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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – May 17, 2011

Japan Delays Decision on Trans-Pacific Pact

Japan will delay any decisions on whether to join negotiations toward a US-led trans-Pacific free trade agreement under new economic policy guidelines the government adopted Tuesday. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a regional free trade initiative currently being negotiated among the US, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

T4 teams up with fiscally conservative groups to promote innovative transportation solutions

Transportation for America partnered with Taxpayers for Common Sense and the Reason Foundation on a report detailing innovative and cost-effective transportation solutions with the potential to command broad support in a divided Congress.

TransCore’s North American Freight Index Dips in April Due to Extreme Weather

The freight index showed a 14 percent decline in spot market truckload freight volume for the month of April as compared to March. The index did show a 12 percent increase compared to April 2010.

Obama Pushes Transport Agenda

President Obama gave a strong push to a transportation infrastructure program that builds on the 2009 stimulus program to repair roads, re-engineer the rail system and “maintain a world-class logistics network.”

Diesel, Oil Prices Drop

Diesel prices dropped for the second week in a row, down 4.3 cents nationally to $4.061 per gallon, as crude oil prices fell to a two-month low on Monday.

Port Tracker report calls for short-term volumes flattening before return to annual growth

The most recent edition of the Port Tracker report by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates is calling for import cargo volume at major US-based container ports to closely resemble last year, with a leveling off in May volumes.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – May 16, 2011

Don’t Hold Your Breath for a White House Transportation Bill

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told reporters last Thursday that the administration sent its draft bill to Capitol Hill two weeks ago. Both the House and Senate have recently stepped back from earlier talk of finalizing a bill by Memorial Day. They are now looking at sometime in June as a completion date.

Truck Market Tightens for Shippers, Index Shows

Market conditions are worsening for US shippers as truck capacity tightens and fuel prices and surcharges rise. These statistics are according to the FTR Shippers’ Condition Index that dropped 48 percent.

Japan Report Claims Unfair Trade Practices

A new Japanese government report, titled the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry report, is charging the country suffers from unfair practices by its trading partners, including 38 policies and measures taken by the US.

House Prepares ‘Backup’ FAA Extension Bill

House transportation committee members filed a precautionary Federal Aviation Administration extension bill that would tide the agency over if congressional conferees fail to produce a new four-year authorization before the end of May.

April retail sales show modest growth, according to Commerce and NRF data

Data published this week by the US Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF) shows that retail sales are continuing a modest growth pattern. According the Commerce data, April retail sales showed a 7.6 percent increase compared to April 2010. According to the NRF, April retail sales were up 4 percent over April 2010.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – May 13, 2011

transportation news | obama administration | transportation infrastructureObama administration draft transportation bill embraces performance measures, boosts options
The Transportation Opportunities Act, a draft transportation bill put together by the Obama administration, contains many favored reforms in the 2012 budget blueprint in February. It boosts USDOT resources for the core highway program while making significant investments in transit.

ELDs and EOBRs – What’s the Difference?
With the large amount of new products hitting the market in the electronic logging and on-board recorder industry, it is getting more and more difficult to keep up-to-date on the new acronyms. Dave Kraft helps to describe what each acronym means including EOBR, ELD, EDL and AOBRD.

Senators Propose $5 Billion DOT Infrastructure Fund
Leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee are proposing a $5 billion national infrastructure fund that would encourage private investment in transportation infrastructure though loans, loan guarantees and grants.

Senators Propose Extending TIGER Grant Program
A bipartisan group of senator is proposing legislation to extend the Department of Transportation’s TIGER grant program through fiscal 2018, but stops short of authorizing a specific amount for grants. The extended TIGER program would retain most of the previous features and add loan guarantees to the previous grant-only rounds.

Railroads Bulk Loads Fall, Intermodal Grows
Carload traffic on North America’s largest railroads slipped 1 percent in the first week of May, extending a slide the rails have seen for the past month even as intermodal volume maintains strong growth this spring.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – May 11, 2011

Senators Propose $5 Billion DOT Infrastructure Fund

Leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee are proposing a $5 billion national infrastructure fund that would encourage private investment in transportation infrastructure through loans, loan guarantees and grants. This proposal is called the American Infrastructure Investment Fund Act of 2011.

FMCSA Enhances Public Access With Searchable Database

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has launched a new web page that improves free public access to orders and decisions on FMCSA civil penalty and safety rating cases.

Parties Take Shots at Each Other, Not High Prices, this Week

House Republicans are introducing a bill that will attempt to force the Obama administration to consider new drilling permits in the Gulf and automatically approve the permits if they don’t decide within 60 days. The Senate Democrats are introducing the “Close Big Oil Tax Loophioles Act” that will repeal a tax break for big oil companies.

DOT Freight Index Hits 33-month High

The amount of freight carried by for-hire carriers rose 1.9 percent in March from February to reach the highest level since July 2008. The Department of Transportation’s Freight Transportation Services Index measures month-to-month changes in freight shipping miles.

Supply Chains at Risk – A Shippers Call to Arms

Mike Regan wrote this blog to bring some issues to the forefront and call on shippers to be aware of the issues arising in the industry. This includes Hours of Service regulations and new safety guidelines that will affect transit time and shipping costs.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – May 10, 2011

Financing remains major challenge to any future surface transportation legislation

This blog by Jeff Berman of Logistics Management discusses the financial issues associated with any future legislation for surface transportation.  He goes into detail on the current proposals by the White House and the other possible bills circulating.

Diesel Prices Down, Oil Recovering From Significant Fall

National on-highway diesel prices fell by 2 cents from last week to $4.104, according to the Energy Information Administration.

John Boehner: Cut ‘trillions’ as debt limit nears

Speaker John Boehner spoke to the Economic Club of New York to unveil a staunchly conservative plan to offset a debt ceiling hike with spending cuts of a greater amount.

Opinion: Infrastructure – A Pivotal Moment

This is an opinion piece by Transportation for America Director, James Corless, discussing the needs of a transportation bill and investment in our nation’s transportation infrastructure. The key things he says need addressed are crippling commutes, rising costs, wasteful spending, lack of options and the need for economic development in urban, suburban and rural communities alike.

Florida’s high-speed rail loss is the Northeast’s gain

Secretary Ray LaHood and the US Department of Transportation announced the recipients of the $2 billion in high-speed rail fund that Florida Governor Rick Scott rejected. A total of 22 projects across the US have been selected to receive funding.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – May 9, 2011

Flooding Slows Midwest Road, Rail Traffic

Widespread flooding across the US inland river system is slowing some freight and passenger transportation systems, both over the road and rail. Some areas affected were in Arkansas where parts of I-40 were closed and the Amtrak route between Illinois and Memphis was suspended.

New draft of surface transportation legislation has a sharp focus on freight

A legislative draft, the “Transportation Opportunities Act,” that has been circulating around Washington D.C. is comprised of various items that would have a direct impact on domestic supply chain and freight operations. See some of the highlights in this article.

White House disowns plan to tax car mileage

The White House on Thursday walked back a proposal to tax people based on how many miles they drive. The “Transportation Opportunities Act” was not an administration proposal according to a White House spokesman and is considered an early working draft that was never formally circulated.

AAR reports mixed volume results for week ending April 30

According to data released by the Association of American Railroads, rail traffic was mixed across different types. Carload volume was flat on an annual basis and down slightly from the previous week. Intermodal volume was up 7.8 percent over the previous year and was a slight increase over the previous week.

FMCSA Reopens HOS Docket; Comments Sought on Four New Fatigue Studies

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reopened the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking comment period to allow for review of the newly presented research of four new fatigue studies that have surfaced.

U.S. to Miss Court Deadline on Truck Regulation, DOT Says

The US Transportation Department has said that it will miss a court deadline for HOS regulations so that they can continue to gather the required information to develop a proper proposal.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – May 6, 2011

Obama Draft Plan Eyes VMT, Interstate Tolling

The Obama administration has been floating draft language for surface transportation legislation that could lead to a tax on vehicle miles traveled, allow states to impose tolls on some existing interstate highways and set up an Office of Freight Policy inside the Department of Transportation.

Americans conflicted about WikiLeaks

Americans are significantly more concerned about nearly all aspects of their supply chain security compared to six months ago. Research conducted by the Unisys Corporation shows that Americans fear there may be too much transparency in their business dealings.

Surface Transport Bill Drafting in Progress, Mica Says

Congressional staff on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is making progress drafting legislative language of what could become the panel’s six-year surface transportation bill, according to Chairman John Mica.

Survey says Driver Shortage Will Have Widespread Impact on Fleet Capacity

More than seven in ten fleets surveyed for the Q2 2011 Fleet Sentiment Report indicate that the shortage of drivers is either impacting their fleet now or may in the future.

TMS market is on the mend following recession, says ARC Advisory Group

The market for Transportation Management Systems (TMS) appears to be heating up again, according to data released by ARC Advisory Group.

U.S. mayors say no to new revenue for transportation without reform

A supermajority of America’s mayors, surveyed by the US Conference of Mayors, are clamoring for a reorientation in our nation’s transportation policy toward fixing what we have an investing in new options.

DOT Unveils New Motor Coach Safety Initiative, New CDL Testing Procedures

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced new measures that passengers traveling by bus are as safe as possible, including more rigorous commercial driver’s license testing standards and new rules to strengthen passenger carrier and driver compliance with federal safety regulations.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – May 5, 2011

ray lahood | free trade agreement | transportation secretaryRay LaHood: A driving force in White House
Ray LaHood is not the standard, low profile head of the Department of Transportation that many would expect to find in a presidential Cabinet. He has become a highly visible point man for many crises and is praised for his accessibility, plain-spoken demeanor and crusades to end distracted driving and protect airline passengers from delays. Kudos to you Mr. LaHood!

US Ready to Move on FTAs with Colombia, Panama, South Korea
The Obama administration announced on Wednesday that they are ready to work with Congress to approve the free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama that have been stalled by concerns over labor issues.

President Obama’s Transportation Bill Prioritizes Livability, High-Speed Rail
A draft of the president’s full transportation bill has started floating around different circles and includes more information than the partial bill that started making rounds last week. There is still a portion of the bill that funds high-speed rail and the bill explains the new Livability Program, which helps to increase resources towards pedestrians and bicyclists.

ATA Calls for Sensible Security Credentialing
The American Trucking Associations have called on Congress to eliminate duplicate background checks for commercial drivers due to the fact that they are costly and discourage well-qualified potential drivers from entering or remaining in the industry.

Security in the supply chain still a major U.S. concern, according to Unisys
According to new research conducted by Unisys Corporation, Americans are significantly more concerned about nearly all aspects of their security compared to six months ago.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – May 4, 2011

U.S. manufacturers find new promise in Mexico

Highlighting geographical proximity and improvements in transportation services, 63 percent of senior executives chose Mexico as the most attractive locale for re-sourcing manufacturing operations closer to the US market, compared to only 19 percent who would re-source to the US.

Transportation chief betting on federal infrastructure bill

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood spoke with confidence yesterday that the promise of jobs will help ensure passage of a measure this year that would pay for the nation’s aging infrastructure. He even thinks it will happen despite the divide in Congress over government spending and the federal debt.

NAFTA Trade Jumped 11.8 Percent in February

Surface transportation trade between the US, Canada and Mexico was 11.8 percent higher in February than the previous year, according to the Department of Transportation.

White House Releases Partial Highway Reauthorization Draft

The White House released a partial proposal for a six-year transportation reauthorization bill that will begin the process of testing a mileage-based funding system.

Factory Orders Climb Fifth Straight Month

The US Commerce Department reported that US factory orders rose for the fifth straight month in March, driven by a broad-based increase in orders and rising prices for food and oil.

Survey: More Larger Fleets Planning Larger Equipment Orders

Fewer freight carrier fleets say that they are planning to place equipment order in the coming quarter, but the average size of the order is the highest since 2008.

US Container Imports Drop 2.5 Percent in March

US containerized imports fell 2.5 percent in March, the first year-to-year decline in 16 months, as a weak housing market contributed to a drop in imports from Asia.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – May 3, 2011

Carriers, Ports Heighten Security

With the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death, carriers and ports are heightening security against a possible terrorist attack in retribution. The heightened security started right away, even though the Department of Homeland Security has not issued a specific warning to freight carriers.

Manufacturing strength continues in April, says ISM

While consumer spending is dragging somewhat due to increasing fuel prices, manufacturing growth shows no sign of stalling, based on the Institute of Supply Management’s (ISM) April Manufacturing Report on Business. The report showed a reading of 60.4 percent and anything above 50 represents economic growth.

FMCSA Survey Shows Increase in Safety Belt Use

New Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data show that 78 percent of commercial truck and bus drivers wore safety belts while operating behind the wheel in 2010, compared to 74 percent in 2009.

Diesel Rises 2.6 Cents to $4.124 per Gallon

Retail diesel fuel prices resumed the upward trend after a one-week drop in average price. The price at the pump rose 2.6 cents to $4.124 per gallon, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Committee Urges FMCSA to Seek Jurisdiction Over Shippers

The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee recommended the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration seek jurisdiction over shippers, receivers and broker who ‘unduly detain’ drivers.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – May 2, 2011

Deadly Storms Leave Transport Struggling

Alabama and the surrounding states are doing their best to clean up the debris and damage caused by the huge storms that passed through the areas. The debris and damage has caused transportation processes to slow down because of the closings of roads and airports in the area.

President Obama Expected to Release Proposed Transportation Bill

The news agency BNA reported on Friday that President Obama is likely to release the proposed draft of a transportation bill within the next few weeks. There shouldn’t be many surprises in the bill for those that have followed the issue since the Obama administration’s announcement of priorities in February.

Washington’s Failures Threaten Your Supply Chain

Mike Regan discusses the problems that are arising from the regulations and inactions by the government and those in Washington. Some of these issues include Hours of Service proposals and oil/gas prices, and he also lets you know what you can do.

Customs to Test Automated Manifests

US Customs and Border Protection will begin pilot-testing automated ocean and rail manifest systems designed for the Automated Commercial Environment. The ACE ocean and rail manifest systems will allow Customs to single out one container from a group for inspection and allow the others to continue in the shipping process.

An economic holding pattern

Jeff Berman weighs in on the current economic situation, which he says is in a holding pattern. He has optimism that the market place will have positive continued growth, no matter how slow it may be.

Life in the slow lane

The Economist joins in the concern for transportation infrastructure and innovation by analyzing the current situation in the US. The article has information about US highways, high-speed rail, public spending, gas prices and what needs to be done.

Commercial Trailer Net Orders, Shipments Post Double Digit Growth

According to ACT Research, net orders and shipment of commercial trailers continued the increased performance in March. Net orders rose 21 percent from February levels and also rose 109 percent compared to the same quarter last year.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Apr. 29, 2011

tornado damage | weather delays in trucking | transportationTornado Outbreak Destroys Truckstop, Damages Shippers Throughout the South
With the tornados and horrible weather ravaging the South, damage has been seen across the region. The debris and damage to roads and truckstops has been affecting the shipping process of many freight carriers. Serious damage occurred in Glade Springs, Virginia, where a truckstop and close to 40 freight trucks were destroyed.

Air cargo forecast dips in first quarter
The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) quarterly survey points to a significant deterioration in sentiment on the outlook for industry profitability in 2011. The bulk of those who responded expect a decrease in profitability due to fuel cost increases.

High gas prices are fueling demand for broader transportation options
As gas prices continue to increase, the public and businesses are going to start looking for alternatives. The demand for mass transit is surging all across the country, as well as many communities encouraging residents to carpool, bike or walk on occasion. Bicycling is becoming a much more popular alternative to driving, with new riders benefiting from recent investment in bike facilities and programs.

ATA, CTA Call on Government to Abandon Proposed Tanker Wetline Regulation
The American Trucking Associations and the Canadian Trucking Alliance called on the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to abandon its proposed wetline regulations. These proposals require tank trailers containing flammable liquids to be fitted with bottom damage protection devices when the residue exceeds one liter.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Apr. 28, 2011

Dems seek to change conversation on gas prices

In a sign that the White House and Democrats know they need to move aggressively to change the conversation on gas prices, they have released a new set of talking points to outside allies and TV surrogates. See all the talking points in this article.

FMCSA Advisory Committee to Make Recommendations on Sleep Apnea

The next step in the federal effort to address sleep apnea in truck drivers will come this summer, when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will ask a panel of advisers for recommendations on how It should proceed.

Global Port Tracker report says volumes remain on a steady path

According to the most recent edition of the Global Port Tracker report from Hackett Associates and the Bremen Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics, European import and export volumes remain solid following a relatively promising report last month.

Shippers question value of slow steaming

In response to a request from the FMC for comments on the effect of slow steaming on US ocean carrier commerce, most shippers found little or no rate or service benefit. According to one ocean freight carrier, “So from a money-saving perspective, slow steaming’s advantages are negligible.”

Made in America, but expensive to ship

The National Industrial Transportation League is discussing the issues presented due to slow streaming. They mentioned the US exporters are seeing a reduction in ocean freight service frequency due to slow steaming as problematic. Exporters are finding it harder to compete against foreign companies that are not affected.

DOT Sends $100 Million to California for Trains

The Department of Transportation is sending California a $100 million grant to buy locomotives and passenger cars for two rail routes shared with freight railroads.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Apr. 27, 2011

Railroads Work Through Storm Impact

The severe storms that have affected freight transportation in the Midwest this spring have caused many major railroads to close tracks from Texas to Canada. Debris and power outages have caused delays in many rail freight company’s shipping schedules.

ATA Tonnage Index Rises 1.7 Percent in March

The American Trucking Associations’ advance For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.7 percent from February to March and 6.3 percent over the previous year. This comes after a decrease in February of 2.7 percent.

Boehner opens door to ending tax breaks for big oil companies

House Speaker John Boehner opened the door on Mon day to ending some of the tax breaks for large oil and gas producers that Democrats long sought to eliminate.

Poll: Gas prices costing Barack Obama in popularity

With gas prices continuing to increase, President Barack Obama’s approval ratings have done the opposite. Among Americans who say they are heavily burdened by high gas prices, only 39 percent approve of Obama’s job performance. Only 33 percent say he is doing a good job handling the economy.

Container Ships Set Record for Capacity Growth

Record deliveries of container ships in the next few months will likely add pressure on ocean freight rates for reduction in pricing. This will counter the recent rise in prices that has helped the ocean freight carriers to replenish funds after the recession.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Apr. 26, 2011

Carrier CEO’s Weigh in on Rising Rates

Following the NASSTRAC conference last week, Mike Regan discusses what came out of the sessions with transportation industry CEOs and financial analysts. What he noticed was that the magnitude of cost increases for the year may be much higher than originally thought. According to freight carrier executives, an increase of 20% over the next three years is possible.

Obama Introduces Oil Speculation Task Force

President Obama announced the creation of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force last week. This group is designed to root out illegal speculation oil markets and will be conducted by the Department of Justice to evaluate developments in commodities markets.

Under Pressure, AASHTO Withdraws Objection to Stronger Bike-Ped Rules

The Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials is withdrawing its opposition to an important federal policy change that puts cyclists and pedestrians on a more equal footing with motorists.

Rail shipment issues cited in WSJ report are a matter of network velocity

A report by the Wall Street Journal earlier this month noted how Detroit automakers were “struggling with rail shipping woes…stalling deliveries of finished vehicles.” The report went into detail about US railroads putting rail cars into storage during the recession and how they do not have enough capacity during times of demand surges.

Diesel Slips to $4.098 per Gallon

Retail diesel fuel prices in the US fell seven-tenths of a cent last week, to a US average of $4.098 per gallon. This is the second small decrease in the last four weeks, which may be a sign that prices are beginning to stabilize.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Apr. 25, 2011

LaHood: Air traffic controllers have ‘personal responsibility’

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood speaks out about the issues with air traffic controllers falling asleep while on duty and the high-speed rail debate that continues to pop up all over the nation. He likened the high-speed rail project to that of the Interstate highway system in the Eisenhower Administration and stated that a transportation bill is a jobs bill.

NTTC Supports Mandatory Electronic Logging Devices

The National Tank Truck Carriers announced that they are in full support of the mandatory electronic logging devices, or EOBRs as many call them, for documentary compliance with hours of service rules. This comes after the National Private Truck Council, Truckload Carriers Association and the American Trucking Associations have all done the same.

Looking back at NASSTRAC

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor for Logistics Management, discusses what he saw during this year’s NASSTRAC 2011 conference. Included in this year’s topics were HOS, CSA, capacity, infrastructure, fuel prices and much more.

Strategic Intelligence Report: Truckers Running on Fumes

In a report produced by Mike McDermott, he discusses the effects that high oil prices, inefficiencies, issues with equities and vulnerability to investor decisions can have on the trucking industry.

Japan to Launch Ship Radiation Checks April 28

On Thursday, Japan will begin conducting radiation checks on all ships and containers leaving three main international ports around Tokyo. This will account for about 40 percent of foreign trade containers leaving Japan.

ATA data points to increased driving turnover and hiring numbers

Recent data released by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) suggests that data pointing to increasing driver hiring and turnover translates into signs of an economic recovery.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Apr. 22, 2011

Oberstar stresses need for partisan cooperation and infrastructure investment in NASSTRAC keynote

Former Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, James Oberstar, spoke at this week’s NASSTRAC Logistics Conference about the role of transportation infrastructure in fostering economic growth and success in the US.

Carrier execs focus on capacity, regulations, and safety in NASSTRAC panel

During a panel at the NASSTRC Logistics Conference, many carrier executives discussed managing multiple obstacles in the industry and re-growing networks to get back to full strength. These obstacles include government regulations, managing capacity, increasing fuel costs and shipper-carrier relationships and collaboration.

America’s Low Gas Prices: A Global Perspective

With many politicians and leaders fighting against reducing gas prices and the gas tax, The Infrastructurist compares US gas prices to other countries. There is also an interesting chart of costs per gallon for goods used daily.

New York Times: High-speed rail deserves continued support

The New York Times resolutely defended high-speed rail in an editorial yesterday, characterizing the elimination of remaining funds for the program this year as “harebrained.”

Heavy Truck Orders Jump 20 Percent

ACT Research has confirmed that net orders of Class 8 trucks jumped almost 20 percent in March, bringing the levels to the highest since December of 2006. This means a production backlog of over 100,000 units at the end of March.

Short Line Railroads See 9 Percent Traffic Gain

North America’s small and regional railroads have seen a surge in traffic thus far in 2011, with volume up 9 percent overall. Chemical shipping rose 11.5%, while grain shipping rose 9%, construction based materials rose 15%, metal shipping rose 10% and coal rose 4%.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Apr. 21, 2011

Research Links Truck Crash Involvement to Driver History

A study by the American Transportation Research Institute has shown that truck driver with poor driving records are more susceptible to being involved in a future truck crash than their peers with clean driving records.

Homeland Security Launches Threat Level System

The rainbow-hued terrorist threat warning system that began during the Bush administration has been replaced by the Department of Homeland Security’s new National Terrorism Alert System. The NTAS will consist of an “elevate threat” advisory of possible terrorist activity or an “imminent threat” of an impending attack based on credible information.

Obama invokes bridge collapse in criticizing GOP budget plan

President Obama criticized cuts to infrastructure in the Republican budget plan on Tuesday by spotlighting the 2007 collapse of the Interstate 35-W bridge in Minneapolis. He also noted that the US was given a “D” grade for its infrastructure.

Small Percentage of Drivers Represent Highest Distracted Driving Risk

The SmartDrive Distracted Driving Index summarized the 2010 performance of commercial drivers using in-vehicle records that capture data during sudden stops, swerves and collisions. The study showed that 5 percent of drivers with the most driving distractions were distracted 67 percent of the time during which a risky driving maneuver was observed, which is almost 6 times more than other drivers.

US Freight Rails Hiring Rises Sharply

The transportation industry, specifically US freight rails, has continued to do their part to improve the unemployment rate in the US. The top seven railroads have the biggest combined workforce since February 2009 after an increase of 1,340 workers over the previous month.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Apr. 20, 2011

Obama Won’t Sacrifice Infrastructure for Deficit since the beginning of 2011

President Obama drew a line against slashing programs that upgrade the transportation infrastructure in order to cut the federal budget deficit. Obama spoke about how transportation infrastructure helps to keep businesses in the US and generate jobs.

Carrier Procurement Insights: Trucking Company Volume, Cost, and Pricing Tradeoffs

As a shipper doing business in the freight shipping industry, it is important to know how your freight complements a carrier’s network and how carriers will see your freight. This white paper helps to realize these things and show how Third Party Logistics Providers manage and utilize contract trucking.

Former FMCSA Chief Speaks out on HOS, EOBRs

Former Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator John Hill believes it is going to take Congressional action to put an end to the never-ending cycle of hours of service litigation and rewrites.

Excess capacity will keep ocean freight rates down

While 2010 was a great year for ocean carriers, with 19 out of the top 25 earning an estimated $14 billion, many industry analysts predict these earnings will be short-lived. This is because industry analysts see the margins getting smaller due to rate reductions and excess capacity.

Truckload Capacity Index Drops 10.7 Percent

The Longbow Research Weekly Truckload barometer dropped 10.7 percent last week, indicating that truck capacity is easing but still tight. This was the 2nd consecutive weekly decline, but is still up 31.7 percent.

As debt ceiling vote nears, the pressure’s on House Republican freshman

Financial industry executives, business leaders and Treasury Department officials are visiting the 87 freshman House Republicans to insist that they vote to allow the federal government to go further into debt by raising the debt ceiling.

Panama Free Trade Pact Ready for Congress

The free-trade agreement between the US and Panama is ready to be considered by Congress after Panama took actions sought by the Obama administration.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Apr. 19, 2011

Senate Bill Would Suspend 100% Scanning Deadline

The SAFE Port Reauthorization Act is a bill that renews Customs’ Automated Targeting System, the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and the Container Security Initiative (CSI). It also includes a provision that would suspend the July 2012 deadline for scanning all containers before they board a US bound vessel.

Top 50 trucking companies: Emerging from the shadows

John D Schulz has released the information on the top 50 trucking companies based on revenues and includes a brief description of each company. Leading trucking company CEOs weighed in and said that it’s time to pay down debt and put profit to work to recapitalize their businesses. Rock bottom rates for shippers will all be in the past as well.

Obama will use recess to seize momentum in 2012 spending fight

President Obama and the White House will be using the two-week congressional recess to try and seize momentum in its spending fight with House Republicans. The President and other House Democrats will be conducting interviews and appearances to criticize the House GOP budget for its proposed changes to Medicare.

DOT Stimulus Obligations Hit $45.5 Billion

The Department of Transportation’s total obligation of funds from the 2009 stimulus fund has reached $45.5 billion, just $2.6 billion short of the total it was authorized to spend. Most of the remainder is in rail project grants.

Diesel Pushes Higher, Crude Continues Modest Decline

Diesel fuel prices last week reached $4.105 per gallon, which showed an increase of 2.7 cents over the previous week and an increase of $1.031 over this time last year.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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