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May 01, 2008

Rail Plan Lowers Accident Rates

The number of train accidents in the U.S. decreases by 23.3 percent from 2004 to 2007. According to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation's National Rail Safety Action Plan Final Report.

The number of train accidents in the U.S. decreases by 23.3 percent from 2004 to 2007. According to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation's National Rail Safety Action Plan Final Report.

Dec 14, 2011

US Congress Eyes Freight Mobility Fund

The US House of Representatives introduces a National Freight Mobility Infrastructure Act, a bill that will provide federal funding for freight infrastructure and transport improvements throughout the country.

The US House of Representatives introduces a National Freight Mobility Infrastructure Act, a bill that will provide federal funding for freight infrastructure and transport improvements throughout the country.

Sep 17, 2009

Morocco - ports vessel traffic management, security and surveillance system

The Grantee invites submission of qualifications and
proposal data (collectively referred to as the "Proposal") from interested U.S. firms that are qualified on the basis of experience and capability to develop a feasibility study for a Ports Vessel Traffic Management and Security and Surveillance System in Morocco. Morocco's 33 ports, of
which 12 are open to international commerce, handled 76.8 million tons (41.7 million tons import, 26.2 million tons export and 8.9 million tons transshipment through Tangier Med). Full program details in below link.

The Grantee invites submission of qualifications and
proposal data (collectively referred to as the "Proposal") from interested U.S. firms that are qualified on the basis of experience and capability to develop a feasibility study for a Ports Vessel Traffic Management and Security and Surveillance System in Morocco. Morocco's 33 ports, of
which 12 are open to international commerce, handled 76.8 million tons (41.7 million tons import, 26.2 million tons export and 8.9 million tons transshipment through Tangier Med). Full program details in below link.

Article link
Aug 17, 2016

Hyperloop to Be Studies for Ports

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Los Angeles – Hyperloop technology is fast-tracking into the freight sector.

Hyperloop One Inc., one of two companies racing to build the futuristic speed-of-sound transportation technology, announced a new partnership with DP World, one of the word’s largest port-terminal operators.

 

Hyperloop One and DP World will work together to study the viability of using hyperloop technology to unload ocean-container cargo at the Jebel Ali port in Dubai. Containers would travel swiftly via hyperloop to an inland depot, while minimizing the impact on local surface traffic.

 

Hyperloop, a concept popularized in recent years by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, is a technology that would transport people or cargo suspended capsules through mile-long near-vacuum tubes at speeds reaching more than 700 mile, or 1,120 kilometers an hour.

 

“we have to be creative to sustain our business,” said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chiarman and chief executive of DP World, at a news conference at Hyperloop One’s offices in Los Angeles on Monday. “This is a game changer for the terminal handling operation as it is today.”

 

Dubai’s Jebel Ali port last year handled about the same volume of cargo as the Southern California port complex, which includes the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, but it is growing quickly, Mr. Sulayem said. With nearly 8,000 port related businesses in Dubai, and thousands of vehicles visiting the port each day, he said, “congestion is a way of life.”

 

The DP World feasibility study will explore design, cost and financing options, and it will include studying the possibility of an offshore, floating hyperloop. That concept would enable containers to be taken from a ship, placed into the tube, then transported directly to an inland hub rather than requiring handling and taking up space on the docks.

 

If hyperloop works in Jebel Ali, Mr. Sulayem said, “this will re-engineer our thinking world-wide.” DP World operates 77 cargo terminals in more than 40 countries.

 

The announcement comes as ports around the world are working both to improve efficiency and reduce emissions, after decades of global trade growth have increased traffic congestion and pollution in port-adjacent communities. The Dubai port is one of several where Hyperloop One’s engineers are studying the application of their technology to move cargo. The firm is also conducting freight-related feasibility studies in the U.S. Switzerland and Russia.

 

The first hyperloop could easily happen in Dubai,: said Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd. While technology has been discussed widely as a speedy means of passenger transportation, Mr. Llyod said freight may be the first step.

 

“Our intuition and discussions with regulators have told us start first with freight,” Mr. Lloyd said. “That’s why we’re pretty excited about these projects.”

 

In Southern California where Hyperloop One is based, the firm has teamed up with AECOM and GRID Logistics Inc. to study the feasibility at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the largest container port complex in the U.S.

 

Mr. Lloyd said hyperloop technology has advantages over proposed ail-transfer facilities that have recently hit setbacks in Southern California, including a BNSF Railway Co. rail yard that lost a court battle after the neighboring community objected to the environmental impact.

 

“The things that prevented BNSF’s project don’t apply to hyperloop,” Mr. Lloyd said. “We could directly from the dock to hyperloop, to rail yards or the Inland Empire in the future.” The Inland Empire is an area east of Los Angeles that is a popular transportation and logistics hub.

 

 

Print Edition

 

Los Angeles – Hyperloop technology is fast-tracking into the freight sector.

Hyperloop One Inc., one of two companies racing to build the futuristic speed-of-sound transportation technology, announced a new partnership with DP World, one of the word’s largest port-terminal operators.

 

Jul 24, 2017

Amazon, Wal-Mart Spar Over Forklifts

Print Edition

The rivalry between Walmart Stores Inc. and AMazon.com has reached the warehouse forklift.

Wal-Mart secured the right to invest in Plug Power Inc. by buying more of its fuel-cell-powered machines, a move that mirrors a deal struck by Amazon earlier this year.

Discussions "were going on simultaneously" with the two retailers starting late last year, said Plug Power Chief Executive Andy Marsh.

Under the deal announced Friday, Wal-Mart will roll out Plug Power's forlifts and warehouse vehicles to 10 distribution centers this year, an investment the manufacturer valued at $80 million. Wal-Mart is already Plug Power's biggest customer, with 5,500 of the company's units in 22 warehouses.

In April, Amazon agree to spend $70 million on Plug Power's vehicles and received rights to buy as many as 55.3 million shares in the company a 19% stake.

Wal-Mart will receive warrants to purcahse the same number of shares, though its initial price will be higher than Amazon's because Plug Power's vehicles and stock has risen 63% since announcing its Amazon deal. Wal-Mart's potential stake is 17%, Mr. Marsh said.

The warrants vest based on how much the two retailers spend on Plug Power's products and services. Wal-Mart and Amazon would need to spend $600 million each for all their warrants to vest.

Plug Power's vehicles are powered by hydrogen fuel cell as an alternative to lead acid batteries. Through a chemical reaction, fuel cells convert natural gas, hydrogen or other gases into electricity. Traditional batteries need to be changed more often and the process is slower than recharging a forklift powered by fuel cells, Plug Power executives say.

Plug power also sells fuel cell powered vehicles to Home Depot Inc., Kroger Co., and others. It generated $85.9 million of revenue in 2016, and Wal-Mart accounted for 34% of it. But the company hasn't had annual profit since its founding in 1997.

The Latham, NY company's once highflying stock tumbled as low as 12 cents in 2013. The shares closed Friday at $2.44. Amazon and Wal-Mart are investing heavily in technology to make their warehouses more efficient to keep with surging online order volumes.

 

Print Edition

The rivalry between Walmart Stores Inc. and AMazon.com has reached the warehouse forklift.

Wal-Mart secured the right to invest in Plug Power Inc. by buying more of its fuel-cell-powered machines, a move that mirrors a deal struck by Amazon earlier this year.

Discussions "were going on simultaneously" with the two retailers starting late last year, said Plug Power Chief Executive Andy Marsh.

May 12, 2016

Port-Trucking Firms Run Into Labor Dispute

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LOS ANGELES—The nation’s busiest ports are emerging as a key battleground in the legal fight over whether truck drivers should be counted as employees or independent contractors.

Several trucking companies operating at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles have filed for bankruptcy protection in recent months, citing mounting costs to settle hundreds of legal claims. These operators haul containers from the docks to rail yards and freight depots, a key journey of just a few miles that allows major retailers and manufacturers to quickly move their imported goods to stores and factories across the country.

The bankruptcies in the trucking sector come as some higher-profile cases in the debate over employee status are paying out hefty settlements. Ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc. agreed to pay as much as $100 million to drivers last month, and delivery company FedEx Corp. reached a $228 million settlement last year. But in the $12 billion-a-year port-trucking business, known as drayage, where hundreds of small operators compete on thin margins, the cost to settle similar claims can be overwhelming, analysts say.

The turmoil raises questions about the future of short-haul trucking at the nation’s ports. Litigation with drivers and the higher cost of full-time labor could force drayage operators to charge more for their services or it could put them out of business entirely, reducing the overall number of carriers and raising costs for shippers, analysts say.

The trucking industry is bracing for the classification fight to spread to other ports. “As most things go in trucking...California leads the way,” said Curtis Whalen of the American Trucking Associations, an industry group. “Having this hanging over your head is obviously not good.”

Since 2011, 799 complaints have been filed against port-trucking companies with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office, alleging drivers were misclassified as independent contractors and denied the wages and benefits afforded to full-time employees. A total of more than $35 million has been awarded to drivers in those cases, according to the Labor Commissioner’s Office.

Over a dozen class-action lawsuits alleging misclassification at the port-trucking companies are pending in California courts. And the National Labor Relations Board recently filed a complaint against a California port-trucking company that is one of the first to include the allegation that drivers’ misclassification as independent contractors violates the National Labor Relations Act.

Some trucking companies say the drivers filing legal claims over misclassification amount to a relatively small number in the Southern California industry. “Most drivers aren’t looking to become employees,” said Weston LaBar, executive director of the Harbor Trucking Association, which represents trucking companies at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Noel Perry, an economist with FTR Transportation Intelligence, a freight-market analysis firm, estimates that there are about 2,000 port-trucking companies nationally. Drayage companies tend to be small, running 100 trucks or fewer.

Publicly traded logistics company Hub Group Inc. recently closed its Southern California ports operation, a little over a year after converting the local fleet from independent contractors to full-time drivers, citing “unsustainable” costs.

Last month Pacific 9 Transportation filed for bankruptcy protection, citing among its debts nearly $7 million it owes to drivers after losing several claims before the state labor commissioner. Premium Transportation Services Inc., one of the largest port-trucking businesses in Southern California, filed for bankruptcy protection in March, telling the court it couldn’t afford the costs of litigation with drivers. A handful of other port-trucking companies in California have made similar claims in bankruptcy filings in recent years, and some have shut down.

“Unless everybody else is forced to use the same [full-time] labor, these companies won’t be able to raise their prices to pay for it,” said FTR’s Mr. Perry.

As many as 25,000 drayage drivers, the vast majority of them independent, make the trek to and from port terminals in California every day. For many of them, their independent status means they can theoretically make more money than full-time employee drivers, depending on how many loads they carry each day.

Justice for Port Drivers, a campaign supported by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, is organizing drayage drivers at ports around the country—most heavily in Southern California. The organizers say that trucking companies push their costs, such as fuel, insurance, maintenance and lease payments, onto the drivers. And they say they’re not compensated for many of the hours they work, such as the time spent waiting in line to pick up goods.

Drivers at drayage firms owned by XPO Logistics Inc. say they were improperly classified as contractors and are owed up to $200 million in unpaid wages. A handful attended the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday to voice their concerns.

“We have excellent relationships with our employees and the owner operators who serve our customers,” an XPO spokesman said on Tuesday.

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office last week began offering port-trucking companies “amnesty” from any penalties they’ve incurred for misclassifying drivers if they voluntarily make their drivers full-time employees and provide back pay. The state Department of Industrial Relations said Tuesday that no companies have applied for the program so far.

Jackie Mattare, president of trucking company Desert Express, said she has employed full-time drivers for 20 years and she thinks other operators should, too. If everyone faced the same employment costs, rates for drayage services wouldn’t be so low, Ms. Mattare said, “and the industry will become a safer and more viable place to work.”

—Loretta Chao contributed to this article.

Write to Erica E. Phillips at erica.phillips@wsj.com

Print Edition

LOS ANGELES—The nation’s busiest ports are emerging as a key battleground in the legal fight over whether truck drivers should be counted as employees or independent contractors.

Feb 09, 2011

Bank Would End 'Bridges To Nowhere'

The Obama administration's budget proposal calls for creation of a national infrastructure bank that selects major projects for federal backing, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says. Such a system would take some spending decisions out of Congress' hands.

The Obama administration's budget proposal calls for creation of a national infrastructure bank that selects major projects for federal backing, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says. Such a system would take some spending decisions out of Congress' hands.

Jul 21, 2015

California Bridge Collapse May Delay Freight, Raise Shipping Costs

Online Edition

The shutdown of Interstate 10, a major east-west cargo corridor, will push trucks 100 miles to the north or south, adding time and cost to deliveries.

The partial shutdown of an interstate highway between California and Arizona following a bridge collapse could raise shipping costs and delay deliveries for retailers and other shippers in the coming weeks.

The 100-mile stretch of Interstate 10, which carries more than 25,000 cars and trucks daily—nearly a third of them commercial vehicles—was closed indefinitely after a deluge of water, mud and rocks flushed out supporting soil under one end of the bridge at Tex Wash, in Desert Center, Calif., about 40 miles west of the California-Arizona state line.

The freeway is a primary route into the country’s interior from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation’s largest hub for ocean container cargo. Trucked goods travel on I-10 through California’s Riverside County, part of the region known as the Inland Empire which stretches east from the Los Angeles Basin to the Arizona border and houses millions of square feet of warehouse space.

“It’s warehoused here until it’s demanded—wherever they want it,” said John Husing, an economist who studies the Inland Empire region. “This is going to slow down that ability to get it there.”

The California Department of Transportation has advised drivers to use alternative east-west routes, including I-40 to the north—around Joshua Tree National Park—and I-8, which runs to the south along the Mexico-U.S. border. Caltrans also warned of continuing thunderstorms in the area this week.

Tony Bradley, president of the Arizona Trucking Association, said the association’s member companies have alerting customers to the delays and extra costs. Phoenix, one of the nation’s largest metro areas and about a day’s drive from the Southern California ports, is home to many trucking companies, large and small.

The current detours add as much as 100 extra miles to drivers’ routes, Mr. Bradley said, which will raise costs for those shippers that pay a set rate per mile plus surcharges for fuel. And the extra time means some drivers may meet their daily time limits before reaching their destination.

Mr. Bradley said he’s “anxious to see a timeline” for when the work will be complete, to “bring some stability back to the supply chain.”

A smooth logistics system depends on working infrastructure, Mr. Husing said. “This obviously hurts the efficiency of the system.”

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Transportation said the bridge was “healthy, happy and fine until a wall of water hit it.” In an inspection earlier this year, the overpass received a 91.5 score out of 100 for structural integrity, Doug Hecox of the U.S. DOT said.

Caltrans officials said Tuesday that the agency will reopen the freeway Friday and reroute eastbound traffic—the side that collapsed—to the westbound side of the freeway, reducing both directions to one lane. The agency inspected other bridges in the area and found two that needed “minor repairs,” which were completed Tuesday. Work to repair the collapsed bridge will begin this week.

Online Edition

The shutdown of Interstate 10, a major east-west cargo corridor, will push trucks 100 miles to the north or south, adding time and cost to deliveries.

The partial shutdown of an interstate highway between California and Arizona following a bridge collapse could raise shipping costs and delay deliveries for retailers and other shippers in the coming weeks.

Aug 29, 2006

Hostages to Traffic, Swedes Will Vote on High-Tech Plan to

Stockhlm tests one of the world's most sophisticated traffic-management systems as part of a plan to reduce gridlock, lower smog levels and improve quality of life in the city.

Stockhlm tests one of the world's most sophisticated traffic-management systems as part of a plan to reduce gridlock, lower smog levels and improve quality of life in the city.