Commerce Express Weekly Road Map:
January 3rd, 2023
Keeping you informed on the latest news/insights in our industry.
Commerce Express Blog
A Christmas tree is the centerpiece of a room filled with Christmas spirit. Folks who celebrate will deck their trees with personal ornaments, colorful lights, and tuck away presents underneath.
While it’s OK that some holiday heathens choose to erect fake trees in their dwells, the true magic of Christmas is captured when there’s a real and living tree to gather friends and family around.
U.S. DOT Awards $273+ million in Funding for Rural Freight Corridors
The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded $273.9 million designated to 12 projects to help improve safety and movement of freight in rural roadways in several states.
This funding, which is under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, will invest $2 billion through 2026 for various rural projects to help improve/update infrastructure, highway safety, and increase access to agricultural commercial, energy and freight facilities – Transport Topics reports.
The 12 winning projects were awarded from Alaska, California, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.
Truck Driver Recruitment Efforts are Likely to Continue to Slow in 2023
It is likely that the trucking industry will see a slowdown continue in driver recruitment efforts as freight demand continues to normalize in 2023.
During the pandemic, high freight demand was brought as consumer spending shifted toward goods over service, among other variety of things. This caused carriers to make a more significant push to recruit drivers in order to meet that demand, Transport Topics notes.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employment in the transportation and warehousing industries declined by 15,000 and has decreased by 38,000 since July.
Trucking Trends and Market Updates
The spot and contract markets of Q4 2022 have stabilized, route guides that support contract truckload have also stabilized in high performance for first tender acceptance and route guide depth.
Trailers that are used as storage at shippers/consignees continues to be a main issue for network optimization.
Fleet have aged and have higher miles due to unfulfilled orders for new Class 8 trucks, in 2022.
Used Class 8 retail volumes were down 19 percent in November, compared to October.
The South Carolina Ports Authority has made changes to their rate schedule – increasing handling rates to 20% for specific commodities. Charleston continues to outperform Savannah and Charlotte for export equipment.
Norfolk seems to be seeing more seasonal delays than other ports in the near area – increased refrigerated volumes are causing some equipment issues.
Canada’s ELD Mandate Compliance Date Is Near
Effective in January, the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is set to begin its compliance and enforcement period.
Alberta and Saskatchewan have no current plans to require ELDs provincially.
Additionally, Transport Canada is looking to establish a series of penalties under the federal HOS rules surrounding ELDS. Those penalties could be as high as $2,000 for motor carriers and $1,000 for drivers – this is still a proposal.
Norfolk Southern Closing One of Their Container Spillover Lots Outside Memphis
After a significant decline in import volumes moved via Savannah since October, the railroad announced last Thursday that they will close one of its two container spillover lots that are outside Memphis.
NS will close the Raines Road lot that it opened back in September, though the railroad will be adding extra capacity to its Rossville terminal outside Memphis, in an effort to handle future increases in cargo flow, according to the Journal of Commerce.
As many remember, back in September there were 43 vessels anchored outside of Savannah, compared to just 7 vessels that were reported as of December 29th.
U.S. GAO studies the effect of PSR on U.S. Freight Rail
The U.S. Government Accountability Office recently released a study on the implementation of precision-scheduled railroading (PSR).
PSR is a strategy to increase efficiency and reduce costs among Class I railroads, resulting in decreases in staff and assets, such as locomotives and longer trains – Railway Age details.
This recent study, found that the effect PSR has on rail safety remained “inconclusive.”
Additionally, in the U.S. GAO report, they interviewed 28 stakeholders, including representatives of railroads, employee unions and shippers. You can read further details regarding the full report here.
Total U.S. Rail Traffic for the Week Ending December 24th, 2022
Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 400,289 carloads and intermodal units – down nearly 5 percent compared to the same time last year, per the Association of American Railroads.
Total carloads for this week were 193,195 carloads – down 4.1 percent compared to the same week last year. While U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 207,094 containers and trailers – down 5.5 percent compared to last year, data shows.
Motor vehicles and parts, petroleum and petroleum products, and nonmetallic minerals all posted increases compared to the same time last year. While coal, chemicals, and grain all posted decreases compared to the same time last year.