Jason Brandenburg, Rail Switch and Wash Supervisor

Meet Our Pro

Jason Brandenburg

Rail Switch and Wash Supervisor

As the construction of its new polyethylene plant in Monaca, Pennsylvania, continues, Shell Polymers has been assembling a team of industry experts, aka Polymer Pioneers and Polymer Pros, with proven track records in polymers and their respective field. In this article, we talked to our Rail Switch and Wash Supervisor, Jason Brandenburg, to learn more about his role in making sure our railcars operate smoothly.

Keep the Trains Moving

As Rail Switch and Wash Supervisor, Jason’s duties vary greatly. In Shell Polymers’ current construction phase, his day-to-day work can include inspecting railcars in storage at locations including Buffalo, NY and Columbus, OH. Jason also participates in walkdowns at our owned and operated SIT yard near Pittsburgh, PA where he hosts discussions with the emergency response team and conducts rail access training for non-rail employees.

Jason works daily with the Operation Excellence team to make sure our shipping systems are working effectively for our future customers. This work includes redlining and revising operations procedures, devising trigger and escalation policies for rail yard management, and participating in commercial and IT touchpoint discussions. This work is vital to providing a great supply chain and delivery experience for customers.

Once the plant is in an operational and steady state, Jason will switch his focus to supporting the rail switching and wash facility crews. His priority will be overseeing the inbounding of empty pellet hoppers and managing the shipment of resin in our railcars. Jason will work closely with his teams to make sure they have what they need to operate smoothly. He’ll be looking over the switch operations, continually refining the switching philosophy and building efficiencies into the operation whenever possible in an effort to help customers get their resin in a timely manner. 

“Our goal for customers who choose Shell Polymers is to help them receive their product promptly and with little to no contamination.” - Jason Brandenburg

Jason's success in his role is no surprise given his Petroleum Service Corporation 2021 Power of One Award. This award reflects his work in implementing meaningful process changes, service improvements and for identifying the need for the East Inbound Scale.

This system helps Shell Polymers determine the heel, or the amount of product that can’t be lifted out of the railcar after a delivery has been made. By determining that weight, we can load incoming railcars more precisely by knowing what volume of resin they require. We can also identify heavy loads in railcars making their way back to Shell Polymers. These heavy cars may not have been emptied completely at a customer’s location.

What’s that mean for customers? It means Shell Polymers has the ability to proactively contact customers about partially full railcars and see how they would like to proceed. Where many plants may return the product to scrap, we will give customers the option of retrieving that product.

A New Way to Manage the Yard

Shell Polymers is always looking to incorporate the latest technology into our efforts and that is no different with Jason’s position. The team is currently developing a custom interface for our rail yard management software. This software, along with tablets and tag readers, will provide a state-of-the-art, highly-automated yard management system. Jason explains that the team will be able to track cars in our yard and their movement in real time, helping us to give customers more information about their supply’s location.

There are also safety features built into the system that will not allow cars listed for repair to be loaded. To do this, the system uses a series of tags and scanners to verify that each car to be loaded or unloaded at is the proper type of railcar.

“Direct to truck loading coupled with required wash certificates, and a rigorous inspection program gives Shell Polymers an edge on aiming to supply high quality products with little to no contamination.” - Jason Brandenburg

Jason and the team have a goal to make sure that when an order from a customer comes in, that we will have their product en route on the next available railcar. Jason is coupling his knowledge and experience as a switchman, locomotive engineer, and operations manager with Shell’s production, planning, and commercial teams to make this happen seamlessly.

A New Fulfillment Best Practice

Jason sees Shell Polymers’ ability to fulfill customer orders by rail or truck as a true differentiator. Part of that has to do with our ability to load trucks directly on-site.

“Other suppliers use railcar to truck bulk transfer facilities systems to load trucks for customer orders,” Jason says “Even though that’s seen as an industry standard practice, it may not be the best practice.”

That’s because any time the product is handled, it’s susceptible to damage and contamination. By loading the product directly into the truck and following required wash certificates and a rigorous inspection process, Shell Polymers is aiming to supply high quantities of resin while reducing contamination.

Four Ways We Deliver High-Quality Resin

  • Prompt Resin Deliveries

    We have employed the latest technologies to help get the right product to our customers.

  • A Unique Way of Loading

    Shell Polymers has the ability to load directly to trucks. We have multiple truck loading silos on-site to deliver product to trucks without requiring a bulk transload facility. 

  • By Train or By Truck

    For our customers that are unable to receive railcars, we have the ability to ship a truckload of product that has been previously loaded into railcar. Being that this is a process that we oversee, we’ll make sure that your prime product is loaded into a properly cleaned truck.

  • Signed, Sealed, Delivered

    Our crew will be checking orders to make sure shipments leave the site with the proper seals.

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