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The Boston Globe

Business

Quebec tragedy unlikely to slow oil shipments via rail

With shipments of crude rising, some say an accident as happened in Quebec was inevitable, but others say trains are the only — and safest — way to move the fuel

The weekend’s tragedy in Quebec, where at least 15 people were killed after an oil tanker train derailed and exploded in a small town near the Maine border, probably will not slow the tremendous growth in rail shipments of oil across New England and North America, local and national industry officials say.

Two Massachusetts companies, Global Partners LLC of Waltham and Pan Am Railways of Billerica, are part of this rail boom and should continue to benefit from it, analysts said. With production surging in North Dakota and western Canada, and no major pipelines connecting the oil fields to coastal refineries, there are few alternatives to rail to help meet the demand for gasoline, diesel, and other petroleum products.

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