Piper's Pipeline: January 7, 2012 - January 13, 2012

Piper's Pipeline: January 7, 2012 - January 13, 2012

by Don Piper
16. January 2012 15:21
  • The FMC has been working since February 2011 to determine the cause of carriers' using Port Prince Rupert, Canada, instead of US ports. Complaints were raised that the harbor maintenance fee charged by US ports was the reason. A rift between the US and Canada had begun.
    • After a thorough check, the FMC has determined that the tax had no bearing on the practice. More important than the 0.125% tax is the two-day shorter transit time for the steamship lines. Even with the road costs, the advantage still lies at Port Prince Rupert.
    • The Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) is to be used for helping ports in the US dredge to the required depth. Presently, there is a $6 billion surplus in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. There is also considerable dredge work that needs to be done at the nation’s harbors. Some of them need work badly, such as the lower Mississippi River, which is not being looked at.
  • Importers are still rushing to make shipments before the start of the Chinese New Year on January 23, at which time Chinese action ceases.
  • There is pessimism at the ATA that the 2012 highway bill will pass a transportation reauthorization. This was expressed by Bill Graves, President, even though it is 2.5 years past due.
    • A bill to pay for highway and transit infrastructure, streamlining transit and highway, is in the Senate. However, doubt is expressed by both parties as to how to pay for the bill. The present provisions of the previous bill expired in September 2009 and have remained in effect by extensions.
    • Though the bill has been extended, there are a lot of questions to be answered, mainly, how to pay for any program that is adopted.
  • Comments on the Hours of Service bill are expected to be challenged by all sides. The only part that pleases the carriers is the retention of the 11-hour-day part. One of the major carrier objections seems to be over the restart provisions. Scheduled for an effective date of July 2013, there’s time for the union and environmental groups to work on a protest.
  • The total annual payroll for health-care workers in the Memphis area is $3.16 billion, averaging $42,000 per health care worker. The Memphis area employs 75,224 employees in this sector. 96% of Memphis-area health-care businesses fall into the small business range of 1-99 employees.
  • China and India, both developing countries, drive global sales of consumer electronics amounting to above $1 trillion per year. IT accounts for global electronics sales of 46% of global gadget sales predicted for 2012. This is an increase of 37% from 4 years ago. These figures are according to GfK Boutique Research for sales in 2012 vs. 4 years prior.
    • The estimated 2012 sales are $1.038 trillion, considering a growth of 8% from 2010 to 2011.
  • The FMCSA's safety scoring system is being described by a freight broker as pursuing stops to stifle the agency's Safety Management System.
    • A brokerage CEO, and its attorney, Henry Seaton, told Transport Topics on January 3 that the efforts include education, political pressure and the prospect of a lawsuit to halt the use of the SMS. The SMS assigns a percentage score to fleets on the basis of 5 categories of infractions, including driver fatigue.
    • The scoring system applies to only 12% of carriers and is based on flawed calculation of driving infractions such as speeding.
    • It is claimed that both small carriers and brokers are losing substantial business.
    • The FMCSA has long-term safety fitness plans and intends to unveil these plans "sometime early in 2012."

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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