Piper's Pipeline: June 13 - June 17, 2011

Piper's Pipeline: June 13 - June 17, 2011

by Don Piper
20. June 2011 15:29
  • Wednesday's crude oil traded at less than $95 a barrel, the lowest in almost four months. The price reduction was over $4 a barrel. The price of diesel increased 1.44 cents per gallon on the same day.
  • Horizon Lines extended for a week the attempt to get commitment for $350 million in secured senior notes, a key part of the financially troubled carrier’s refinancing. Completion of the refinancing by Horizon is expected to be completed by August after extending the June 10 deadline.
  • Last month a federal district court ruled that OSHA has the authority to subpoena safety audits and other records prepared by an employer's insurance carrier.
    • The records must be relevant to the investigation, the request must be specific and not for an illegitimate purpose, the court ruled.
    • The ruling came as a result of 2 teenage workers killed and another man injured when a grain elevator in which they were working was engulfed in corn.
  • The International Warehouse and Logistics Association (IWLA) has expressed strong opposition to proposed legislation in California. IWLA stated that California’s ports would not be competitive with other CA and Mexican ports.
    • The legislation would ban owner-operations from transporting containers in and out of California ports. Most of the drayage is performed by self-employed truckers that lease their services to port providers. This action would essentially require teamster drivers.
  • A cross-border trucking deal between the US and Mexico may become a reality as early as this month, according to a Mexican government minister. Such a deal could remove some $2.5 billion in tariffs that were put in place by the Mexican government. Tariffs would be removed 50% upon signature of the agreement, and 50% when the Mexican trucks cross the border.
  • Ship and Bayonne Bridge
  • Elevation of the Bayonne Bridge is targeted for completion in 2016. Raising the bridge clearance from 151 to 215 feet in order to accommodate the large container ships is still in progress by engineering and environmental groups, and work cannot start until this portion is completed. The cost is estimated at $1 billion.
  • A total of 863 shipment seizures by Customs and Border Patrol were made in 2010, a record. This was up 42% from 2009.
    • The shipments had arrived at the Los Angeles – Long Beach ports, most of them fake designer clothes.
    • Fake golf clubs are also a portion of imported items. Most of the purchases were made over the internet. Two hundred fifty sets of golf equipment having domestic value of $192,000 and an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $589,000.
  • The FMCSA road inspection of trucks June 7 – 10 included buses and householder movers. Included in the examinations were drivers' CDLs and medical certificates. The drivers’ health also became an issue at this year’s inspections, as an increasing number of drivers have high blood pressure or diabetes. Bus drivers with medical problems were placed out of service immediately; those pulling cargo were issued a ticket and a defined period before passing a new physical.
  • New technology is being used that employs infrared light to detect the requirement for repairs such as overheated brakes, exhaust leaks and improperly inflated tires. The inspections require 10 seconds.
    • At a stop in a previous year a truck with an 83,000 pound load had eight out of 10 of the brakes not working. At the 2010 operation of 72 hours, a total of 48,327 vehicles were inspected at the most comprehensive level during the period. A total of 65,327 vehicles were inspected in 2009.
  • The US Customs and Border Protection recently uncovered trade fraud in a transshipment scheme designed to prevent paying antidumping duties on imported steel wire hangers. The hangers were shipped from China to Mexico and then imported to the US.
    • A Tijuana, Mexico businessman was sentenced to nearly 6 years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $3 million in restoration to the US and forfeitures of more than $4 million in proceeds that were gained through the illegal transshipment scheme.
  • UPS said it has installed the first in a series of investments, a 250 kW rooftop solar array expected to provide 30% of the electricity at its Lakewood, NJ facility. There are more installations to follow. This is in addition to units at Palm Springs, CA and its regional air hub in Cologne-Bonn Airport in Germany.

Image by jfinnirwin

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