienced abnormal weather patterns last winter, rail service experienced significant delays, which, when coupled with the shortage of railcars, put increased strain on the supply chain.

“Through our government affairs team, PPGA engages with counterparts at Union Pacific and BNSF when we hear concerns from members regarding delay in rail service,” Solak reports.

“We continue to monitor issues that impact supply nationwide,” he adds. “Obviously, points of stress in the supply chain can have a ripple effect throughout the country. It is hard to know exactly, as it would depend on the scale of impact to another region.”

PPGA is encouraging all members – marketers and suppliers – to have appropriate plans in place for winter preparations. Part of this preparation includes understanding all of the transportation needs during normal operations and during operations of increased demand or supply chain interruption.