Piper's Pipeline: December 24 - December 30, 2011

Piper's Pipeline: December 24 - December 30, 2011

by Don Piper
3. January 2012 16:01

Hours of Service

  • The final version of the much-debated Hours of Service (HOS) rules has been published in the Federal Register. The proposed rules do not please any of the carriers, and the environmental groups are the only ones pleased.
  • Protests have been filed against the newly proposed rules for hours of service. All parties involved in the industry are dissatisfied and have either filed or plan to file action in the courts.
  • HOS rules for the airlines have been protested and are being challenged in court by both FedEx and UPS. Cargo pilots were exempted from the rules.

Diesel and trucking

    I should have been a diesel mechanic
  • Qualified diesel mechanics are in great demand and are hard to find. There is not only a lack of qualified persons, but also the US Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a growth of 11% for their services.
    • In addition, and most disturbingly, an estimated 40-50% of current mechanics will reach retirement age between 2010 and 2030.
  • Truck tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway are scheduled to increase by about 50% on January 1. A 5-axle truck using EX Pass during peak hours would pay $43.20 to travel the length of the turnpike, an increase of $15 over the current rate.
    • Three states (VA, NC and RI) have received "conditional approval" from the federal government to impose polls on I-95 on sections in the 3 states.


  • US railroads reported an increase of 11.7% year-over-year gain in carload traffic the last week before Christmas. Manufacturing and hauling both had strong momentum going into the holiday period.
  • Seeking to increase efficiency, the railroads are running longer trains. Restricted sidings have been the roadblock to longer trains, and several have been modified to accommodate them. New locomotives have also been obtained.
    • Coal shippers should see a great benefit from longer trains. However, grain shoppers are restricted by the size of grain terminals.

Infrastructure under construction

  • Because of the delay in construction approval of the Keystone Pipeline, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced that the Canadian government is very serious about shipping its oil to China.
    • The Keystone Pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day to the refineries on the Gulf Coast in Texas and has been delayed due to environmental issues. Cost of construction of the pipeline is said to be $7 billion and would create thousands of jobs in the US.
  • Three new projects, featuring transloading between truck and rail, are being developed to transport crude oil being generated in North Dakota. Just north of the US-Canadian border, an additional facility is being built in Estevan, Saskatchewan, to move crude oil from the Bakkan formation. Development also has been announced by US Development Group, LLC, to build a transfer terminal in Colorado to move oil from the Nibrana shale formation in Nebraska.
  • APM Terminals has been awarded a $900 million terminal project at the Port of Lazaro Cardenas in Mexico, on the Pacific Coast. The 1st phase is scheduled to open during the 1st quarter of 2015, on 252 acres with 4 berths and approximately 5,000 feet of dock space.
    • Operators of the port say that the port is being built to compete with the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. The port presently has depth of 54 feet and is planned for 59 feet. The plan is to handle shipments more efficiently and at lower costs than the California ports.
  • Clean Energy is developing a network of natural gas fueling stations for motor carriers. An additional investment of $150 million has been made in the project.
    • This latest investment by Clean Energy brings the total investment to $450 million.
  • Chattanooga has announced $143.2 million in capital improvement in 2011. There are 10 major projects involved.

Images by justinsomnia and andrewottoson

Don Piper is VP of Traffic Services at CTSI-Global. He has over 60 years of experience navigating the logistics and transportation industries.

What logistics news was important to you this week? Please share your thoughts!

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