Commerce Express Weekly Road Map:
March 14th, 2023
Keeping you informed on the latest news/insights in our industry.
Commerce Express Blog
While most of us know May 16 as “National Love A Tree Day”, this year, those in the trucking business will associate this unassuming date as the start of International Roadcheck 2023.
Spearheaded by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), the annual road check will be a continentwide three-day safety bonanza. Across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, CVSA-certified inspectors will take to the streets and conduct their righteous examinations of commercial vehicles and drivers at designated inspection areas and weigh stations.
The safety nut special will conclude on May 18.
Vancouver Port Authority Once Again Defers Ban on Aging Trucks
The Vancouver port has decided to defer its Rolling Truck Age Program, which has already been postponed once already, by an additional nine months.
The Rolling Truck Age Program would ban container-hauling trucks with model years older than 2006, in an effort to control local emissions.
The port released a statement stating, “in light of the current economic landscape and continued pandemic-related issues, we will again defer implementation of the program for no less than nine months.”
This ban was expected to go into effect April 3rd, after it was originally slated to take effect September 2022.
Truck Transportation Jobs Decline in February
Last Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data that showed the truck transportation industry seeing a decline of 8,500 jobs in February – totaling at 1,599,900 on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Besides a large drop when the pandemic first started (in April 2020), this is February’s largest decrease in truck transportation jobs since 2013.
Warehouse jobs were also on the decline in February. On a seasonally adjusted basis, jobs in the industry were at 1,929,400 jobs – which is down from 1,934,900 jobs a month prior.
Significant Amounts of Snow Expected for the Northeast – What Truckers Should Know
The first half of this week in the Northeast – including the interior of New England and much of New York – is expected to see high winds and as much as 18 inches of snow – per Trucker News.
These winter conditions could prove to be difficult for truckers that are driving through or near those areas.
Additionally, the New York State Thruway Authority has issued restrictions on tandem and empty tracker-trailers as the storm looms near.
The restrictions include the Thruway (I-87/I-90) beginning March 13th at 8 p.m. from I-87 exit 17 (Newburgh – Scranton – I-84) to I-90 exit 36 (Watertown – Binghamton – I -81) and the length of the Berkshire Spur (I-87) exit 21B to the Massachusetts border.
Did You Know: U.S. Class 8 Retail Sales Were Up 35 Percent in February
U.S. Class 8 retail sales for the month of February jumped to 35 percent (20,136) compared to last year, and just up slightly from the month prior, reports show.
Freightliner was the top performer, with 7,368 trucks sold. While Navistar experienced the largest year-over-year increase with sales increasing by 86.8 percent – 2,828 units from 1,514.
BNSF and Three More Unions Reach Sick Leave Agreements
BNSF railroad and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen and the mechanical and engineering department of the International Association of Sheet, Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART-MD), have reached agreements on sick leave.
Within these new agreements, the employees will receive an additional four paid days off to use as sick days. There is also the opportunity to convert up to three personal leave days to sick days per year.
What’s Next? The Freight Rail Industry Outlines Steps to Improve Safety
In an effort to improve rail safety, the rail industry has responded with an outline of steps.
The Association of American Railroads said in a news release, “[The actions are] an initial set of steps it is taking in its drive toward a future with zero incidents and zero injuries – one where what happened in East Palestine never happens again.”
Some issues the rail industry is expected to address are:
- Improving spacing of wayside detectors: the Class I railroads plan to immediately begin installing more hot bearing detectors (HBDs) on their networks
- Reach a consensus on how to interpret trending data from HBDs
- Participate in the U.S. DOT’s Close Call Reporting Program
- Strengthen training efforts
- Increase participation of first responders and fire associations in the AskRail app – which provides real-time information about the contents of every car in a train
- Consider additional tank car improvements
Total U.S. Rail Traffic for the Week Ending March 4th, 2023
Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 471,191 carloads and intermodal units, which was down 6.3 percent compared to the same time last year – the Association of American Railroads reports.
Coal, petroleum and petroleum products, and motor vehicles and parts commodities all posted increases compared to the same time last year. While grain, nonmetallic minerals, and metallic ores and metals all posted decreases, the AAR reports.
A look at the first nine weeks of rail this year…
U.S. railroads reported a cumulative volume of 2,066,853 carloads – just barely up from last year at 0.1 percent. While intermodal units were reported at 2,100,685 – a decrease of 4.5 percent compared to the same time last year.