Commerce Express Weekly Road Map:

June 6th, 2023

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

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Commerce Express Blog

This Year’s Hurricane Forecast Is In-01

Last week, we uncovered trucking’s peril with tornado alley. After such a read, what could possibly be more extreme than a tornado? Surely, nothing can match the viciousness from the 300 mile per hour winds of these freight train-sounding death vortexes, right?

Read More Here

American style truck on freeway pulling load. Transportation theme. Road cars theme.

Trucking Update

St. Paul Bans Parking for Overweight and Commercial Vehicles When Not Active

When overweight and commercial vehicles are not in active use, they will not be able to park in the city of St. Paul, per a 7-0 vote by the St. Paul City Council.  

This new restriction does not go into effect until January 1st, 2024.  

Per Trucker News, under the new St. Paul law, no vehicle, with or without load, weighing more than 26,000 pounds “shall be permitted to stop, stand or park on any street or alley unless such vehicle is actually and expeditiously engaged in the loading or unloading of passengers or materials from the vehicle, or is actually engaged in the providing of services at that location… unless otherwise provided by law.”  

Additionally, any commercial vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds, is unable to be parked in a street or alley in, or abutting, a residential neighborhood, including a mixed or “traditional neighborhood” zoning district.  

New Chassis Arrives in Savannah

Last week, 200 new chassis arrived in Savannah, which will help power a new equipment pool that will cover three seaports and multiple inland rail hubs throughout the U.S. Southeast.  

The South Atlantic Chassis Pool 3.0 will have 50,000 units covering ports in Jacksonville, Savannah, and Wilmington, NC, as well as inland rail hubs in Alabama, Georgia, and North and South Carolina when it officially launches this October.  

Mike Wilson, CEO of CCM, says the old chassis fleet was not as reliable, with breakdowns occurring which would cause drivers to lose production.  

Pricing is yet to be set for the use of SACP 3.0 chassis, the JOC reports, but Wilson says high-volume beneficial cargo owners and motor carriers will pay less.

Freight Volumes in Q1 See Slight Increase

Putting a stop to the streak of quarter-over-quarter decline (which started in 2022), freight volumes posted a 0.5 percent increase in Q1 of this year.

“While the freight economy may not grow significantly until 2024, the total economy shows resilience,” Transportation Intermediaries Association’s Q1 Market Report details.

The truckload industry experienced its first quarter-over-quarter decrease in shipments in a year. According to AJOT,  less-than-truckload recorded a smaller quarter-over-quarter loss in shipment volumes than in the fourth quarter of 2022. 

Diesel Update

In the latest data from the Energy Information Administration (released on June 5th), showed diesel prices drop a nationwide average of 5.8 cents, to $3.797 per gallon.

In California, the average price of diesel per gallon went from nearly $5 ($4.990 to be exact) in the month of May, to an average of $4.842 in the month of June.

Additionally, diesel prices have continued to drop for the past seven weeks.

Did You Know: Navistar Recalls Trucks and Buses for Antilock Brake System Issue

Over 92,000 trucks and buses are being recalled by Navistar due to an antilock braking indicator not illuminating during emergency stopping events.  

This is rather significant as it impacts 100 percent of the 2021-2024 vehicles. 

If the lamp does not continue to stay illuminated during a braking event that requires ABS, the person operating the vehicle may not know and can increase the risk of a crash.  

Reach out to us if this impacts you! 

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

Class I Railroad, NS, Lessens Free Time and Demurrage Restrictions

Norfolk Southern will get rid of many cargo flow speed measures that took place over the last couple of years, as they say terminals are more efficient now.  

In a customer advisory early last week, NS said they will restore two days of free time for shippers to pick up import containers at less busy inland hubs such as Baltimore, Charlotte, Alabama, and terminals in Alabama and Pennsylvania.  

NS will also reduce rail storage fees when shippers don’t collect their containers during the allowable free time throughout all their intermodal terminals.  

These changes are effective July 10th 

UP Adds More Intermodal Service at Port Houston

This new offering will be geared for customers seeking to reach five metropolitan markets in the western U.S.  

Starting last Thursday, carriers and BCO’s will be able to load intermodal containers directly onto flat cars at the Barbours Cut Container Terminal at Port Houston, instead of having to go as far as 30 miles inland to load those containers using a dray carriers, Union Pacific stated.

Expanded service includes direct access to Denver, Salt Lake City, El Paso, and Los Angeles and Oakland.

FRA Proposes Rules on Certifications for Train Dispatchers and Signal Employees

In an effort to make the certification process more formalized, the Federal Railroad Administration has put together a proposed set of rules. 

Each potential rule would call for railroads to develop programs to certify these individuals (train dispatchers and signal employees).  As noted by Freightwaves, the programs would verify that workers have the knowledge, skills and abilities to perform job functions safely and comply with federal regulations.  

Both of these proposed rules also call for the railroads to develop a formal process to revoke certification for workers violating job requirements.  

If the FRA goes forward with these rules, Class I railroads and Amtrak would need to comply within eight months after the final rules effective dates. Class II and Class III railroads would have to comply within 16 months.  

The FRA seeks comments from the public on these rules until July 31st 

Weekly Rail Traffic for the Week Ending May 27th, 2023

  • Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 480,998 carloads and intermodal units – down 4.8 percent compared to the same time last year, per AAR.
  • While U.S. weekly intermodal volume was down 11.6 percent compared to last year.  
  • Metallic ores and metals, non-metallic minerals, and motor vehicles and parts all posted increases from the same time last year. While miscellaneous carloads, grain, and coal all posted decreases.  
  • Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 21 weeks of the year decreased by 5.5. percent, totaling 9,624,926 carloads and intermodal units.  
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