02/17/2014 04:38 EST | Updated 04/19/2014 05:59 EDT

Irving Oil to convert tank railcars to meet higher standards

Irving Oil Ltd. has announced plans to voluntarily convert its DOT-111 tank railcars to meet higher standards by the end of April.

The company will also ask its suppliers to adhere to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) recommended specifications by the end of the year, president and CEO Paul Browning announced in a statement on Monday.

The announcement comes less than one month after the Transportation Safety Board called for tougher standards for the DOT-111 cars that are widely used in the oil-by-rail industry.

DOT-111 tank cars, called CTC-111A in Canada, were involved in the Lac-Mégantic, Que., train derailment disaster in July 2013 that killed 47 people.​

The train was carrying a shipment of crude oil destined for the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John.

The AAR specifications recommend that DOT-111 railcars built after October 2011 include reinforcements and enhancements that have been reported to reduce the risk of product loss if the railcars are involved in derailments.

"We have made substantial progress in converting our fleet of crude oil railcars to meet this enhanced standard. In light of the strongly worded recommendation from the TSB in January, we felt it was important to communicate this milestone to the public," said Browning.

"Safety is paramount to our business, and by taking this voluntary leadership position with our own fleet of railcars we expect to set a standard for the suppliers and marketers who ship crude oil to our facilities to quickly follow our example,” he said.