Commerce Express Weekly Road Map: September 6th, 2022

Keeping you informed on the latest news/insights in our industry.

 Commerce Express Blog

We often reiterate that commercial trucks move roughly 72.5 percent of our country’s freight by weight. Such a large volume is comprised of a variety of commodities. Look around the room, point to a random object, and the odds are that it has been on a rig.

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Trucking Update

  • Truck driver training programs have seen a surge of interest and need more resources and instructors to handle the amount of interested people joining the industry. Some states are unable to provide timely testing for licenses, are inconsistent with how tests are being conducted and experiencing a lack of available tests, Transport Topics reports. This has been a consistent issue for both independent driver training schools and carriers that have training programs.
  • U.S. truck driver hours of service (HOS) rules – which have been in effect since March 2020 – have been extended till October 15th, the American Journal of Transportation reports. The emergency exemption was set to expire at the end of August. This exemption allows truck drivers hauling certain supplies to exceed the restrictions limiting them to eleven hours of driving time per day. Reports also show that the emergency exemption is likely to be continued beyond October as well, as the Biden administration prepares for a possible surge in new COVID cases.
  • Shortages of truck parking in New York City remains an issue, with many trucks having been towed and booted, which has prompted some in the state Legislature to want to increase fines for trucks parked illegally in residential areas. Finding the right balance is key, many stakeholders say. Making sure there are adequate alternative options for truckers being able to park and take breaks, while not impacting the quality of life for the residents in the community, Transport Topics notes.

Fact of the week:

The U.S. DOT is dispersing $513.2 million to thirty states, plus D.C. and Puerto Rico, that have had roads and bridges impacted by extreme weather

The hope for this funding is to address the impact of climate change and to work to build more sustainable transportation infrastructure to last for years to come


Rail Update
  • Union Pacific has reported that they have seen service improve, months after mounted congestion created delays and inflamed the supply chain of essential goods. Data shows, train velocity improved eight percent since the middle of April. Additionally, the number of trains that were held up due to crew shortages dropped from an average of fifty-one per day in the middle of April, to sixteen per day for the week that ended on August 19th. Earlier this month, Union Pacific announced in a customer letter that they added 3,000 of its own cars back into service to help with demand. The railroad hopes congestion will continue to ease, especially after Labor Day weekend where volumes and inventory are typical lower, Supply Chain Dive details.
  • Two more freight rail unions have reached tentative agreements for a new labor contract with the U.S. freight railroads, reports say. As of now, five of the twelve rail unions have reached tentative agreements – which represent more than 21,000 employees, the NCCC says. Additionally, that represents about fifteen percent of the over 140,000 employees that have been at the bargaining table.
  • For the week ending on August 27th, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was at 511,574 carloads and intermodal units – up 1.4 percent compared to the same time last year, data from the Association of American Railroads reports. Breaking that down… total carloads for that week were 242,633 carloads (up 3.4 percent) and weekly intermodal volumes were at 268,941 (down 0.3 percent), compared to the same time last year. Coal, grain and motor vehicles and parts continue to post increases, while, petroleum and petroleum products, metallic ores and metals, and forest products remain down from the same time last year, data shows.
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