Company Receives Union Pacific’s Pinnacle Award

 One of the company’s new tank cars, which was manufactured in 2020.

May 8, 2024 - Freeport-McMoRan’s ongoing work to help ensure the safe rail transportation of chemicals to and from its North America sites has been recognized by Union Pacific with its 2023 Pinnacle Award.

The award honors companies that had zero non-accident releases for shipments of regulated hazardous material moving in tank cars, confirmed the use of safety best practices and moved at least 100 rail cars in 2023. Freeport is one of 137 companies – the most in more than a decade – recognized by Union Pacific.

“Safety is Union Pacific’s No. 1 priority, and we are proud to honor these likeminded companies with the 2023 Pinnacle Award,” Jacque Bendon, Senior Vice President-Industrial, Marketing and Sales for Union Pacific said in a company news release. “Our customers share our commitment to the safe transportation of chemicals, and we have a collaborative goal of protecting the environment and communities along our rail network.”

The zero non-accident stipulation in Union Pacific’s award refers to a spill or leak typically caused by an open valve, loose bolt or missing gasket. Freeport attaining zero non-accident releases in 2023 is even more impressive when factoring the volume of the company’s tank car shipments – more than 9,500 on Union Pacific’s network and more than 12,000 total.

“It’s really important that we are properly securing every bolt, every cap is attached where needed, every valve is secured on each tank car before it is offered back to the railroad,” said Angela Edgmon, Transportation Compliance Manager.

The company’s rail network encompasses seven locations in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Iowa, and consideration must be given to all points in between, Edgmon said.

“A lot of times, we may think of safety being confined to our properties,” she said. “When it comes to transportation, every time we ship a hazardous material by truck or a rail car, we have to be mindful of safety beyond our property lines.”

Edgmon was quick to credit those who work at the sites – loading and unloading crews and rail crews – for their focus on safety.

“They are the frontline folks who are performing the car inspections and securing those cars,” she said. “This award is because of them.”

Photo:  One of the company’s new tank cars, which was manufactured in 2020.