Commerce Express Weekly Road Map:
November 15th, 2022
Keeping you informed on the latest news/insights in our industry.
Commerce Express Blog
The annual passing of 11/11 came last Friday. For us in the states, this date marks Veteran’s Day, a federal holiday honoring military veterans of the United States Armed Forces.
Our country’s veterans face a unique challenge (among many) when transitioning from military life to the everyday workforce.
Georgia Governor Signs Executive Orders to Extend Gas Tax Holiday
On November 4th, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed two executive orders to extend the supply chain emergency status and temporarily suspend state diesel and gas taxes through December 11th – Transport Topics reports.
The supply chain order suspends state collection of taxes on diesel, gas, locomotive fuel and other fuels. The supply chain order first started back on April 14th.
The supply chain order has a few provisions. One being it prohibits price gouging for diesel and gas. Another enables permits to be issued for commercial vehicles providing relief to transport goods on state highways – NOT interstates – with loads beyond the normal allowances for height, weight and length.
State Officials in Oregon Say Roadside Inspection Times Have Doubled since the ELD Mandate Started
Oregon state officials filed comments in response to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposal on ways to improve current regulations surrounding ELDs. You can read more about that, here.
State officials say that roadside inspection times have doubled since the ELD mandate started, which have increased administrative costs and have dragged down driver productivity – Freightwaves reports.
Officials continue to say that the increase is in part due to the variety of ELDs on the market and the time it takes for inspectors to determine the basic functions, unique intricacies, and download processes that are specific to each device presented at roadside inspections.
Because of the increase in time, it takes to figure out the roadside inspection process with ELDs, it has doubled the costs of “truck downtime” for drivers and their carriers.
Some Truck Parking Needs in Ohio Have Been Answered
In an effort to address the shortage of truck parking, Ohio plans to convert over a dozen weigh stations into truck parking lots and modernizing rest areas.
Officials in Ohio specifically have seen a continuance of shortages along major freight corridors like I-70, I-71 and I-75. As Transport Topics notes, those interstates are some of the heaviest truck routes in Ohio and have higher average daily traffic rates (15,000 trucks) driving along those routes compared to the 10,500 average daily number of trucks driving on other interstates in Ohio.
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is looking at a total of 13 weigh stations, of which they have already converted eight to truck parking locations. Each site is expected to have about 18 dedicated truck parking spots.
They expect the total cost of this project to be $7.5 million.
Hurricane Nicole Updates
Last week, Hurricane Nicole left a trail of power outages and floods in central Florida with the heavy rain and powerful wind it produced.
Nicole first hit the Bahamas before it made landfall in Florida, near Vero beach, as a Category 1 hurricane.
- All roadways and bridge closures related to the storm are now open
- All transit agencies are now open
- Power was restored to all accounts less than two days after Nicole made landfall
The Transportation Trades Department Implores Congress to Add Regulation that Addresses Rail Service
The TTD is asking that Congress considers implementing a yearly “stress test” for the railroads, in order to ensure that the railroads have properly invested in their infrastructure and people.
The TTD has the support of the group’s 37 member unions, including member railroad unions.
The TTD also is asking Congress to look into whether the definition of common carrier obligation can be improved, so that the railroads have the infrastructure and staffing they need.
Common carrier obligation is when a U.S. freight railroad engages with a rail shipper of bulk commodities to haul goods, the railroad must abide by terms expressed in federal code – that federal code is known as the common carrier obligation, as defined by Freightwaves.
Some in the industry argue that the current definition of common carrier obligation is too vague and doesn’t accurately define service standards. They argue that any definition of it should consider factors like the railroads’ staffing levels and the availability of equipment, as well as how to better enable the STB to enforce this obligation.
Another Rail Union Rejects Labor Agreement with U.S. Freight Railroads
The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB) voted to NOT ratify the labor agreement and will be maintaining a cooling-off period through December 9th – reports show.
IBB represents approximately 300 rail employees, many of whom work on repairing locomotives.
This is the third union to reject the labor agreement, which has all three of those unions back to the bargaining table. Meanwhile, seven other rail unions have voted to ratify their labor deals.
The IBB confirms they are in a cooling-off period, which they will maintain through December 9th – meaning, union members will not be able to engage in self-help action, i.e., going on strike.
Total U.S. Weekly Rail Traffic for the Week Ending November 5th, 2022
Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 502,106 carloads and intermodal units, which is down 0.4 percent compared with the same time last year – the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reports.
To break it down a little bit, carloads were at 243,276 – up a little over 3 percent compared to the same time last year. While U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 258,830 containers and trailers, down 3.6 percent compared to the same time last year, data shows.
For the first 44 weeks of this year, U.S. railroads reported a total volume of 10,214,652 carloads – up just 0.2 percent compared to the same point last year. While total intermodal units were 11,580,806 – which is down nearly 5 percent from the same point last year, data shows.