Searchable Goods Movement Timeline

Welcome to the METRANS Goods Movement Timeline. This is a searchable timeline of activities tied to goods movement, logistics and international trade based upon items from the popular press.

Given our location and the importance of this region as an international trade gateway, many of the entries pertain to Southern California. We do however draw from state and national press as well. Some articles' links may have expired, or you may have to pay a fee or register on the Web site where they originally appeared to access the complete article. Our goal however is to provide the researcher with enough information to track significant events over time as they have occurred in key areas like legislation, finance, and security.

This timeline grew out of timelines initially developed for METRANS research projects in the area of goods movement. Earlier entries (before 2005) were therefore not prepared with a searchable database in mind and will be less detailed. We hope, however, that they remain a useful resource.

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Mar 01, 2018

Congress Continues Opposition to DOT's Mexican Truck Program

Print edition

On September 9th, in reaction to the Administration’s announcement that it plans to extend the Mexican Tuck Program for another two years, the House passed HR 6630 with an overwhelming vote 395-18. Although NAFTA authorized long-haul Mexican trucking in the U.S., the bill would prohibit the Secretary of Transportation from granting authority to a motor carrier domiciled in Mexico to operate beyond the border region unless expressly authorized by Congress – effectively killing the cross-border trucking program. President Bush has threatened to veto the bill, and the Senate does not have the votes to override a veto.

The program allows up to 500 trucks from Mexico motor carriers full access to US roads, as opposed to a limit of 20-25 miles from the border. Currently there are 10 US companies with 55 trucks in Mexico and 27 Mexican companies operating 107 trucks in United States.

Despite authorization via the terms laid out in the 1994 NAFTA agreement, Congress has long opposed the program and began their attempts to shut it down in 2007 when, when the Congress amended the FY 2008 DOT appropriations and bill to prevent the use of funds to “establish” such a program. However (as reported previously in TCB), by the time the bill was passed, the DOT claimed the program was already “established” and used the funds as they deemed necessary. The DOT was subsequently sued in federal court by outside groups to shut down the program citing that their interpretation of the language of the bill did not justify their actions – a decision has not yet been issued.

Print edition

Aug 26, 2014

Governor Brown Signs AB 2395 Legislation

PORT OF HUENEME, CALIFORNIA - Today, Governor Brown signed AB 2395 Legislation. The bill was co-authored by Bonnie Lowenthal chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee and the Select Committee on Ports (D-Long Beach); Jeff Gorell, a member of the Select Committee on Ports (R-Camarillo); and Hannah Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara).

 

PORT OF HUENEME, CALIFORNIA - Today, Governor Brown signed AB 2395 Legislation. The bill was co-authored by Bonnie Lowenthal chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee and the Select Committee on Ports (D-Long Beach); Jeff Gorell, a member of the Select Committee on Ports (R-Camarillo); and Hannah Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara).

 

Jan 08, 2010

ATA To Seek Summary Judgment In Los Angeles Port Trucking Case

Print Edition

The ongoing lawsuit by the American Trucking Association against a trucking program at the Port of Los Angeles could see some resolution next week, if a judge finds in favor of an ATA motion seeking summary judgment for portions of the suit.

 

Print Edition

The ongoing lawsuit by the American Trucking Association against a trucking program at the Port of Los Angeles could see some resolution next week, if a judge finds in favor of an ATA motion seeking summary judgment for portions of the suit.

 

Apr 08, 2016

BNSF Railway says firm may cancel Wilmington rail yard after judge’s ruling

Online Edition

BNSF Railway said Friday it may scrap plans altogether to build a new rail yard near the Port of Los Angeles following a recent court ruling in which a judge found serious flaws in the project’s environmental review process.

“After a thorough review of the ruling, BNSF is troubled by what the decision represents and uncertain whether moving forward with the project is feasible at this time. We will confer with Port of Los Angeles officials, but it is not clear whether or how the project could be built under the framework set by the decision,” BNSF chief marketing officer Steve Bobb said in a statement.

Long Beach’s city government, joined by several other litigants, went to court in 2013 to challenge Los Angeles harbor commissioners’ and City Council members’ approval of the project, known as Southern California International Gateway, or SCIG. 

BNSF had proposed to build a $500 million rail yard in the Wilmington area of Los Angeles, near West Long Beach. Long Beach officials contended the project should include buffers and other measures, such as grants for home air-filtration systems and double-pane windows, to protect residents’ health.

BNSF and Los Angeles officials asserted that SCIG would lead to improved environmental conditions by eliminating the need for harbor truckers to haul rail-bound freight all the way to BNSF’s Hobart Yard, which is 24 miles north of the Port of Los Angeles in Commerce.

Project plans also included environmentally-friendly technologies such as low-emission locomotives and electric cranes.

Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Barry P. Goode, however, determined the environmental impact report failed to assess the environmental impacts of building and operating SCIG within the context of activity levels at other rail facilities.

“What, if any, are the impacts of that at Hobart? In the surrounding area? The EIR does not assess these,” Goode asked while writing his ruling.

From BNSF’s perspective, Goode’s reasoning that SCIG’s environmental review should have included an analysis of other rail yards is so broad that, if ever established as precedent, businesses may face greater difficulties in proposing projects that can survive environmental review.

“To be clear, the court’s ruling doesn’t simply make it difficult to proceed with SCIG, but rather has far-reaching implications for companies across a range of industries interested in investing in California,” BNSF spokeswoman Lena Kent said in an email.

Port of Los Angeles spokesman Phillip Sanfield said Friday a decision has not yet been made as to whether to appeal the case.

Although Long Beach officials challenged SCIG in court, City Attorney Charles Parkin said Friday the project could be modified to meet the city’s concerns.

“My only comment is, this would be unfortunate,” he said of the possibility of BNSF abandoning the proposed rail yard. “We trust there could be mitigations that would allow that project to go forward,” he said.

Kent said BNSF executives remain open to the possibility of a settlement, but the company has not yet received a reasonable proposal.

 

Online Edition

BNSF Railway said Friday it may scrap plans altogether to build a new rail yard near the Port of Los Angeles following a recent court ruling in which a judge found serious flaws in the project’s environmental review process.

Jul 01, 2016

European Freight Ferries

Print Edition

Europe has a considerable number of freight ferries, a ship type that is rare in North America but could gain usage if short sea services are ever developed to take trucks off the highway in volume. Four of the latest European freight ferries are being built by Germany’s Flensburger SchiffbauGesselschaft (FSG) for affiliated SIEM RoRo Carriers LTD. A division of FSG’s Norwegian owner, Siem Industries, which will charter two of the vessels to Denmark’s DFDS and the other two to EKOL of turkey.

 

The 11,000-dwt ships will have more than 4,000 lane meters of deck space and accommodate 262 forty-six-foot trailers.

 

The ships for DFDS will be delivered in May and September of next year while the Turkish vessels, to be named Meleq and Fadiq, will follow in late 2017 and early 2018.

 

 

Print Edition

Europe has a considerable number of freight ferries, a ship type that is rare in North America but could gain usage if short sea services are ever developed to take trucks off the highway in volume. Four of the latest European freight ferries are being built by Germany’s Flensburger SchiffbauGesselschaft (FSG) for affiliated SIEM RoRo Carriers LTD. A division of FSG’s Norwegian owner, Siem Industries, which will charter two of the vessels to Denmark’s DFDS and the other two to EKOL of turkey.

 

May 18, 2016

Port of Oakland phone app alerts truckers to waits at the gate

Online Edition

 

OAKLAND -- An old-line business, the Port of Oakland, is using one of the world's newest technologies, an app designed to help truckers cope with busy cargo gates at the shipping hub, the port said Wednesday.

 

"This could definitely be helpful and would be worth it," said Bruce Gill, owner of Union City-based Bay City Express, a trucking firm.

 

The app is available on the Google Play store for Android phones and the Apple store for the iPhone, the port said.

 

"There's no more guesswork for truckers picking up or delivering cargo in Oakland," said John Driscoll, the port's maritime director. "Now they can plan their days with real-time information."

 

The software application arrives at a time when the Port of Oakland has undertaken a far-reaching transformation to operate more efficiently. The port has been opening gates at night and on weekends to help unclog backlogs of cargo being delivered or picked up by truckers.

 

The app tells truck drivers how long it takes to enter terminal gates and calculates how long drivers must wait to complete transactions. The free app for truckers is called DrayQ and can be found on the app stores under the DrayQ name.

 

The times for gate waits and transactions that appear on mobile phone screens are akin to the sign boards on freeways that tell people how long it will take to get to a downtown area, airport or city.

 

The new technology could provide truckers and dispatchers with a precise measure of how long a terminal transaction takes. And if it's too long, drivers can plan around slow periods.

 

Cargo owners and terminal operators also will be able to compile data to determine if container shipments are being processed efficiently. They can also use the data to alter operations.

 

"This industry is the oldest thing on earth, and we always have to find brand new things to make it work," said Michael Zampa, a spokesman for the Port of Oakland.

 

The developer of the DrayQ app, Virginia-based Leidos, has hired people to hand out fliers to trucker drivers at the East Bay port. About 150 people have signed up for the app in the first few days.

 

"This is the first port in the country to use this technology," Zampa said.

 

The app uses Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi technologies to measure truckers' progress through the East Bay cargo hub.

 

"The technology gets a ping from every cell phone for a vehicle that is going through the port," Zampa said. "The display is very much like the freeway signs that show how long to get to a destination."

 

One reason the technology is needed is because lines and delays at the Oakland port really haven't improved in recent years and months, multiple trucking executives said Wednesday.

 

"Six or seven years ago, the lines were always moving at the port," Gill said. "Now, delays are the new norm. "There is always a line, whether the port is busy, or not busy. A lot of times we don't have a choice, we have to wait in line."

 

At present, truck drivers at the Oakland port often use a Yahoo group that helps them match up cargo that must be transported with equipment available for transport.

 

"If there is an app that could streamline things at the port, it would be what we need here," Gill said.

 

Online Edition

 

OAKLAND -- An old-line business, the Port of Oakland, is using one of the world's newest technologies, an app designed to help truckers cope with busy cargo gates at the shipping hub, the port said Wednesday.

 

"This could definitely be helpful and would be worth it," said Bruce Gill, owner of Union City-based Bay City Express, a trucking firm.

 

The app is available on the Google Play store for Android phones and the Apple store for the iPhone, the port said.

 

Feb 20, 2014

Freight Watch: Cargo Theft Risk Mexico Remains Severe

Mexico is among the world’s most at-risk countries for cargo theft, according to a new report from FreightWatch International. FreightWatch, which specializes in tracking supply chain information and cargo thefts around the globe, published a report Wednesday, Feb. 19, on the security risk for both over-the-road and rail freight in Mexico. According to the report, Mexico joined Brazil and South Africa as the only three non-warring countries to earn a “Severe” risk rating...

Mexico is among the world’s most at-risk countries for cargo theft, according to a new report from FreightWatch International. FreightWatch, which specializes in tracking supply chain information and cargo thefts around the globe, published a report Wednesday, Feb. 19, on the security risk for both over-the-road and rail freight in Mexico. According to the report, Mexico joined Brazil and South Africa as the only three non-warring countries to earn a “Severe” risk rating...

Aug 28, 2009

$11.3 Million for transit improvements in California

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announces $11.3 million in ARRA funds for transit improvements in California. The following grants are being awarded:
City of Santa Maria Area Transit: $2.5 million for construction of the Santa Maria Intermodal Transit Center, three buses, and five vans. L.A.County Metropolitan Transportation Authority: $6.8 million for the Metro Red Line Subway Escalator Canopy Project. Tahoe City in CA: $2 mil for the construction of the Tahoe City Transit Center.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announces $11.3 million in ARRA funds for transit improvements in California. The following grants are being awarded:
City of Santa Maria Area Transit: $2.5 million for construction of the Santa Maria Intermodal Transit Center, three buses, and five vans. L.A.County Metropolitan Transportation Authority: $6.8 million for the Metro Red Line Subway Escalator Canopy Project. Tahoe City in CA: $2 mil for the construction of the Tahoe City Transit Center.

Oct 24, 2018

Ports Group Supports Senate Bill 3587

Online Edition

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) … the unified and recognized voice of America’s seaports … today voiced strong support for a bill (S.3587) introduced on Oct. 11 by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the ranking Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee. His proposed legislation would enhance the nation’s freight systems by making key investments in ports, railways and intermodal hubs.

Specifically, S. 3587 aims to improve the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects Program, also known as INFRA, which was created as part of Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

“The American Association of Port Authorities strongly supports Senator Carper’s legislative initiative that repeals the multimodal cap on the discretionary grant program created in the FAST Act,” said AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle. “Sustainable multimodal funding is a top AAPA priority and the association greatly appreciates the senator’s work to advance legislation that is both timely and very much needed.”

Of the $11 billion of freight funding provided in the FAST Act, only $1.13 billion is multimodal eligible, and of that, only $200 million in multimodal eligibility remains available for INFRA grants.

In an August 29, 2018 letter to Sen. Carper, Mr. Nagle wrote that AAPA appreciates the senator’s work on the FAST Act that created the first freight funding program in which ports are eligible recipients. “To build off the work in the Fast Act,” said Mr. Nagle, “AAPA believes that freight program funding should be 100 percent multimodal.” He added that since the FAST Act required states to complete state freight plans to receive additional FAST Act funding, 90 percent of states have complied. “This signals that states recognize the value of multimodal projects, and they recognize that ports are the linchpins for this activity.”

Cargo activities at America’s seaports are significant drivers of the U.S. economy, supporting more than 23 million American jobs and generating over $320 billion in annual federal, state and local taxes. All but 1 percent of the nation’s overseas trade moves through its maritime facilities, and U.S. seaport cargo activities account for more than one-quarter of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

Online Edition

May 04, 2016

California Invests Millions In Cleaning Up Trucks Around Major Ports

California air quality agencies will pour $23.6 million into low-emission and zero-emission trucks to clean up air pollution at state’s ports.

 

The money will pay to deploy 43 zero-emission battery electric and low-emission plug-in hybrid drayage trucks to serve major California port areas.

 

Drayage trucks are short-haul vehicles used in ports, rail yards and surrounding areas to transport goods, often between ships and trains.

 

The project “will accelerate the commercialization of advanced zero-emission truck technologies that are vital to improving air quality in communities near our busy freight corridors,” said Joe Buscaino, a Los Angeles city councilman and South Coast Air Quality Management District board member.

 

“Cleaner truck fleets on our roadways are important for air quality and climate goals, and essential to protecting public health,” he said.

 

Funds for the project are coming come from California’s cap-and-trade carbon emissions reduction program and air quality agencies.

 

The pollution fighting pilot project is “critical for our major ports in California if we are going to meet are air quality and greenhouse gas standards,” Sandra Berg, a member of the California Air Resources Board, told Trucks.com.

 

The program targets drayage vehicles because they are among the oldest and dirtiest on California roads, Berg said.

 

“This project will help put the very cleanest short-haul trucks to work where they are needed most, moving cargo from the state’s biggest ports to distribution centers and rail yards,” said Mary D. Nichols, chair of Air Resources Board.

 

Manufacturers building vehicles for the project include Volvo Group North America’s Mack Trucks, Paccar’s Peterbilt and Kenworth brands and BYD Motors, a Chinese company.

 

“Other fleets will take notice and recognize that battery-powered drayage trucks are reliable and available for wider deployment today,” Stella Li, president of BYD Motors.

 

BYD will deliver its first battery-electric drayage truck this fall, Li said.

 

Volvo is already experimenting with diesel-electric plug-in hybrid big-rig tractors.  One can travel in electric mode with a full load for up to 10 miles, said Dawn Fenton, spokeswoman for the Swedish truck company.

 

Electronics on the truck can switch it from diesel to electric power when it is operating in a port or traveling through a community with poor air quality on its way to a distribution center or railhead.

 

Scrubbing the pollution from California’s drayage truck system is a tall order.

 

“Today’s announcement is a good starting point,” said John Boesel, chief executive at Calstart. “To help these trucks become commercially viable, California will need to sustain investment in this sector over the next several years.”

 

The technology might provide a blueprint for reducing emissions in other large trucks.

 

“We are hoping we can transfer what we learn to long haul trucks,” Berg said. “We know the jury is still out on whether they can perform at such low emission with their heavy duty drive cycles, but know we start to get some real time data on whether that can happen.”

 

Freight transport accounts for about half of toxic diesel particulate matter, 45 percent of the emissions of that form ozone and fine particulate matter in the atmosphere, and 6 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in California, according to the air resources board.

 

 

California air quality agencies will pour $23.6 million into low-emission and zero-emission trucks to clean up air pollution at state’s ports.

 

The money will pay to deploy 43 zero-emission battery electric and low-emission plug-in hybrid drayage trucks to serve major California port areas.

 

Drayage trucks are short-haul vehicles used in ports, rail yards and surrounding areas to transport goods, often between ships and trains.