Commerce Express Weekly Road Map:

June 13th, 2023

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

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Commerce Express Blog

19 States Petition Against EPA Waiver for California’s ACT Rule

19 states are not at all thrilled with California’s exclusive privilege of setting its own emissions and pollution standards.  

Under federal law (dating back to the 1960s), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can grant waivers to California, and California only, to pursue its own environmental standards.  

Read More Here

Horizontal shot of heavy traffic on the interstate highway.

Trucking Update

Legislation has Been Reintroduced in the House for more Bathroom Access for Truckers

After the bill was originally offered last December and went nowhere, Congressman Nehls and Congresswoman Houlahan, reintroduced the Trucker Bathroom Access Act.

This would make sure truckers would have access to bathrooms when they are making deliveries or picking up cargo all throughout the U.S. 

This would NOT require businesses to construct new restrooms, this would just mandate those businesses to allow truckers to have the same access if the business has a bathroom available to their customers or employees. 

Section of I-95 in Philadelphia Collapsed Over the Weekend

Early on Sunday, June 11th, a section of Interstate 95 collapsed due to a tanker truck losing control on an off-ramp and flipping the tanker truck on its side. The truck was carrying flammable cargo, which caught on fire. This led to an indefinite closure of the heavily traveled section of I-95.  

The collapse is reported to be in a neighborhood of northeast Philadelphia, but the closure of the road lasts seven miles, from Exit 25 at Academy Road to Exit 32, Linden Avenue.  

Officials have asked drivers to avoid the area in the northeast corner of the city and warned of long lasting delays (up to months) and street closures.  

Transportation Security Buttigieg said he was in contact with city and state officials, and the Federal Highway Administration has asked surrounding states to alter drivers.  

They say the closure will have ‘significant impacts’ on the city and region until reconstruction and recovery is finished. 

Navistar Files Two New Recalls for Brake Fluid Leaks Linked to Fires

Navistar recently announced that nearly 72,000 trucks and buses built for General Motors have been asked to park outside and away from any structures, due to this latest recall.  

GM has issued a “do not drive” notice to owners because a fire can start even when the engine is turned off.  

These recalls are primarily IC buses and medium-duty International-branded MV trucks.  

Per Freightwaves, dealers will replace the brake pressure switch assembly and any wire harness that is found with brake fluid at the brake pressure switch connector or the associated fuse.  

Did You Know: Some Owner-Operators in LA Protest Over AB5

Last Thursday, around 100 owner-operators took to downtown LA to protest after receiving news in May that LA was ending their contracts for its ‘As-Needed Haul Truck Program’ – citing the AB5 law.  

It was a one day protest but the group plans to meet again to decide their next steps. 

Palm Springs, California, USA - January 23, 2021: Union Pacific Freight train passing Palm Springs Amtrak Station (PSN).
Rail Update

NS Provides All of Their Workers with Sick Time

On June 5th, Norfolk Southern became the first major North American freight railroad with agreements to provide paid sick time to all of their workers.  

The majority of the major freight railroads (including CSX, UP, BNSF, CN, CPKC) are still in negotiations with several of their unions.  

This sick time deal, per Transport Topics, provides four days of paid sick time and allows workers to have the option to convert three days of personal leave time into sick days.  

Furthermore, conductors and engineers who experience the most unpredictable schedules have been receiving five days of paid sick leave with the option to convert two leave days into sick time.  

The railroads say any unused sick time at the end of each year will be paid back to their workers. 

Canadian National Adjusting Rail Operations When Needed Amid Wildfires

Fire season has started, amid the warm and dry weather has been rampant in Canada lately, with wildfires roaring throughout parts of eastern and western Canada.  

Poor air quality in parts of Canada and in the U.S. have been a result of the wildfires as well.  

Canadian National railway has been keeping tabs on the wildfires that have been taking place and plans to adjust rail operations when needed.  

“We are making real-time adjustments to operations based on the latest information available on both the winds and wildfires in the different areas. We are in contact with our customers regarding any impacts to their shipments.” CN said in a statement.

Latest update: CN has resumed operations on the mainline between Edmonton and Jasper. Continue to be aware of potential changing conditions as things still need to stabilize.  

Weekly Rail Traffic for the Week Ending June 3rd, 2023

  • Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 439,601 carloads – down 5.7 percent in comparison to the last time last year, per data.
  • U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 220,312 containers and trailers – down 11.1 percent compared to last year. 
  • Motor vehicles and parts, non-metallic minerals, and miscellaneous carloads all posted increases. While grain, coal, and chemicals all posted decreases from the same week last year. 
  • Total North American rail volume for the first 22 weeks of this years was at 14,186,594 carloads and intermodal units – down 4.1 percent compared to last year. 
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