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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 28, 2011

Truckers Call on Obama to Tap Offshore Oil

The American Trucking Associations is urging the Obama administration to begin looking at domestic energy sources. This comes after a spike in oil prices has increased fuel prices across the US, due to the conflict in Libya. The ATA is suggesting that offshore oil deposits and other resources should be investigated.

AAPA objects to port security funding cut

The American Association of Port Authorities is worried that budget cuts to the Department of Homeland Security’s Port Security grant program could cause security issues to arise in America’s ports.

LaHood Gives Florida Another Week on Rail Plan

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is giving Florida and Gov. Rick Scott until March 4th to come to a final decision on whether to keep or reject $2.4 billion in federal grants for the high speed rail project.

FMCSA Expands Pre-Employment Screening Program

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has added a new feature to their screening program that gives carriers a look at the history of a driver applying for a job. This will help to deter drivers with bad driving records from just moving from carrier to carrier.

Ports Join Business Environmental Group

Port authorities in Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia have joined the Coalition for Responsible Transportation, a business environmental group focusing on reducing the environmental impact by the transportation industry.

Railroad traffic shows continued gains for week of February 19, says AAR

The volume of traffic on America’s rail network was up 8.2 percent compared to last year for the week ending February 19th.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 25, 2011

transportation policies | transportation industry | transportation 101“Transportation 101″ provides a primer on the federal transportation program

Transportation for America has developed a “Transportation 101” document that is hoping to inform the industry and public as to how current federal transportation policy works. It is important for industry professionals to understand many of the policies that affect us every day.

End of an Era?

If you were following news outlets over the last few weeks, you should have seen that a variety of well-known leaders in the industry have resigned or retired from their respective companies. Many of these leaders have been in their positions for a long time and helped mold the way the current industry is.

Seaport cooperation to be examined at upcoming NAFTA conference

In an upcoming North American Free Trade Agreement conference, industry professionals and government officials will work together with a group of researchers to examine how seaports are currently working together in the industry.

Alleged Terrorist Caught Using Domestic Truck Shipments

Many have seen the story about the Saudi national arrested in Texas on terror charges. What many do not know is that Con-way Freight helped in the capturing of the man, by notifying authorities of a suspicious package in their facility.

Oil Prices Appear to be Stabilizing, Diesel Up: Crude Closes at $97.28

The initial projection for how the rebellion in Libya would affect oil production seems to have been worse than current projections. This is helping to reduce oil prices for the first time in nine days.

Cargo Theft Plagues Global Supply Chain

FreightWatch International has released its Annual Global Threat Assessment, showing that cargo theft grew substantially in the western hemisphere.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 24, 2011

The State of Automation

Technology and innovation, a focus for us at BlueGrace Logistics, are changing the way the transportation industry works. Inventory management and many other transportation operations should be looked at in an entirely new way to ensure that each company is moving forward with the rest of the industry.

ATA Supports Proposed Ban on Hand-Held Phone Use by Drivers

In an important move for the trucking industry, the American Trucking Associations announced its support for the FMCSA’s proposal to prohibit use of hand-held phones while driving.

Panama Canal preparations under full sail

The expansion of the Panama Canal, which is set for completion in the year 2014, has companies and seaports all over the world preparing for the new competitive landscape in the industry.

Libyan Ports Closed by Violence

Due to the concerns over the violence in Libya, all of the ports in the country have been closed.

Uproar over proposed HOS regulations not abating anytime soon

The Hours of Service proposal is still a hot topic among members of the transportation and logistics industry. The proposal has actually become less favored now, then when it was originally introduced.

Truck volumes post strong gains in January

Despite the harsh winter storms that pounded much of the country, year-to-year truck tonnage increased 8 percent in January.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 23, 2011

women in trucking | transportation industry | equal rightsWIT Meets with U.S. Transportation Officials

Women in Trucking President, Ellen Voie, met recently with US Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, and FMCSA Administrator, Anne Ferro. The discussions focused on the challenges facing women in the transportation industry and how to address those needs.

US Rail Lines Cut Jobs in January

The cuts in jobs from mid-December to mid-January mark the first back-to-back monthly declines since the recession. This comes after a strong year and strong outlook for the rail industry.

Diesel Prices Surge as Oil Nears $100

The price per gallon of diesel fuel is up another 3.9 cents this week, marking the 12th consecutive week of increases. The turmoil in Libya is having major effects on this pricing.

FMCSA’s Ferro Defines Broad Safety Strategy

The FMCSA has put together a three-part strategy to improve truck safety and decrease accidents, injuries and fatalities in the industry. These strategies include the CSA program, hours of service reform and electronic logging.

RI’s US senators request FL high speed rail funds

Another state, Rhode Island, has come forward to request the high-speed rail funding that was refused by Florida Gov. Rick Scott last week.

Consumer Confidence Hits Three-Year High

The consumer confidence index from The Conference Board jumped up to 70.4, an increase from 64.8 in January.  This comes with concern about jobs, but overall the optimism is high for steady improvement in the economy.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 22, 2011

Girl Scout Cookie Distribution Impresses UT Logistics Expert

An interesting article about the way the Girl Scouts sort and distribute millions of boxes of cookies. University of Tennessee Associate Professor of Logistics, Dr. Mary Holcomb visited a warehouse to see their operations.

Panama Canal preparations under full sail

The expansion of the Panama Canal has companies across the globe strategizing new ways to use the expansion to their benefit. This expansion should help shorten transit times across the world.

Trucking Industry Steers Closer to Recovery

With the industry representing an important component to the US economy, the changes in the trucking industry can normally mean a change in a variety of other industries. The recovery shown in the trucking industry does hint towards overall recovery for businesses, however the new legislation could cause the landscape to change.

High Speed Rail supporters to converge on transportation hearing

Californians that are in support of the high-speed rail are coming together to show their support for the projects. This comes after Congressman Devin Nunes attempt to divert funds to other projects. If the funding isn’t used towards the high-speed rail projects, the money could be sent to other states like Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 21, 2011

3pl relationships | third party logistics | vested outsourcing5 Steps to improving your 3PL relationships

This is a great article about the 5 steps to improve your third party logistics relationships, put together by members of the University of Tennessee’s center for Executive Education. These steps include laying the foundation, understanding the business, aligning interests, establishing the agreement and managing the performance.

DeFazio Targets Shippers Who Delay Truck Drivers

Rep. Peter DeFazio introduced a bill that would require the Department of Transportation to regulate how long truckers are detained at docks and require shippers to pay drivers and carriers for detention.

Boehner says spending must be cut, but Senate Democrats won’t budge

An interesting article about the budget battle between both government parties. This article shows the contrasting arguments, rather than favoring one side of the debate. Hopefully, a resolution can be found soon.

Shipper Says HOS Changes Would Hike Transport Costs

The proposed changes to the Hours of Service rules could cause transportation costs to rise anywhere from 1 to 3 percent. This could cause huge problems for large shippers, which could mean a rise of hundreds of millions of dollars in transportation spending for some.

House Reintroduces Safe & Efficient Transportation Act

House Reps. Mike Michaud and Jean Schmidt have reintroduced SETA to increase the federal weight limits on Interstate Highways. This new bill would give the option to each state to set interstate weight limits of up to 97,000 pounds, compared to the current limit of 80,000 pounds.

LaHood Gives Florida One Week to Find Rail Options

Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood has given Florida one more week to salvage the efforts for the Tampa to Orlando project. If the projects are not salvaged, the funding will be sent to other states, most notably California.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 18, 2011

House T&I Committee Approves Aviation Bill

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a four year plan that will cut spending and omit the bargaining rights language.

Funding questions are front and center in proposed surface transportation bill

The questions are still coming in as to where the funding will come from for many of the budget line items in the proposed surface transportation reauthorization.

Carrier Says Hours Plan Would Boost Driver Pay

Representatives from Schneider National have said that the new Hours of Service plan would cause drivers’ pay to rise $3,000 per year.

U.S. seaports have mixed reaction to Obama budget

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has mixed opinions on the recent budget proposal for the 2012 fiscal year. This organization and all those involved have many questions that need answered before they will be satisfied with the budget.

Labor’s Richard Trumka, Chamber’s Tom Donohue appear together to plead for infrastructure spending

Presidents of the AFL-CIO and US Chamber of Commerce testified on Wednesday to plead for more infrastructure spending. This comes after President Obama’s call for infrastructure spending in his State of the Union address.

BREAKING: LaHood to Meet with Florida Delegation to Salvage Florida High Speed Rail

Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, will meet with the Florida delegation to discuss options to save the high-speed rail projects in Florida.

Here’s to cautious (economic) optimism

Jeff Berman continues his insight into the economic conditions of the country, showing his optimism towards a strong recovery but being cautious in his hopes.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 17, 2011

LaHood Says Other States in Line for Fla. Rail Money

The funding for high-speed rail projects in Florida, which was rejected yesterday by Governor Rick Scott, will be headed to other states that are supporting the projects.

Mica ‘Deeply Disappointed’ at Fla. Ending Rail Project

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman, Rep. John Mica, has shown his disappointment with Governor Rick Scott for his rejection of federal funding for high-speed rail.

House is currently debating 2011 budget containing deep cuts to transportation

With the 2012 fiscal budget fresh in everyone’s minds, it is still important to focus on the current budget for 2011, which contains deep cuts to transportation projects.

Business as usual in the Suez…for now

With the issues in Egypt still in the forefront of the news, many are worried about the problems it can cause with transportation through the Suez Canal. For now, it seems that there is no interruption.

A free market victory

The Federal Maritime Commission has worked hard to reduce regulatory burdens and bring cost savings to the shipping industry. The FMC voted to finally relieve more than 3300 NVOCCs from many of these costs and regulatory burdens.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 16, 2011

president obama | obama budget | state of the unionWith the recent proposal of the 2012 fiscal year budget by the White House, many people, organizations and groups have been commenting on the aspects that affect their interests. There is a wide range of news stories that reflect the opinions of different industries. Here are a few that affect the transportation and logistics industry.

Shippers, Carriers Cite Flaws in Obama’s Budget

Ports Concerned About Federal Budget Cuts

White House Boosts FMCSA Budget 10 Percent

Tightening our belts, strengthening our future

There were also a lot of other important news articles that have been published.

White House Proposes $50 Million for Cross-border Trucking

With the new budget proposal, there will be funding for the new cross-border trucking agreement between the US and Mexico. The money will help to bolster truck inspections and will reduce retaliatory tariffs that have been imposed since 2007.

Give the Obama administration a break

This is a great blog by Patrick Burnson explaining why the critics should give President Obama and his administration a break from the criticism. The blog states the facts about Obama’s goals and how the US remains on track to meet many of them.

Port Tracker report calls for solid first half of 2011

In another great sign that the economy is on a steady pace of improvement, a report was released that shows import volume to be up 6 percent annually for the first half of 2011.

FMCSA Extends HOS Comment Period to Cover Additional Documentation and Clerical Amendments

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended the comment period on the hours of service proposal an extra week, from February 28th to March 4th.

Cuban Box Terminal Will Become Transshipment Hub

The new hub will help to improve transshipment of containers to ports in North and South America. It will also become an important transshipment hub for cargo to and from the US when the trade embargo is lifted.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 15, 2011

2012 budget | US budget | transportation budgetProposed fiscal year 2012 budget represents increases for transportation funding

The White House proposed the 2012 budget request, which includes a 38 percent increase over the proposed amount in 2011 for the Department of Transportation. It also included a 6-year $556 billion surface transportation and reauthorization proposal. This proposal has been applauded by Transportation for America. Also, more information on the reauthorization proposal can be found here.

Administration Wants $2 Billion in TIGER Grants

These grants would help to increase funding towards projects that are not normally eligible for funding, including rail and port infrastructure work.

Survey Reveals Strong Support for Infrastructure Deal

A large majority of American people want better roads and bridges, but are not interested in paying higher taxes or other subsidies to cover the cost of these improvements.

Diesel prices move up another 2.1 cents per gallon

For the 11th straight week, diesel prices have increased in price per gallon. This is a 37.2 cent gain in this stretch.

Forecast: A Long Climb Out of Recession but a Busy Couple of Years for Trucking

The outlook for the trucking industry over the next couple of years looks great from a carrier perspective. This stems from the current increases in manufacturing and retail sales.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee rolls out new FAA bill

The FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011 was introduced by Rep. John Mica and Rep. Tom Petri last week. The bill is designed to reform the FAA programs, create infrastructure jobs and set new policies for aviation systems.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 14, 2011

Since I was out of commission on Thursday and Friday of last week, there has been a large amount of news to report on. Because there were so many different important topics in the transportation industry, I will keep each summary short and only provide a link in some cases. Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Nadler Introduces Clean Ports Bill in House

Rep. Jerrod Nadler introduced the Clean Ports Act of 2011 to the House in order to reduce truck pollution at container ports.

FAA to examine health of air cargo industry

Obama’s $53 Billion Rail Plan: Applause, Jeers, and Many Unanswered Questions

The newly introduced plan is raising questions as to where the funding will come from.

More infrastructure investment will create jobs, boost economy, according to Treasury Sec. Geithner

Jobless Claims Drop to Lowest Since July 2008

Obama’s ratings inch up as economy improves: poll

President Obama’s job approval rating rose from 50% to 51% in January.

Trade deficit numbers tell an interesting story

Senator Moves to Reduce Rail PTC Mandate

The new bill will reduce regulatory burdens and remove a deadline for railroads to deploy positive train control technology.

Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index falls 0.3 percent in January

Lawmaker Proposes Cargo Tax for Infrastructure

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 9, 2011

widening the panama canal | asian cargo | south florida portsRail Exec Sees Florida Gaining From Panama Canal

The anticipated widening of the Panama Canal, which should happen in the year 2014, could mean great things for business through the ports of South Florida. The widening could mean that South Florida will be a gateway for Asian cargo moving to the Southeast.

IANA: Overall Intermodal Volume Ends 2010 Up 14.7% Year-Over-Year

The year 2010 was a record-setting year for international and domestic volumes of intermodal shipments. The overall comparisons from 2009 to 2010 showed an increase of 14.7%, with international volumes showing the highest increase of 18.5%.

LaHood Touts $53 Billion High-Speed Rail Plan

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Vice President Joe Biden announced a plan to continue construction of a national high-speed and intercity passenger rail network. This plan calls for a $53 billion investment over six years.

ATA’s Graves reminds Obama of pledge towards ‘robust’ transport program

American Trucking Associations’ President Bill Graves is appreciative of President Obama’s commitment to rebuilding the infrastructure of the US, but is calling on Obama and his administration to live up to their commitment by proposing a strong surface transportation program focusing on highways.

FMC Slow Steaming Inquiry Gets Under Way

The Federal Maritime Commission’s inquiry into the effects of slow steaming officially began on Monday with the commission seeking comments and discussion from industry groups and companies on all of the effects.

DOE Projects Diesel to Average $3.43 This Year

The Department of Energy is projecting that diesel fuel will average $3.43 per gallon in 2011, up from the $2.99 average in 2010.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb 8, 2011

obama speech | infrastructure investment | us innovationPresident Renews Call for Infrastructure Investment

President Obama met with the US Chamber of Commerce on Monday to discuss the economy and the US innovation and improvement needed to succeed as a country. He focused on the themes carried over from the State of the Union address including innovation, education and infrastructure construction. He also made promises to upgrade transportation and communication networks.

High-end counterfeit goods seized at Port of Los Angeles

In the continued effort to increase security at US ports, the Los Angeles Port Police discovered over $10 million in counterfeit electronics, stolen merchandise and bank receipts. These goods included many electronics resembling Apple iPods and iPhones.

Diesel Hits $3.51 in Tenth Straight Weekly Increase

The prices for diesel fuel have risen for the tenth straight week, putting the price at a new post-2008 high. With the tensions in Egypt, this price could continue its rise.

Amtrak’s rail line to Tampa grows in popularity

For a little hometown flavor, the Amtrak rail line has grown in popularity in the city of Tampa, meaning that this may be an indication towards larger high-speed rail projects. This may be to the disapproval of new Governor Rick Scott, who has been known to oppose the idea of high-speed passenger service in Florida.

Truckload Carriers Slow Capacity Decline

A group of five large trucking companies has slowed their reduction in capacity in 2010 and moving forward, meaning they are close to finding the sweet spot in truck counts as compared to shipper demand.

January Heavy Truck Orders Soar 320 Percent

The continued strong increase in truck orders is a large indication that carriers are ready to start replacing outdated trucks to have a better economic impact and reduce diesel fuel costs.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb 7, 2011

cross-border tradeUS, Canada Pursue Trade, Security Overhaul

President Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper have agreed to work together to focus on improving the speed of cross-border trade as well as improving the cargo security strategies. Both Obama and Harper signed a pact on February 4th to show dedication to improving these relations.

LTL carriers seize pricing with rising yield, rates

The Less than Truckload pricing has noticeably changed in favor of the LTL freight carriers. For many shippers, discounts are falling and rates are rising. This opens a great time for all shippers to evaluate their shipping process when it comes to moving freight locally or across the country.

LaHood Calls for Substantial Highway Bill

Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood is optimistic that the new surface transportation bill will be presented sooner than he expected. Recent meetings are showing a growing interest in getting it done soon.

New report shows the job-creating potential of smart transportation investments

A new report from Smart Growth America has been released showing that smart transportation spending can create jobs and grow our economy. This is a great report that evaluates the transportation spending in the stimulus.

STB Postpones Rail Competition Hearing to June 22

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has postponed the hearing to discuss the railroad industry and possible regulatory changes until June 22nd.

TransCore’s CarrierWatch CSA Industry Report Finds Significant Differences among States’ CSA 2010 Scores

TransCore has announced the availability of the CarrierWatch CSA 2010 Industry Report, which covers approximately 166,000 carriers with commercial vehicles subject to the new CSA 2010 program. Many of their findings can be found in this news brief.

Lawmakers Target DOT for $4 Billion Spending Cut

The House Appropriations Committee is seeking a reduction in DOT spending of 17 percent from spending levels in 2010. These cuts do not apply to highway or aviation trust funds since it is being focused towards discretionary spending.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 4, 2011

rail freight | intermodal freight | intermodal servicesDOT Issues Strong Intermodal Rail Endorsement

The Department of Transportation has sent a strong endorsement in favor of allowing rail and intermodal services to be able to regulate themselves. The STB proposal is attempting to give themselves regulatory power over all of this type of cargo.

Rails Seek Delay of STB Competition Hearing

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) is being asked by the railroad industry to delay their May 3 hearing on the new proposals for tighter regulations.

TSA looks to bump up air cargo screening deadline

The previous deadline of 2013 for the air cargo screening deadline seems too far away for the Transportation Security Administration, who is hoping to move the deadline up to the end of the year.

Suez Canal Stays Open, Ports Congested

With the violence in Cairo escalating, many of the surrounding ports are becoming congested. This comes with the closing of Egypt’s ports, while the rest of the Suez Canal remains open.

Mica Announces Transportation Bill Field Hearings, Public Forums

John Mica, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman, is staying true to his promises and has announced the locations for public forums to discuss the pending major surface transportation bill.

All systems stop in nation’s rail, truck hub

A large indicator of how bad the storm truly hit the US was the stoppage of all service through the Chicago terminals, the nation’s capital for the transportation of goods.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 3, 2011

stb reauthorization | stb legislation | rail shippersSTB reauthorization legislation is back on the table

A few key points in the STB reauthorization legislation are raising the number of STB board members, giving the STB investigative authority, protecting rail shippers’ rates, creating strong service for rail shippers, preventing rail carriers on collaborating on rates and improving access to shipper relief. While this bill would be great for rail shippers in many aspects, the effects on rail carriers could be felt in pricing long-term.

Florida Republican John Mica could be a key ally on high-speed rail

With President Obama’s call for more infrastructure investment, a strong ally from the Republican side has developed in John Mica, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman. Mica presents the possibility of garnering more private investments from businesses and organizations that could be positively affected by the rail plans.

Winter Storms Disrupt Trucking, Rail Traffic

With one of the largest winter storms ever to hit the US leaving trucks stranded along the US highways, transportation and business operations for much of the US have been delayed or put on hold. One of the top LTL carriers has had 850 loads cancelled by shippers due to the winter storms.

FTR data points to improving trucking market conditions

With the recent edition of the Trucking Update by FTR Associates, their Trucking Conditions Index is showing signs that it may be ahead of the curve with the improving economy. The increased vehicle utilization and solid pricing power for carriers over the next few years could show a continued increase in this index.

TransCore Truckload Trendlines: Flatbeds Up, Reefers and Dry Vans Stable

TransCore’s DAT Network of load boards showed a nationwide increase in freight availability for flatbeds, while availability for reefers and dry vans remained stable.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

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