Domestic Market Updates:
- Talks last Thursday between negotiating parties UAW (autoworker union) and Mack Trucks (heavy-duty manufacturer) appear to have taken a step backward after both parties publicly states outstanding differences afterwards.
- Last Thursday, digital brokerage giant Convoy Inc. announced it will be “closing down its core business operations“.
- California Trucking Association filed a lawsuit against the California Air Resources Board (CARB), asking the federal court to block implementation of the Advanced Clean Fleets rule.
- Today’s (October 24) national average price of diesel is $4.51 a gallon, a small bump up from last week’s average ($4.46). A year ago, the national average was a glaring $5.33 per gallon.
- Union Pacific has launched a new Mexico-Southeast intermodal service, connecting multiple railroads on a brand new rail route.
- Norfolk Southern is increasing their services out to the USWC
- The railway will be accepting ocean containers in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; and Louisville, Kentucky (when terminals are open), to then be transported to the USWC.
- The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a BNSF coal train that derailed over the weekend on a bridge that crossed I-25 in Colorado.
- This caused coal and coal cars to spill onto the interstate.
- UPDATE: I-25 in Colorado reopened last Thursday.
- The Surface Transportation Board extends the comment period for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding reciprocal switching.
- The comment period deadline is now November 7th, 2023.
- Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered an end to state-run truck safety inspections at the Mexican border.
- Gov. Abbott faced mounting pressure from business owners and trade officials alike. The inspections have contributed to severe traffic congestion and delays at ports of entry over the past several weeks.
- Canada is investing $150 million Canadian dollars ($110 million USD) for a new container terminal in Montreal.
- The terminal will have a 2,215-foot dock, rail tracks that will connect to CN railway, a container yard, an access road, and operations and administrative buildings.
- Mexico is set to receive $5 billion in investments from China-based Lingong Machinery Ground, who are set to build a manufacturing facility and industrial park in Nuevo Leon.
Trucker Out-Of-Service Orders Set to See an ‘All-Time High’ This Year
New out-of-service orders issued to carriers are expected to increase to an ‘all-time high’, according to government data.
These are defined by the FMCSA, a federal agency under the U.S. DOT, as a “motor carrier not domiciled in Mexico that applies for a U.S. Department of Transportation identification number in order to initiate operations in interstate commerce.”
Back in 2012, the FMCSA started to track new-entrant OOS orders. As of the fiscal year June 2023, new entrant OOS orders recorded a record high of 25,955.
Results of U.S. Brake Safety Week 2023
Brake Safety Week this year took place on August 20th and lasted until August 26th.
Here’s some tidbits of the results (per the CVSA website):
- A total of 18,875 commercial motor vehicles were inspected throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
- Of that total… 295 (12.4%) had steering axle brake violations, 1,127 (47.5%) had stand-alone brake violations, and 1,394 (58.7%) failed the 20% defective brakes criterion.
Additionally, the main focus for this year’s Brake Safety Week was brake lining/pad violations. Of those inspected, a total of 379 power (tractor) units and 261 towed (trailer) units had lining/pad violations.
Of note – brake lining/pad violations, aren’t technically out-of-service violations. However, if they are not addressed, more serious problems can occur and turn into out-of-service violations.
FMCSA Will Be ‘Stricter’ on Exempted Regulations During Emergencies
Recently the FMCSA announced a new rule that will still allow relief from hours-of-service (HOS) regulations but, eliminates automatic exemptions for other rules including medical certification of drivers, vehicle inspection requirements, parts and accessories, and transportation of hazardous materials.
The final rule outlines plans to “narrow the scope” of exemption from safety regulations that truckers have to operate under emergency circumstances.
The rule goes into effect 60 days after published in the Federal Register.
Technology discussions were in the air at the American Trucking Associations’ 2023 Management Conference & Exhibition, held earlier this week in Austin, Texas.
The annual meetup assembles trucking’s top thought-gurus to discuss pertinent matters impacting the industry and what sort of solutions can be imagined for it going forward. No other industry event attracts as many trucking executives and decision-makers as the one hosted in Austin this week.
CPKC Has Naming Rights to New Women’s Soccer Team Stadium
Canadian Pacific Kansas City railway announced that the new stadium for the women’s Kansas City Current soccer team will be named, CPKC Stadium!
This is a 10-year naming rights agreement, in addition to that, an outdoor gathering space near the entrance to the stadium will be called CPKC Plaza.
“We are incredibly proud to sponsor the Kansas City Current and support this history-making project here in the city that is at the heart of our North American rail network,” Keith Creel, CPKC President and CEO had to say on the deal.
CSX Railway Reaches Paid Sick Leave Agreement with BRS
On October 19th, CSX railway announced they reached an agreement on paid sick leave with the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen.
“This agreement reflects our ongoing commitment to improving the employee experience, ensuring our team members have the support they need,” CSX President and CEO Joe Hinrichs said on the agreement.
This comes after CSX reached agreements earlier this year with a variety of other unions.
Total Weekly Rail Traffic for the Week Ending October 14th, 2023
- Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 492,781 carloads and intermodal units – up slightly at 0.5 percent compared to the same time last year, per AAR data.
- U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 267,376 containers and trailers – up 2.8 percent compared to that same time frame.
- Petroleum and petroleum products, motor vehicles and parts, and miscellaneous carloads all posted increases. While coal, grain, and metallic ores and metals all posted decreases compared to the same time last year.
- For the first 41 weeks of this year, North American rail volume was 26,749,075 carloads and intermodal units – down 3.6 percent.
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