Commerce Express Weekly Road Map:

May 16th, 2023

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

Commerce Express Blog

West Coast Cargo Bleed Stains Domestic Intermodal-01

Intermodal providers are reporting lower freight volumes in their corner of the industry as the country’s import lull through the West Coast continues.

The Southern Californian ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been at the forefront of this trend. In the first quarter of this year, America’s busiest gateways saw only two thirds of last year’s volumes when compared to Q1 2022.

Read More Here

Horizontal shot of heavy traffic on the interstate highway.

Trucking Update

April Truckload Volumes Decline, What’s in Store for May?

For the month of April, truckload freight volumes declined and the national average spot rates for dry van and reefer loads dipped for the fourth consecutive month – data shows.   

    • Van TVI was at 206 – down 15.5% from March and 12.3% lower year-over-year. 
    • Reefer TVI dropped to 154 – a 16.3% decline from March and 12.5% lower year-over-year. 
    • Flatbed TVI was at 239 – 13.7% lower compared to March but 3.5% higher year-over-year. 

Experts suggest that May will be a vital month for shippers, brokers and carriers, after a tough first four months of the year.

Officials at the Port of NY/NJ Aim to Improve the Trucker Experience

Recently the Port of NY/NJ has seen a drop in cargo activity, which has a direct impact on port truckers.  

This has led officials and terminal operators at the port to improve the trucker experiences, so they stay once volumes do rebound.  

Last year during high demand and rates, many truckers decided to get their own authorization to operate as motor carriers in the port. But, to cover those costs, those drivers need to make three or four trips a day to the port.  

However, with lower volumes, it can cause truckers to only get one or two loads per day.  

The port has a variety of projects this year that will help make it easier for truckers, some of those projects include: better traffic signaling and signage, more line striping and lighting, and more restrooms throughout the port.  

Cross-Border Flatbed Demand Looks Promising This Year 

So far through this year, cross-border flatbed demand has been quite durable and steady.  

This is largely due to construction activity rising in both Mexico and the U.S., from new factories in Mexico to new homes and apartments in the U.S.  

Experts in the industry have also recently seen an uptick in steel imports in the automotive industry, which has led to more flatbed demand in transporting raw materials throughout Mexico and the U.S.

Reports of Truckers Planning to Boycott Moving Freight To/From Florida

Last Wednesday, the Florida government passed a bill that targets undocumented immigrants by requiring employers to check that workers are authorized to work in the U.S, per Freightwaves.  

This bill takes effect July 1st 

Some truckers have taken to social media this past weekend voicing their opposition to this bill, and to suggest to other truckers that they should boycott hauling freight to/from Florida.  

Did You Know: Norfolk Southern Will Compensate Homeowners in East Palestine

NS announced their plans to put together a fund that will compensate homeowners in East Palestine for property value reduction, in responses to the early February derailment that took place.  

NS says they “have not waited for the judicial process to be completed prior to getting to work on the structure and shape of a real property fund that will compensate homeowners.”  

They will develop more details on the property fund, plus the fair geographic radius to whom they may apply to, in order to follow the appropriate procedures and respecting the class action participants’ rights.  

White Rock, Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - July 25, 2021: A freight train riding through the city by the beach during a colorful summer evening.
Rail Update

Canadian Pacific Kansas City Launches Daily Intermodal Service Between Mexico and the Midwest 

This new intermodal service, called the Mexico Midwest Express (MMX) Series, will be “the first truck-competitive, single-line rail service option between the Midwest and Mexico,” CPKC says.  

The MMX will provide the fastest transit times in the rail industry, as the only dedicated intermodal trains that will operate daily throughout the U.S. Midwest and Mexico.  

This MMX Series made its debut last Thursday, on May 11th 

These trains offer third day service to and from Laredo, fourth day service to and from Monterrey, and a 4.5 day service to and from San Luis Potosi.

Georgia Ports Authority’s Inland Rail Hub Plan Forges Ahead

The GPA is planning to expand their network to increase rail capacity and connectivity between the port and major manufacturing sites around the state. 

They recent received approval from the National Environmental Policy Act, for their Northeast Georgia Inland Port.  

Additionally, the Maritime Administration has awarded the GPA with a grant

of up to $46.8 million (the exact dollar amount of the grant is still being finalized), to build a new inland container port along the I-85/I-985 corridor.   

The inland rail hub is expected to start with volumes of 60,000 containers per year. They also mention that cargo moving to the region by rail will help reduce truck use from seven hours to less than 30 minutes. 

Weekly Rail Traffic for the Week Ending May 6th, 2023 

  • Total U.S. weekly rail traffic for this week was 471,859 carloads and intermodal units – down 6.6 percent compared to the same time last year, per the Association of American Railroads
  • U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 240,141 containers and trailers – down 12.1 percent compared to last year.  
  • For the first 18 weeks of this year, total North American rail volume was 11,601,657 carloads and intermodal units – down 4 percent from the same time last year. 

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

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