Hazardous goods violations lead to fines and parliamentary questions in the Netherlands

Source: RailFreight
Date: 22nd January 2024

Dutch transport and environment watchdog ILT has imposed a preliminary fine on an operator of hazardous substances. During an inspection in December 2023, ILT discovered that 16 of the 24 reservoir wagons of a train headed to European destinations were not properly closed and overfilled. The situation caused the risk of environmental hazards.

The wagons were filled with the hazardous substance Methyl-tert-butylether (MBTE), a highly flammable liquid mainly used as an additive in fuel. Upon discovery of the violations, ILT immediately halted the transport due to environmental risks, in particular risk of fire. The train was supposed to cover large distances in Europe and pass densely populated areas in the Netherlands, exposing large populations to environmental hazards. The train was escorted back to the site where the wagons were loaded from a location near Amsterdam.

Further violations
Further investigation also revealed that 22 wagons were overfilled by more than five percent and one wagon by approximately two percent, with a total of almost 100,000 liters of MBTE. As a result, there was a high risk that the fluid would escape from the reservoirs due to driving movements or braking. In addition, the company had failed to appoint legally required safety advisors for the transport of hazardous substances by rail, road and inland waterways.

If violations continue, the loader will forfeit a penalty of 10,000 euros up to a maximum of 100,000 euros. With the imposed fine, ILT hopes to prevent further violations, both now and in the future. The file has been transferred to the Functional Public Prosecutor’s Office for further processing. Meanwhile, Dutch parliament has taken up the matter and plans to ask questions about the violations.

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