Commerce Express Weekly Road Map:

January 10th, 2023

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

Commerce Express Blog

Great Lakes’ Ice Breaker Question Gets an Answer-01

The Great Lakes can very well be mistaken as a collection of expansive inland seas. As far as freight movement is concerned that’s exactly the case.

Thanks to connecting channels and access to the Atlantic Ocean (via the St. Lawrence River), the five Great Lakes transport more than 160 million tons of cargo every year within the region and even to overseas destinations.

Read More Here

White modern bonnet popular professional big rig semi truck with dry van semi trailer going on the wet dangerous slippery icy winter road with snow on the trees on the sides of the divided highway

Trucking Update

Truckers in Connecticut Deal With New Highway Tax 

This Highway Use Fee will be imposed on certain carriers for the privilege of operating, or causing to be operated, certain heavy, multi-unit motor vehicles on any highway in Connecticut, per the Connecticut State Department of Revenue Services.  

This new tax would apply to large commercial trucks – that carry a classification between Class 8 and Class 13. Fees can range from 2.5 cents per mile for vehicles weighing 26,000 to 28,000 pounds, to 17.5 cents per mile for trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds – Transport Topics details.

This tax is effective as of January 1st and is expected to create $90 million per year for transportation improvements in the state. The Connecticut State Department of Revenue Services has a variety of links to help register, file/pay, and calculate the highway use fee.

California’s New Clean-Fleet Drayage Rule 

As of January 1st, recent clean-fleet regulation in California bans drayage trucks with engines that have a 2009 model year or older, from entering the California ports.  

At the Port of LA/LB, around 4,000 drayage trucks are set to be impacted by this, which is around 16 percent of the registered drayage fleet at that Port, the Journal of Commerce notes.

While officials at the Port of Oakland say around 19 percent of their drayage fleet is affected by this new regulation.  

In the short-term, the actual impact of this regulation should be minimal as import volumes in Southern California continue to decline by double-digit percentages, since September. And as of right now it is too early to tell on what impact – if any – this could have on drayage operations.  

Class 8 Orders For The Month of December

In the month of December, Class 8 truck orders ended at 30,300 units – according to preliminary data from ACT Research.

Technically, Class 8 net orders were down slightly from November (30,000 units). However, as analysts at ACT Research note

“When factoring in the year-end seasonal uptick in orders began a month ahead of schedule this year, in September, which skewed the year-to-date seasonally adjusted average upward, and that September orders represented the highest monthly total on record, we’re inclined to view December’s order intake as a solid end to a robust final four months of the year.”  

We’ll have a better idea of what Class 8 truck orders truly were like at the end of December, once the final results are out mid-month.  

FAQ: Canada Remains Top Trading Partner for the U.S.

For the second consecutive month, Canada ranked the United States’ top trading partner and stands Number one overall year to date, data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows.

Mexico ranked number two, with its total trade from the U.S. increased six percent year-over-year to $62.4 billion in November, compared to the same period in 2022. 

While China was ranked third with $52.5 billion.  

Train cargo container 40FT. Parking in the container
Rail Update

Four Class I Railroads Want the STB to Pause Implementation of a Program Involving Rail Rates 

In a joint letter to the board at the end of December, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific and the U.S. branch of Canadian Railway CN, asked the Surface Transportation Board to pause the implementation of a program that would resolve rail rate disputes involving smaller financial amounts, per Freightwaves.

This comes back on December 19th after the STB made decisions revolving around two final rules that were involved in resolving small rate disputes.

The railroads argue that the sign-up window – which could be sometime in mid-February – could expire before the railroads know the outcome of the petitions asking for the reconsideration of the final rule governing the arbitration program.  

The FHA Announces $2 Billion+ in Grants for Bridge Projects 

The Federal Highway Administration recently announced $2.1 billion in first-round grants will go towards repairs on four bridge projects, that are “economically significant,” Transport Topics states.

Officials continue to state that these bridges that receive these grants are “vital connections for millions of Americans to jobs, education, health care and medical care, and assistance in moving goods from farms and factories.”  

Union Pacific Lifts Penalty Cap on Containers in Chicago and Kansas City

As of January 1st, the cap on demurrage penalties charged to international shippers in Chicago-Joliet and Kansas City were lifted.  

The lift of the penalty caps is due to the end of congestion that impacted the flow of freight to several inland hubs within the last year, the Journal of Commerce details.

Total U.S. Rail Traffic for the Week Ending December 31st, 2022

Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 365,553 carloads and intermodal units – down 6.8 percent compared to the same time last year, the Association of American Railroads reports.

Breaking it down more… total carloads for the week were 179,992 carloads – which is down 12.5 percent compared to the same time last year.  

While U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 185,561 containers and trailers – down 0.5 percent compared to last year, per data.

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