Commerce Express Weekly Road Map:

May 9th, 2023

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

Commerce Express Blog

Alaskan Fleets Offer Six-Figures to Haul Loads to the Arctic-01

Attention drivers! Alaska is looking for the insane…the intrepid…and the adventurous. They’re looking for folks with a lot of bravery and, maybe, a tinge of crazy.

If driving through the prairies of the Midwest or the turnpikes of the East Coast has become too mundane, the state far to the north is calling your name.

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

Truck Manufacturers are Pushing Back Against EPA’s Carbon Emissions Ruling 

Truck manufacturers are pushing back against the EPA’s proposal to significantly cut carbon emissions from heavy trucks. 

One of the main frustrations original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) says is the lack of infrastructure to support such a proposal.  

They understand and support the goal, but “without electricity recharging and hydrogen refueling infrastructures in place, our customers are not likely to make the needed investment to purchase the zero-emission vehicles that EMA members put out for sale.”  

The new guidelines from the EPA would begin in model year 2028 and extend to model year 2032, which would control a range of truck sizes from delivery trucks and dump trucks to freight-hauling day-cab and sleeper-cab trucks. 

Flatbed Outlook: Capacity and Demand

  • Due to its seasonality, flatbed freight typically has a strong spring rebound compared to the winter. Though, as Freightwaves notes, sometimes when construction activity begins in the spring flatbed capacity can, at times, be caught off guard in the transition.  
  • There is a strong correlation that flatbed demand has with manufacturing. For instance, during the peak of the pandemic, production for automotive materials stalled due to a variety of supply chain bottlenecks.   
  • Flatbed capacity can sometimes be as unpredictable as its demand. In the end, it seems like flatbed capacity is moving in the same direction as the rest of the truckload market.

House Legislation Would Allow Two FMCSA waivers to Become Permanent

Legislation to continue to add more truck drivers was introduced in the U.S. House. This legislation would make two waivers that have been issued by the FMCSA, permanent.  

    1. Allowing state driver’s licensing agencies to use certain third-party testers to administer CDL knowledge tests. 
    2. Allow states to administer driving skills tests to certain out of state applicants. 

This legislation has been referred to a committee of jurisdiction, but the consideration has not been scheduled yet.  

Did You Know: U.S. is Lifting the Vaccine Mandate at the Canadian and Mexican Borders

Starting this Friday, May 12th, vaccine mandate requirements for truckers based in Canada and Mexico will be lifted. 

This move could allow thousands of truckers to get back into cross-border freight movements.  

Official statement from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security: 

“DHS will no longer require non-U.S. travelers entering the U.S. via land ports of entry, and ferry terminals to be fully vaccinated against COVID and provide related proof of vaccination upon request. DHS intends to rescind these Title 19 travel restrictions in alignment with the end of the Public Health Emergency.”  

Back in October, Canada ended their own vaccine requirements. And over the past several months, many trucking associations have called on the Biden Administration to end the mandate.  

Mecca, California, United States - May 26, 2015: Freight train with both Union Pacific and BNSF engines on track next to California State Route 111.
Rail Update

Union Pacific is Challenging the CPKC Merger 

As of April 14th, the Canadian Pacific Kansas City Southern (CPKC) merger was officially official. But, now Union Pacific has challenged the Surface Transportation Board and how they have handled concerned around competition.  

Specifically, UP is asking a federal court of appeals to review the decision by the STB to approve the merger between CP and KCS.  

CPKC told Freightwaves in a statement, “we don’t know what UP’s argument is, but in our view, the STB conducted a comprehensive, thorough and thoughtful review..”  

STB said in a statement they do not comment on pending litigation.  

Weekly Rail Traffic for the Week Ending April 29th, 2023 

  • Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 481,960 carloads and intermodal units, which is down nearly 5 percent (4.9 to be exact), from the same time last year – per the AAR.
  • Motor vehicles and parts, petroleum and petroleum products, and non-metallic minerals all posted increases compared to the same period last year.  
  • Miscellaneous carloads, chemicals, and forest products all saw decreases.
  • Total North American rail volume for the first 17 weeks of this year was 10,938,636 carloads and intermodal units – down 3.9 percent compared to last year.

Check out our socials to view a Rail Round Up for the month of April!

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