Barge Lines Want U.S. to Pay Cost of River Improvements

i8fIgENt3LT8 It is a rare top about infrastructure cost in water carrier section of transportation. As we all know  the most significant advantage of water transportation is almost none fix cost, because Mother Nature provide channels free for all the human beings. However, this proposal aim to increase a fuel tax 6 cent per gallon on commercial river-boat operators, big river user like U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who would end up pay 100million on inland water transportation. the cost seems like a variable cost but actually a  cost for infrastructure.

The argument about this proposal is mainly about benefiters and payer of this tax rise. Lawmakers and Obama administration point out the no-change in fuel tax in inland transportation since 1995, and the revenue of tax declined with JIT kitted in inland water transportation lost competency on speed, and this increase in fuel tax would shift cost of maintain the river from tax payer to commercial operator. However, who would pay for this bill doubt the fairness of being place as only payer but one of the benefiters in this proposal.

There are several parts interested me in this news.  6 cents a gallon seems cheap, but consider with the large capacity of water carrier it would not be a small bill any more. In the circumstance that inland transportation lost the advantage of speed in JIT competition with other model carriers, will this proposal shift more transportation out to other models? It is doubtable! Secondly, the maker of legislation says the extra revenue of this tax increase would be use to maintain the river, ”This act will ensure safe, dependable, cost-effective, and environmentally sustainable navigation on our nation’s inland waterway system”. However, water cargo been shift to other models, the environment benefit these cargo been giving out would be gone, so the sustainability is not that absolute in bigger picture, and it is same to safety, and cost-effectiveness, dependability.



Strike at LA Port Hurting Many in US

A union of port clerks at the LA port has finally gone on strike, after waiting over 30 months for a new collective bargaining agreement to be reached upon. The effects of this strike have been felt in many different sectors, and the pains caused by it are expected to continue to grow until an agreement can be reached between the union and LA/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association.
According to the article by Christopher Palmeri, a total cost of $1 billion a day each day the strike has been going on has occurred. While many companies hurt from strikes like this, as they scramble to find other ports to deliver goods to, consumers feel the trickle down as well. Prices for many goods are expected to increase, especially with holiday shopping going on, as the supply of many different sought after goods is being bottled up at the port.
Perhaps those suffering the most are workers affected by this strike. While the actual port clerks still get pay from their union during the strike, which does nothing for the many other workers in the industry, such as truckers who are out of work and are not receiving any compensation. It is really sad that this is occurring during the holiday season. One can only hope that an agreement is reached soon, although that seems unlikely since the union has high demands such as guaranteeing jobs be continuously filled even upon retirement and not outsourced elsewhere.


SGB’s jatropha vision: Jet fuel grown from seeds

Biofuel industry has played more and more important role in energy market for past decade. Biofuel is considered as candidate for next generation of energy source because of the non-sustainability of fossil fuel, and “In 2010, worldwide biofuel production reached 105 billion liters (28 billion gallons US), up 17% from 2009, and biofuels provided 2.7% of
the world’s fuels for road transport, a contribution largely made up of ethanol and biodiesel[1]”. From the growth  market share of biofuel in energy industry,and price of gasoline price, it is obvious biofuel has a bright future.

However, there is several concerts about biofuel implement. First of all, food safety is the biggest barrier on the way of biofuel growth. ethanol fuel made up 82% of total biofuel in 2010 (23 out of 28 billion gallons US), and the main source of making it is corn.US and Mexico hold 90% of ethanol production of the world, which come with price US might lost dominate of corn export lasted from 1960s.[2] Corn export is the huge chunk of the agriculture , so it is not expected of its shrinking. At same time, food safety flesh yellow on the growth of amount of corn use to make fuels.

Secondly, transportation as the biggest consumer of biofuel industry facing problems too. Biofuel is not traditional energy, most of them require innovation in power system to adapt using pure or semi biofuel, and innovation means capital investment and risk of fall on efficiency. Air transportation seem moved forward in adapting biofuel by integrate development of source and growth of vendor and supplier. It do give advantage to air transportation in long-term, but unstable of supply in biofuel scared itself. Weather and regulation are the most heavy factors attribute to production of biofuel. While jatropha of SB’s perfect overcome this two problem. It is rough planet can grow in drought and wild place, its nut has high yell rate of oil  and it is not crop of food. These make it weather and regulation friendly. The forecast of jatropha fuel is 10% of biofuel industry and competitive price of gasoline. Boeing and Airbus has already step into the development of jatropha fuel, and Air Japan and Air New Zealand also took move on adapt
jatropha fuel plant.

As most new things, jatropha fuel face the lack of knowledge popularizing and faith of investor. However, the double of investment from 9.4 million Angel fund to 17 million venture capital in 2 years should give us sign of the potential of jatropha fuel also the power of it to the transportation industry and the world.


Obama’s Second Term: Will high speed rail finally prevail?

We have all heard the talk of possible high-speed rail being implemented across the US.  In his first term as president of the United States, Barack Obama called for plans to be made to have high speed rail available to 80% of Americans in the next 25 years.

However, no substantial plans have been made, and most ideas for projects in various places such as the Northeast, Chicago, and California have fizzled out.  One proposed plan would have connected an airport in Oakland, CA to a large transportation hub in nearby San Francisco.

Aside from the obvious high fixed costs that construction of high speed rail projects face, political barriers and lack of organization have held back implementation of these rail lines.  Plans in Wisconsin and Florida have been shot down due to partisan disagreements, which seem to be a common trend.

According to the article, Obama will most likely need to choose a new Secretary of Transportation with more experience in rail and more influence in order to work towards his goal of high speed rail.  He will also need to win over Republicans and show that high speed rail shouldn’t be thought of as a partisan issue, but as a necessity that will help all Americans in the future.

Anyone who has seen high-speed rail networks in other parts of the world can vouch that implementing any time of system would be a great way to clear up traffic and allow Americans to travel further, more easily, and could be a positive step towards a more sustainable future.


Oil by Rail: On the Rise?

With all of the political heat and opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, it may be time to explore other modes of transportation for “Texas Tea” in the US and Canada.

In the article “Analysis: Crude-by-rail carves out long-term North American niche” by Nicole Mordant, the use of American and Canadian railways is explored.  Railroads are a great way to move many commodities across the continent, oil included.

Since 2007, oil shipments in the US have grown from around 11,000 barrels to over 300,000 barrels per day.  This growing trend, combined with the continued rise in inter-modal transportation should be great for the rail industry.

While transporting oil via rail can be four times as expensive as using pipelines, once the high fixed costs and political barriers that the implementing pipelines and carry are factored in, utilizing already-existing railroads sounds like an option worth pursuing.

Rail was the main choice of oil transportation before pipelines were around, and it appears that the industry may be heading back in the direction of its past.


Love-hate relationship: Hurricane Sandy and trucking industry

Supper Hurricane Sandy attacked East Coast  past week, and its impact affected from normal people’s live to all industries. Unlike other industry harmed by Sandy,  trucking industry was hurt but benefit by this horrible disaster.

During hurricane Sandy effecting period, trucking companies were forced to reroute, delay shipments, about $140 million lost was generated by the storm each day in trucking industry. After Sandy was gone, rising fuel price, destroyed roads, and lost capital keep hurting the industry.

However, trucking industry was one of the direct benefit industries in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. States like New Jersey is facing the shortage of fuel even now. while trucking is the most effective way to transport gasoline, diesel and kerosene when pipeline is facing limited from repairing time and geographic availability. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration claimed they are assisted by truck industry team on fuel delivery.  Also, “FMCSA has already issued an eastern regional emergency declaration that temporarily lifts hours-of-service and other regulations to assist truckers providing direct emergency relief, including transporting generators and fuel.”Also, the clean up after Hurricane is dealing by lifting hours-of-service regulations for trucking and work crews. Mobility and accessibility are the key characteristics create the demand for trucking in recover period.

Related article:

Hurricane Sandy generates trucking industry demand

Hurricane Sandy forces Triad trucking companies to reroute, delay shipments

Hurricane Sandy Affects Trucking- Hours of Service Suspended Until November 13

FMCSA Sets Team to Help Get Trucks to Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort

FMCSA Lifts HOS Rules for Truckers Working on Sandy-Related Cleanup

Sandy: DOT waiving regs, leading fuel delivery