Domestic Market Updates:
- Workers represented by UAW have REJECTED the tentative contract with Mack Trucks and thus went on strike in three states this past Monday.
- Approximately 4,000 UAW members work at Mack Trucks in the three states impacted by these strikes.
- On October 6th, Estes Express Lines says a large amount of their core IT infrastructure are “once again operational,” after dealing with a cyberattack earlier last week.
- Georgia governor has extended Georgia’s suspension of taxes on motor fuels until at least November 11th.
- The SACP 3.0 Chassis Pool is now open
- Will cover ports in Jacksonville, Savannah, Wilmington, Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, and Tampa. Check out our blog for more on this topic.
- Union Pacific has launched a new Mexico-Southeast intermodal service, connecting multiple railroads on a brand new rail route.
- A railcar shortage out on the USWC has caused some rail container dwells to increase out at the LA/LB ports and the Pacific Northwest.
- So far this has not caused any disruption, and many expect the problem to be resolved soon.
- STB extends the comment period for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding reciprocal switching.
- The comment period deadline is now November 7th, 2023.
- Rail transit times are continuing to preform above five-year averages, railroads continue to look for more ways to get containers on their networks.
Updates on Mississippi River Water Levels, Barge Rates
Water levels on the Mississippi aren’t rising, though barge rates have stabilized in the past week so far.
In a report released by the Department of Agriculture (USDA), barge rates were seen to have slipped a bit to 549 from 556. An important note, as reported by Freightwaves, is that 549 is still up from where it was in early September (average was 466).
Water levels on October 8th, in St. Louis showed them to be at minus 1.5 feet, a foot and a half less than a baseline. On October. 4th, those levels were minus 0.6 feet.
Water levels on October 8th, in Memphis, were minus 10.2 feet – which was down slightly compared to a few days prior, but still better than September 28th, where the levels were minus 10.6 feet.
California Receive ‘Quick Release’ Emergency Funds to Fix Roads Damaged by Tropical Storm Hilary
Last Thursday, the U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration announced $15.3 million in “quick release” emergency funds to be used in 12 counties in California.
These funds will go towards the repairs that are needed on various roads, trails, parking areas, and other infrastructure that was damaged by Tropical Storm Hilary.
“Today’s announcement represents a down payment on our commitment to ensuring all repairs are completed,” FHWA Administrator Shailen Bhatt stated.
FHWA’s Emergency Relief program provides funding to states, territories, Tribes, and Federal Land Management Agencies for highways and bridges that are impacted by natural disasters or events.
Results From Operation Safe Driver Week
Operation Safe Driver Week, which took place from July 10th-16th, is a week long traffic enforcement and safe driving awareness educational initiative.
A total of 4,592 warnings and 2,634 tickets/citations were handed to commercial motor vehicle drivers – per data from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.
Speeding was a main focus for this year’s safety initiative. Commercial motor vehicle drivers who were speeding received 1,575 warnings and 715 tickets/citations.
Additionally in the top five warnings and citations/tickets that were issued to CMV drivers was other state/local driver violations, failure to obey traffic control device, failure to wear a seat belt, texting/using a handheld device, and improper lane change.
Cross-border trade between the U.S. and Mexico has been hit with delays in recent weeks amid a series of migrant crossings and additional commercial truck inspections by the state of Texas. These factors have led to congestion at various port-of-entries along the Southern border.
How Rail Volumes Fared in September, Tackling Harvest Season
Last month U.S. intermodal volume saw its best month of this year, as it ‘found support’ in peak season. Overall volumes increases 1.5 percent to 1.93 carloads and intermodal units.
Grain volumes dipped 9 percent in September, per AAR data. However, during the fall and winter, grain volumes are predicted to improve as its peak times for producers harvesting their crops.
We did a deep dive regarding September rail volumes, check out those details here.
Total Weekly Rail Traffic for the Week Ending September 30th, 2023
- Overall weekly rail traffic was 500,154 carloads and intermodal units – an increase of 2.8 percent compared to this time last year.
- U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 264,166 containers and trailers – up 2 percent compared to last year, per AAR data.
- Metallic ores and metals, chemicals, and motor vehicles and parts all say increases. While only one commodity group, grain, posted a decrease compared to this time last year.
- North American rail volume for the first 39 weeks of the year was 25,361,005 carloads and intermodal units – which is down nearly 4 percent (3.8) from last year.
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