Moving Grain: Waiver for Commercial Driver’s License Permit Renewal Extended

    FMCSA Extends Waiver for CDL Permit Renewal

    Effective July 1, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended, through September 30, its waiver to renew expired commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs), medical cards, and commercial learner’s permits (CLP). The waiver is in response to closures of state motor vehicle departments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The extension grants CDL holders, CLP holders, and non-CDL drivers relief from the same motor carrier regulations as the initial March 24 waiver. Also, like the initial waiver, the extension does not allow CDL or CLP holders to extend their licenses if their license credentials or medical cards expired before March 1, 2020, or if their driver’s privileges have been suspended or withdrawn for traffic offenses.

    It also does not waive knowledge and skills testing requirements. FMCSA also reissued a separate Notice of Enforcement Policy, affirming it will not take action against a driver for operating a commercial vehicle if the driver held a valid CDL on February 29, 2020, or against carriers employing those drivers.

    FMCSA Extends Waiver Allowing CLP Holders To Drive Without CDL Holder Supervising

    FMCSA is extending a waiver from the requirement that commercial learner’s permit holders (CLP) be accompanied by a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder in the front seat of the truck. Originally set to expire on June 30, the waiver is extended until September 30.

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    The waiver still requires a CDL holder to be somewhere in the cab with the CLP holder. CLP holders operating under the waiver must also have evidence from their CDL tester that they have passed the CDL skills test and have a valid non-CDL driver’s license, CLP, and medical certificate.

    However, they do not need the medical certificate if they are covered by FMCSA’s waiver regarding expiring CDLs, CLPs and medical examiners’ certificates (effective July 1, 2020).

    FMC Adopts Final Rule for Easing Publication Requirements for Ocean Carriers

    The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) adopted a final rule, effective June 25, 2020, that relaxes certain publication requirements for ocean container carriers in response to a 2018 petition from the World Shipping Council.

    The new rule amends the FMC’s regulations governing service contracts to eliminate requirements for ocean carriers to publish “essential terms” for individual service contracts.

    Essential terms include the origin and destination port ranges, commodities involved, minimum volumes, and the service contract duration. FMC still requires all service contracts to be filed.

    Grain Transportation Report Temporarily Replaces Figure 8 Barge Chart

    With the upcoming Illinois River lock closures, markets for barged grain freight will be thin or nonexistent for the majority of the river. For this reason, figure 8 (normally, on p. 11), which provides a graph of Illinois River barge rates, has been replaced by figure 8a, which will track the rates on the mid-Mississippi river.

    Until the Illinois River locks reopen, the mid-Mississippi rates will be the benchmark for delivery contracts governed by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Therefore, figure 8a will be temporarily published as a proxy for figure 8 as an indicator for barged grain shipping and grain markets.

    Data will still be collected for Figure 8, when available, and be located in the online datasets. When the Illinois River locks reopen, figure 8 will return to the GTR.

    Snapshots by Sector

    Export Sales

    For the week ending June 11, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 23.6 million metric tons (mmt). This represented a 2-percent decrease in outstanding sales from the same time last year.

    Net corn export sales were 0.358 mmt, down 46 percent from the past week. Net soybean export sales were 0.538 mmt, down 46 percent from the previous week. Net weekly wheat export sales for the 2020/21 marketing year, which began June 1, were 0.505 mmt.


    U.S. Class I railroads originated 21,374 grain carloads during the week ending June 13. This was 2 percent more than the previous week, 4 percent less than last year, and 6 percent less than the 3-year average.

    Average July shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers (per car) were $63 below tariff for the week ending June 18. This was $13 more than last week and $263 lower than this week last year. There were no non-shuttle bids/offers this week.


    For the week ending June 20, barge grain movements totaled 1,091,741 tons. This was 16 percent more than the previous week and 575 percent more than the same period last year.

    For the week ending June 20, 701 grain barges moved down river—84 more barges than the previous week. There were 646 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 26 percent more than the previous week.


    For the week ending June 18, 31 oceangoing grain vessels were loaded in the U.S. Gulf—48 percent more than the same period last year. Within the next 10 days (starting June 19), 38 vessels were expected to be loaded—3 percent fewer than the same period last year.

    As of June 18, the rate for shipping a metric ton (mt) of grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $37.75. This was 6 percent more than the previous week. The rate from the Pacific Northwest to Japan was $20.00 per mt, 7 percent more than the previous week.

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