Commerce Express Weekly Road Map: June 28th, 2022
Keeping you informed on the latest news/insights in our industry.
Commerce Express Blog
If the word great is in something’s name, it likely reflects how important and influential that one thing is. While the Great Lakes of the U.S. were coined this descriptor due to their sheer size, the word also is apt to its role in American transportation and commerce.
The Great Lakes comprise of five large bodies of water: Lake Superior; Lake Michigan; Lake Huron; Lake Eerie; and Lake Ontario. Common cargoes shipped on these lakes are raw materials like taconite, limestone, and coal. Historically, the Great Lakes have been a crucial gateway for transporting necessary supplies to the steel mills of the automotive industry.
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will be working with state agencies throughout the summer for a traffic safety program along two very busy interstate highways (I-81 and I-95) on the Eastern side of the U.S., FreightWaves says. These enforcement weeks will be on July 4-8, July 18-22, August 1-5, and August 15-19, with funding being provided under the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP).
- The nomination for Robin Hutcheson to lead the FMCSA has been unanimously approved by the Senate’s Transportation Committee, and will be going to the full Senate for approval, FleetOwner reports. Hutcheson became acting FMCSA head in January after previously serving as Deputy Assistant Transportation Secretary for Safety Policy.
- The S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that shippers are continuing to pay more for trucking and transportation services even though there has been marked drops in truckload spot rates. Data from the BLS, courtesy of the Journal of Commerce reveals a 2.9 percent month-to-month increase to its measuring index last May in prices for transportation and warehousing services.
- Last Wednesday, President Biden called for suspending the federal gasoline tax for three months with intentions to ease soaring diesel and gasoline prices for truckers and general consumers. Trucker News notes that many observers believe this motion has little chance of being approved by Congress. American Trucking Associations (ATA) notes that a pause of this tax will hurt funding for the nation’s highways and roadways.
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- Canadian National (CN) plans to invest $560 million US dollars ($725 million CA) in capital projects in British Columbia and Quebec, Freightwaves reports. CN says these investments will go towards network improvements, technology, rolling stock units and decarbonization initiatives. British Columbia can expect to see $390 million from CN to replace 111 miles of rail track, install approximately 126,000 railroad ties and rebuild 37 road crossing service. While Quebec can expect to see $335 million in improvements from CN, including replacing 27 miles of rail and installing over 118,000 railroad ties and rebuilding 28 road crossing services.
- Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) members are asking the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to ‘reject’ the merger of Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern. The Journal of Commerce reports that the reason for the FMC wanting the STB to reject the merge: “[the merger] will ultimately hurt U.S. ports and intermodal railway systems, by shifting cargo volumes to competing Canadian ports,” the commission said.
- For the week ending on June 18, 2022, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was at 501,207 carloads and intermodal units, which is down 2.5 percent compared to the same time last year – the Association of American Railroads reports. Furthermore, grain, nonmetallic minerals and motor vehicles and parts have all posted an increase compared to the same time last year. While, metallic ores and metals, coal and miscellaneous carloads all posted a decrease compared to the same time last year, the AAR says.
- Significant congestion has struck BNSF Railway’s terminal outside Dallas-Forth Worth due to severe chassis deficits that are expected to continue for another few weeks. The Journal of Commerce reports that more than 2,000 ocean containers are currently clogged at the terminal. Industry insiders note this chassis shortage stems from increased import activity at Houston which in return led to equipment being relocated to the Texan seaport from the Dallas-Forth Worth terminal.