Record-breaking snowfall and winds have stranded truckers and other travelers on a 132-mile stretch of the New York State Thruway that’s been shut down for nearly two days.
“It’s bad; it’s definitely an emergency situation out there,” said Kendra Hems, president of the New York State Motor Truck Association.
“I don’t know what the exact number is, but they have vehicles that are basically buried, both cars and trucks,” Hems said. “And it’s not just the Thruway. It’s other roads in the area.”
Cars and trucks are stranded on shoulders, in highway lanes and on access and exit ramps, she said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency, and the National Guard is helping clear snow and rescue stranded motorists.
“They’re running against time, though, because there’s another storm system coming through that could dump another 2 to 3 inches of snow,” Hems said.
Tandem trucks were ordered off at about 3 a.m. Tuesday morning, and within two hours, the stretch of the highway running east-west through Buffalo into Pennsylvania was closed, she added.
Right now, the most important task is to rescue stranded motorists and get vehicles off the roads so they can be reopened, Hems said.
“I think their decision to shut the road was made in a fairly timely fashion based on the information they were given,” she added. “I think where the questions are going to be and what needs to be discussed to hopefully prevent this in the future is ‘OK, well, now you’ve shut the road down, what do we do about getting everybody off it and where do you put everybody that’s trying to get on it?’ ”
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not expect to publish its final rule mandating the use of electronic logging devices for carriers until Sept. 30, 2015, the agency said in its November significant rulemakings report.
The rule would not be effective until two years after it is finalized.
Other regulatory projections affecting truckers:
• The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it will send its heavy-duty truck speed-limiters proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget next month, and publish the rule March 16, 2015.
• FMCSA plans to send its carrier safety fitness determination rule to OMB in late December and publish its proposed rule April 2, 2015. The rule would replace the current SafeStat system using Compliance, Safety, Accountability data to rate carriers as satisfactory, conditional or unsatisfactory.
• FMCSA left unchanged its plan to publish an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking this month that will explore whether to raise the current $750,000 insurance minimum for carriers. The ANPRM will seek comments from carriers to assist the agency in deciding whether to move forward with a proposed rule.
• FMCSA expects to issue its final drug and alcohol clearinghouse rule Oct. 30, 2015, and a final rule prohibiting the coercion of drivers by carriers and brokers on Sept. 10, 2015.
We're finishing up this week SCDigest's regularly quarterly review of the results and comments from leading transportation carriers by mode, this week for the less-than-truckload carriers, as the last of them finished up their Q3 2014 earnings reports in the last few weeks.
Last week, we covered the US rail carriers (see Rail Carriers Enjoy Mostly Blow Out Q3 on Strong Volume Growth) and the week before the truckload sector (see Q3 2014 Truckload Carrier Review and Comment).
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More than 100 groups that are concerned about the direction of newly contentious West Coast port contract talks asked President Obama to name a federal mediator to foster a settlement.
“While the parties to the negotiation stated earlier this year that they would continue operations throughout the negotiations, we have seen crisis levels of congestion at the ports since September,” said the letter signed by American Trucking Associations, the National Retail Federation and the Transportation Intermediaries Association. “Both parties recently issued press releases accusing each other of reneging on this commitment.”
Earlier this week, the Pacific Maritime Association, the management negotiators representing ocean carriers and terminal operators, claimed the International Longshore & Warehouse Union orchestrated slowdowns in Pacific Northwest ports. After the union denied that was the first public outburst since talks began, PMA said similar disruptions began in Los Angeles and Long Beach, the largest U.S. ports.
“The sudden change in tone is alarming and suggests that a full shutdown of every West Coast port may be imminent,” said the letter, also signed by the Retail Industry Leaders Association and groups representing importers of goods including shoes and wood products. “The impact this would have on jobs, downstream consumers, and the business operations of exporters, importers, retailers, transportation providers, manufacturers and other stakeholders would be catastrophic.”
There was no immediate comment from the White House.
The six-year port contract expired July 1. Talks began six months ago. The groups expressed concern that there could be a repetition of a 2002 lockout, which for 10 days paralyzed freight transport in the world’s largest consumer market.
Third quarter net income for Fort Smith-based ArcBest was $19.618 million, well ahead of the $13.982 million in the same quarter of 2013, and thanks in large part to an almost 10% gain in ABF Freight revenue.
Per share earnings of 72 cents missed the consensus estimate of 75 cents. Excluding a one-time charge for a pension settlement, the per share earnings were 74 cents.
Click here to read more at The City Wire.
The truck driver was once the king of the road, riding high from the 1950s through the 1970s. Sitting up in the tractor, pulling an eighteen-wheler, looking out over America's city streets and country roads and highways, he--back then, the driver was almost always a he--earned a good money, often had health benefits, and may well have had a pension plan.
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A new poll commissioned by a coalition of highway safety groups found that 80% of Americans believe Congress should not raise the number of hours a truck driver can be on the road to 82 hours from 70.
American Trucking Associations called the results “misleading,” while Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called them a “game changer” that shows the public understands “too many hours on the road” leads to crashes.
Click here to read more at Transport Topics.
October 17, 2014: FedEx Freight workers in Philadelphia voted for this first time to join the Teamsters. Con-way workers in Laredo did the same. How can we build on this momentum?
For the first time in years, there’s excitement in the air about Teamster organizing in the trucking industry. Can we turn that into some real Teamster power?
Local 657 organized the Laredo Con-way terminal. Local 107 lost a vote at FedEx Freight in New Jersey, but then won the NLRB vote at the Philadelphia terminal. These were the first-ever organizing wins at FedEx or Con-way terminals.
The companies are starting to respond, with both threats and pay hikes.
Other locals are taking action. There are organizing votes scheduled at several FedEx Freight and Con-way terminals in the next few weeks, from Los Angeles to Harrisburg Pa. Leaders of several locals report that FedEx Freight and Con-way workers in their areas are ready to organize.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) supports this organizing in a core Teamster industry and urges locals and members to get involved and turn this into a movement.
So far, the International union has not put major resources in the campaign: no financial backing to locals, no boots on the ground.
The IBT Organizing Department has held biweekly conference calls for locals to exchange information, and designed leaflets and signs. That’s a start. But no local union’s resources can be a match for the anti-union campaigns of these corporate giants.
Local unions and freight workers are stepping up to take action. The IBT needs to get behind this movement and help drive it to victory.
The Hoffa administration has to put some power behind our freight Teamsters. The best field organizers are freight Teamsters who are proud of our union.
Troy Justis, an ABF driver in Columbus Local 413 summed it up: “It’s great that we’re finally making some gains in organizing FedEx Freight and Con-way. But if we’re going to win on a wide scale, we need to shore up Teamster pride in freight. That starts with much better contract enforcement.”
FedEx Freight and Con-way Freight, two of the largest non-union LTL carriers in the nation, are battling organizing efforts by the Teamsters union in a closely watched unionization effort.
Workers at FedEx Freight’s Philadelphia facility recently voted 28-16 in favor of representation by the Teamsters union. That follows a rejection of union organization weeks earlier by FedEx Freight workers in Cinnaminson, N.J., a suburb of Philadelphia.
Click here to read more at Logistics Managment.
FedEx Freight drivers at a Philadelphia terminal voted in favor of Teamsters representation, becoming the first workers at the less-than-truckload carrier to become union members.
The vote by a reported 26-18 margin came four days after drivers at the Cinnaminson, New Jersey, terminal voted against becoming Teamsters. The New Jersey vote was the first-ever unionization balloting at the nation’s largest less-than-truckload company. No vote count was disclosed for the New Jersey vote.
Click here to read more at Transport Topics.