March 23, 2024 - TRA Newswire -

For several years, Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem) and BNSF have worked closely on improving successful service and sustainability practices. That's how CPChem became one of the BNSF customers honored during their inaugural BNSF Sustainability Awards for making their operations more sustainable.

CPChem is also a member of the railroad's Sustainable Freight Leadership Council, that provides a platform for industry leaders to share expertise and learn from each other with the goal of making a lasting impact on global carbon emissions while creating more sustainable supply chains.  

BNSF and CPChem’s worked on what was known as the Empty Hopper Car Optimization initiative. CPChem was one of the first  BNSF customers on this project. The initiative supports the reduction of carbon emissions and increases fuel efficiency because it minimizes miles, handlings and transit on the return of CPChem’s empty private hopper cars.  Since the program started in 2020, it has saved 1.6 million miles of travel on the railroad and 46,000 transit days and eliminated more than 31,000 rail car handlings departing yards. 

BNSF said it has helped reduce dwell times in Dayton, Texas by adjusting the workload throughout different shifts to enable on-time train departures and consistently meet CPChem’s processing window. "Our operations and service design teams also audited spot and pull schedules to help ensure accurate reporting."

“Private car optimization is a great collaboration initiative between BNSF and CPChem. It has a range of important benefits, including the reduction of risk due to fewer car handlings,” Brandon Archambeau, BNSF’s assistant vice president for Merchandise Service Design, said.

At its Cedar Bayou plant near Houston (shown), CPChem recognized the need to improve communication and outline new, mutually agreed-upon communication practices for safer and seamless railcar service. BNSF also trained Cedar Bayou Plant employees in how to use a web tool for railcar management. 

As one of the world’s top producers of ethylene and polyethylene, CPChem has been advancing the circular economy through investments and rail movement of circular polyethylene. A circular economy extends the use of existing materials and products. In 2020, CPChem was the first company in the United States to announce its success in commercial scale production of circular polyethylene made using advanced recycling technology under the Marlex® Anew™ product line. Its goal is to produce 1 billion pounds of circular polyethylene by 2030. 

“BNSF Railway is pleased to collaborate with CPChem to integrate rail into CPChem’s advanced recycling supply chain,” Vice President of Environment and Sustainability John Lovenburg said. “These circular solutions upcycle waste into new product, reducing landfilled materials.” 

CPChem is also working with the Plastics Industry Association by participating in a New-End Market Opportunities (NEMO) study. In addition to other applications, the study analyzes the performance of post-use plastic as paving material. CPChem recently used a specialized asphalt mix containing approximately 1,000 kilograms of recycled plastic to pave a 67,000 square-foot parking lot at its Port Arthur, Texas, facility. The material is estimated to contain the equivalent of more than 191,000 plastic bags.

Recently, BNSF teams have worked with CPChem to provide continued service, ensuring its plants and customers can operate consistently. Through creative operating solutions, transparency and communication, BNSF assisted CPChem in improving and maintaining its services. These efforts allow CPChem to continue to work on sustainability while operating reliably.  

“CPChem has always appreciated the collaboration with BNSF to find innovative ways to improve how we work together,” CPChem Rail Services Manager Samantha Norris said.

Photo credit: BNSF / CPChem