Piper's Pipeline: July 30 - August 5, 2011

Piper's Pipeline: July 30 - August 5, 2011

by Don Piper
8. August 2011 11:42

Air transport

Federal Aviation Administration Building

  • Transportation Secretary LaHood's latest blast is aimed at Congress for the delay in funding for the FAA, which has resulted in the idling of some 74,000 workers on construction projects. In turn, House and Senate lawmakers are blaming each other for the delays.
    • Also involved in the delay, wherever it is, is the cost of the non-collection of federal taxes on tickets, which is projected to mount to $1 million. Reports are that there is no difference in ticket costs and that the airlines have continued to collect as ticket costs.
    • Congress is on "vacation" until after Labor Day but could still act because Congress is not recessed. Why are they not being called back to act on something that is critical?

Rail transport

  • The DOT has finalized funds of $336 million to California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Missouri to buy trains for passenger rail corridors in routes to be shared with freight service. 110 mph is feasible for the passenger trains. Money rejected by Florida is the source of funding. This awarded amount is to be combined with $782 million lined up previously.
    • This will be partially used for:
      • Enhanced Amtrak service, which is separate
      • Improvements to upgrade tracks and signals
  • CNRR is expanding its Gary, Indiana yard, spending $165 million. The yard was part of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern purchase.
    • The expanded facility will be used to build general freight trains, more classification tracks to handle longer trains and to relocate the locomotive repair shop, which is now in Chicago. The project is expected to take 3 years to complete and will increase the car processing from 1,500 cars a day to 2,500.

Ocean transport

  • A Panama-flagged ship, a bulk cargo vessel, sank some 25 nautical miles off the coast of Mumbai, reported the Indian Maritime Agency. All 30 members of the crew were rescued by the Indian Coast Guard. The crew included sailors from Indonesia, Jordan and Romania. Holes in the ship are suspected, which would have allowed water to seep into the ship, as reported by the Coast Guard. No reported oil spills were noted in the sinking.

Product safety

Insulin Syringe in Sepia

  • Insulin pumps are added to the lists of instruments that could possibly be hacked. Other medical devices, such as pacemakers, operating room monitors and surgical instruments needed in operating rooms, are also on the list of possibilities.
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission has fined Black and Decker $960,000 for withholding safety information regarding a hedge-trimmer tool. 700 reports, including 58 where the user was injured, have been filed. In spring 2007, the sale was stopped, and a recall was issued in August 2009, after 100 more injuries were reported.
  • The Caterpillar suit by the EPA has been settled for $2.55 million, of which $2.04 million is to the US government and $510,000 to the state of California. 590,000 on- and off-road diesel engines were sold that did not have emission control technology that the agency had been told they would have.


Shipping statistics

  • Freight shipment volume is reported to be down 3.7% in July from June.
  • Short-line rail freight increased by 3.1% in the week ending July 30 from a week earlier, with new highs for intermodal and lumber loads for 2011.
  • Factory orders declined by 0.8% in June, matching projections of economists.
  • India's apparel exports increased by 42% in June. The items consisted mostly of tee shirts and men's pants.

Images by Ken Lund and .:[ Melissa ]:.

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