Commerce Express Weekly Road Map:

May 30th, 2023

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

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Commerce Express Blog

Nearshoring in Mexico Will Revolutionize Western Trade

For years, the United States and surrounding countries have relied heavily upon Asia – specifically China – for outsourcing manufacturing and production operations. China has positioned themselves as a leader in manufacturing for decades and has remained one of the best options globally for such services due to their speed of output, low costs, and low barrier to entry for U.S. based businesses to outsource.

Read More Here

Commercial trucks parked at a truck stop in Nevada with mountain covered in snow seen in the background.

Trucking Update

CVSA’s Brake Safety Day 2023 Results

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has released the results on their surprise Brake Safety Day which took place on April 19th this year.  

A total of 6,829 commercial motor vehicles were inspected during this day, with 773 vehicle out of service orders as a result.  

The top three out of service brake violations were: 

    1. 20% Brake Violations = 479 
    2. Other Brake Violations = 368 
    3. Steering Brake Violations = 81 

Coming up August 20th – 26th, 2023 is the CVSA Annual Brake Safety Week, so keep an eye out for that happening sooner than later.  

Bathroom Access for Truckers Law Passes in Washington

Truckers in Washington will now be able to use an existing bathroom facility located either on the premises of or operated by shipper or consignee if the restroom is intended to be used by their employees or customers – starting July 23rd.

They are also able to file complaints – that could result in fines for violators.  

The Washington state Department of Health may issue a warning letter to a shipper/receiver for a first violation and reserves the right to impose subsequent violations for a Class 2 civil infraction with a $250 fine.  

Port Laredo Remains Number One Gateway in the Nation for International Trade

For the second straight month, Port Laredo in Texas continued to remain the number one gateway in the nation for international trade.  

Additionally, exports from Laredo in the rest of the world increased 9 percent year-over-year to nearly 11 billion dollars and imports increased 14 percent year-over-year to 17.7 billion dollars.  

The top exports from the U.S. through Laredo were auto parts, gas, and diesel engines.  

Mexico was also the U.S.’ top trading partner for the fourth straight month in March, with Canada coming in second, and China ranking third.

Did You Know: Ohio is Set to Renovate 17 Rest Areas

In a four year renovation to rebuild 33 rest areas at 17 locations and will add more truck parking in those areas when possible, after an evaluation.  

The renovations are planned for the western side of the state in Portage County on I-76, in Washington County on I-77 and in Meigs County on U.S. Route 33.

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Rail Update

STB Chair Says Class I Railroads Head Count Levels are ‘Subpar’

Surface Transportation Board Chair, Marty Oberman, is not satisfied with Class I Railroads and says they must increase their head count levels because doing so not only strengthen rail service but benefit the overall U.S. economy.  

During a trade conference with rail shippers and employees, Oberman cited a key employment fact regarding this… between the four U.S. Class I railroads, head count levels are around 107,000 – a 25 percent drop from the years leading up to the pandemic.  

CSX and Norfolk Southern both have increased their active T&E workforce by 9 and 9.5 percent respectively. And according to Freightwaves, BNSF and Union Pacific’s active T&E workforce grew minimally, at 2 and 1 percent respectively. 

The NTSB Will Hold Investigative Hearing On East Palestine Derailment in June

The National Transportation Safety Board will have an investigative hearing on the February East Palestine Derailment – which the hearing will also take place at – on June 22nd through the 23rd 

The hearing will focus on:

    • hazard communications and emergency responder preparedness for the beginning stages of the emergency response  
    • the circumstances that led to the decision to vent and burn five rail tank cars carrying vinyl chloride  
    • freight car bearing failure modes and wayside detection systems  
    • tank car derailment damage, crashworthiness, and hazardous materials package information  

The public is allowed to attend but only to observe the hearing, not participate.

Weekly Rail Traffic for the Week Ending May 20th, 2023

  • For the week ending on May 20th, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 470,694 carloads and intermodal units – down 5.2 percent compared to the same time last year, per the Association of American Railroads.
  • U.S. weekly intermodal volume was down 9.3 percent compared to the same timeframe.  
  • Motor vehicles and parts, metallic ores and metals, and non-metallic minerals all posted increases, while grain, coal, and chemicals all posted decreases in that period.  
  • North American rail volume for the first 20 weeks of this year was down 4.1 percent (at 12,894,181) carloads and intermodal units, compared to the same time last year.  
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