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.

 

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.

 

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.

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

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.

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...

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.

 

May 01, 2018

Green Terminals

Print Edition

In November of 2017, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and their industry partners, approved an update of the Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) toward further green technology efforts in the region.

"We believe this CAAP update allows us to take the next step in our ongoing efforts to reduce emissions at the ports," says Chris Cannon, Director of Environmental Management at the Port of Los Angeles. "We've now added, Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) as an expressed goal for emission reduction in addition to health risk and criteria pollutants."

The CAAP program started 12 years ago, and since that time, its purpose has been to identify programs to reduce emissions from port-related operations.

The Port is committed to testing all-electric equipment in pursuit of zero emissions. A number of tests have been carried out on small equipment, and now, larger machinery tests are in the prototype phase.

By 2030, the Port is estimating it will have its terminals running at zero emissions, and by 2035, drayage trucks will also operate on zero emissions technologies. "This is something the mayor has said is a top priority here for environmental programs," says Cannon.

Cannon reports that programs to reduce surface water runoff and discharge from various sources into the Bay have been very successful. "As a result of that, and ongoing programs we have working with tenants, we rarely exceed water quality standards here in the harbor. We have a thriving biological habitat for fish and plant life and marine plant life," he adds.

Off-Grid Energy

Two innovative environmental projects are now being implemented. One includes installing solar panels on the roofs of the warehouses at the Pasha Terminal, which is a Green Omni Terminal (accepts container, cargo and bulk freight cargo). Solar power will be harvested and stored in onsite large industrial batteries that can handle up to 2 megawatts, that will enable equipment operating at the terminal to be zero emissions and run 24/7.

"They'll be able to plug into this battery storage device and it will allow the terminal to operate completely off the grid, which we believe is a model for all kinds of industrial facilities, not just at a port," says Cannon. "We believe no other terminal in the world will do that. Is under development, and over the next 18 months, we think it will be operational."

In what Cannon believes is another first, the Port will work alongside its Evergreen Terminal to test yard trucks by comparing the use of renewable natural gas versus battery-electric power.

At the same terminal testing the world's first battery-electric top handlers is also being done. "Up until now, it's been thought there's not a battery big enough to do it. We think we've found a battery solution with the help of a battery company from China," explains Cannon. "We think it's going to be one of the most advanced and forward-thinking operations here at the Port as far as testing zero emissions equipment. The micro grid will be able to operate without using any [outside] power, which could also be important in the event of a natural disaster."

BC Power

Next year, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority will celebrate 10 years offering shore power to shore power-enabled cruise vessels, and by the end of this year, two container terminals at the Centerm Terminal at DeltaPort will also offer shore power.

The Port Authority was the first in Canada to install shore power in 2009, and usage has steadily increased over the decade. Approximately 40 percent of total calls use shore power. "There's one plug at each berth, but there's also just one ship at each berth. It works well. We try to align the vessels that are shore-power enabled with the equipment so if they're able to, they can plug in," says Carmen Ortega, Manager of Trade Development.

This year, a new-to-the-port, shore power-enabled Norwegian Jewel is also coming to call. "The ships are all configured differently where the plugs are located, so we just have to do some work on our part to make sure we can make the equipment align with their plugs," says Ortega.

While using shore power is not a Port requirement, programs like the Port's EcoAction Incentive program provide up to 50 percent reduction in harbor dues for marine carriers that participate.

The Port also offers the Blue Circle Award, which recognizes the lines that participate in the EcoAction program. Vessel operators can apply for the program at each call or provide an annual declaration for their vessels.

Since 2009, the Port Authority has seen 493 successful connections out of 624 calls that are able to connect, which equates to a total of 58,000 tons of fuel savings, more than 18,000 tons of GHG emission reductions and 524 tons of air pollutant reductions.

The Port is expecting another successful season, with eight percent growth this year. "The cruise lines in general do a good job of looking into green technologies like scrubbers," says Ortega. "It's great to be able to recognize them through our fees but also through the Blue Circle Awards that we have."

Noise reduction is also a focus in the effort to help the environment. Last year, the Port embarked on a voluntary vessel slow-down trial as part of the Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Program, initiated in 2014, in order to better understand the impact of shipping activities – the region's at-risk whale population. "There was around a 60 percent participation rate across all our shipping lines," says Ortega. "For a voluntary program, it was quite successful."

Cleaner Air

In late March, the Puget Sound Maritime Air Forum released its emissions inventory report showing that some air pollutants from ocean-going vessels have decreased by 97 percent between 2005 and 2016.

The Forum, which consists of seven Puget Sound ports, three industrial partners, and six government agencies, are working hard to make the region as green as possible.

In 2007, the Port of Seattle seaport, the Port of Tacoma and Port Metro Vancouver, Canada, initiated the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy. The goal of the Strategy is to reduce diesel and greenhouse gas emissions in advance of, and complementary to, applicable regulations.

The ports have worked with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, the US EPA, Environment Canada, Washington State Department of Ecology, and industry and community stakeholders to craft and implement the strategy. While the strategy outlines shared performance measures, each port has implemented emission reduction programs appropriate to its operations.

Every five years since 2005, the numbers demonstrate that much progress has been made. "With this 2016 report, we've seen reductions in sulphur and associated particular matter emissions that can cause respiratory irritation," says Sara Cederberg, Senior Manager, Air Quality and Sustainable Practices for the Northwest Seaport Alliance.

On the oceangoing vessel side, the North American Emission Control Area came into effect in 2015, mandating that within 200 miles of the US and Canadian coastlines, vessels must burn ultra-low sulphur fuel. "We've measure everything from the J-buoy out at the end of the straight of Juan de Fuca in our inventory," says Cederberg, "and we've seen a huge amount of emission reduction from transiting vessels."

On the land side, there have also been lower sulphur fuel standards put in place for diesel, for both on-road and off-road from truck emissions and also from equipment on terminals.

The Clean Truck program at the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma has shown a reduction of emissions by upgrading trucks to 2007 engine standards which are about 90 percent cleaner than older models.

"Overall, we've seen a huge reduction in particulate matter, so much so that we've met the goals of our Northwest Clean Air Strategy four years ahead of schedule," says Cederberg. "We've also seen a slight decrease in GHG emissions. But those emissions are pretty closely tied to activity levels. As our operations continue to grow, we'll be looking at different strategies to help reduce both diesel particulate matter and greenhouse gas emissions."

This year, for the first time, the inventory includes black carbon emissions, however, additional research is needed on estimating black carbon because there are few widely agreed upon emission factors for mobile sources.

The collaboration of stakeholders in this effort has resulted in partnerships that may not otherwise have come to work closely together, says Cederberg. "We've been able to accomplish a lot more through this collaboration."

Carrier Incentives

The Port of Prince Rupert and its partners work closely together to reduce carbon emissions from port-related operations. For example, the Fairview Container Terminal is shore power ready. Terminal partners are continually investing in new green technologies that increase fuel efficiency with vehicles and equipment. And the Port's Green Wave program offers shipping lines financial incentives that reward cleaner and quieter vessels.

In addition, ongoing measurements of particulate matter are carried out regularly at the Port's Westview Terminal, which draws volumes of air in and measures the concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 in the air. There are many sources of variances in readings due to regional area influences as well as other factors, which requires long term monitoring to assess how best to reduce particulate matter as much as possible.

The Port's Invasive Species program, which began in 2012, is a partnership with the Northwest Community College, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Invasive Tunicate Network's Plate Watch program. "To date, we have not seen any invasive species in the harbor," reports Jason Scherr, Manager, Environmental Sustainability. Invasive species have several modes of transport, including Tsunami drift, fishing vessels, tugs, barges and commercial vessels, he points out.

"We use the Plate Watch program to look for tunicates which are sea squirts and some of those invasive species that can impact shellfish harvest operations," he explains. "The other invasive species that we're looking for, with a small boat with traps, is the European green crab, which started down in California and has been working its way up the coast. We have not yet seen any green crab here, but we know they're down in the central coast, so we're keeping an eye out for when they may show up at a certain point."

Scherr reports that a partnership to monitor marine water quality has been in place for six years, that samples approximately 30 sites around the harbour. "We've also been working with other partners to map shorelines on the North Coast, taking high digital imagery and then classifying either physical or biological attributes," he says.

Next year, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority will celebrate 10 years offering shore power to shore power-enabled cruise vessels. Photos courtesy of the Port of Vancouver.

The Port's Marine Mammal program was launched in 2015 with participation from members of the Port Environmental Stewardship Committee. Various partners work to gather data and educate mariners about the dangers of vessel collisions and noise impact on the regions whales, porpoises and dolphins.

In fact, last spring, in partnership with the Port of Vancouver, DFO and the Vancouver Aquarium, the Port released the Mariner's Guide to Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises of Western Canada. The guide also provides information on how to report sightings. In 2017, the Port of Prince Rupert added underwater noise criteria to its Green Wave incentive program.

"There are no regulations around underwater noise," says Scherr. "The addition of underwater noise to incentive programs is something very new. Ourselves and the Port of Vancouver are taking the first steps in terms of leading that."

Print Edition

In November of 2017, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and their industry partners, approved an update of the Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) toward further green technology efforts in the region.

"We believe this CAAP update allows us to take the next step in our ongoing efforts to reduce emissions at the ports," says Chris Cannon, Director of Environmental Management at the Port of Los Angeles. "We've now added, Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) as an expressed goal for emission reduction in addition to health risk and criteria pollutants."