Stakeholders Petition FMCSA To Delay HOS Final Rule Implementation
An alliance of stakeholder groups representing consumer safety, labor, and other interests filed a petition on June 30, asking FMCSA to delay implementing the Hours of Service (HOS) final rule, now set to take effect on September 29. The petition makes a case against each of the four major changes the final rule would make to the HOS regulations.
The petition asserts FMCSA has failed to consider historical precedent and data concerning driver fatigue and failed to conduct an appropriate analysis of the rule’s impact on public safety. A different stakeholder group also filed a petition, on June 30 asking FMCSA to reconsider language in the HOS final rule concerning adverse driving conditions and personal conveyance.
The group has also asked FMCSA to comprehensively review all existing HOS exemptions, updating obsolete language in exemptions or eliminating them entirely, as appropriate. FMCSA has confirmed that it is reviewing the petition.
Diesel Fuel Prices Continue Rising Slow Rise
During the week ending July 13, average U.S. diesel fuel prices increased 0.1 cents to $2.438 per gallon. Prices have increased 5.2 cents over the past 6 weeks as economic activity slowly resumes (following the COVID-19 closures) throughout most of the country. According to the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, the Department of Energy expects the largest declines in U.S. liquid fuels
consumption (including gasoline and diesel fuels) have already occurred and consumption will generally rise through the second half of 2020 and in 2021.
California Approves World’s First Electric Truck Sales Mandate
Grain News on AgFax
The 12-member California Air Resources Board (CARB) unanimously approved an electric truck mandate that will require medium- and heavy-duty truck manufacturers to sell a larger percentage of zero-emission vehicles in the State starting in 2024.
The Advanced Clean Truck rule, the first of its kind in the world, establishes different new RAM truck for sale targets based on the vehicle class. By 2035, about 75 percent of Class 8 big rigs sold will need to be electric. According to CARB, about 8,000 trucks in the Southern California ports will be out of compliance with California emissions regulations by 2022.
Mid-Mississippi Temporarily Substituted for Illinois Barge Rates in Table 1
Because of the closure of several lock and dam facilities on the Illinois River between July 1 and October 28, 2020, the market for barged grain freight will be thin or nonexistent for the majority of the river. Reflecting the temporary shift in traffic, the benchmark for calculating the barge cost index in table 1 of the GTR will change until the Illinois River locks reopen: during the closures, the mid-Mississippi barge rates will replace Illinois barge rates. Index values for the previous weeks of the closure have been added to the online dataset.
Snapshots by Sector
For the week ending July 2, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 21.5 million metric tons (mmt). This represented a 6-percent increase in outstanding sales from the same time last year. Net corn export sales were 0.195 mmt, down 46 percent from the past week. Net soybean export sales were 0.952 mmt, up significantly from the previous week. Net wheat export sales were 0.326 mmt, down 15 percent from the previous week.
U.S. Class I railroads originated 20,569 grain carloads during the week ending July 4. This was a 7-percent increase from the previous week, 13 percent less than last year, and 10 percent lower than the 3-year average.
Average July shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers (per car) were $63 above tariff for the week ending July 9. This was $25 more than last week and $13 lower than this week last year. There were no non-shuttle bids/offers this week.
For the week ending July 11, barge grain movements totaled 824,916 tons. This was 25 percent more than the previous week and 22 percent more than the same period last year.
For the week ending July 11, 545 grain barges moved down river—125 more barges than the previous week. There were 670 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 6 percent more than the previous week.
For the week ending July 9, 30 oceangoing grain vessels were loaded in the U.S. Gulf—25 percent more than the same period last year. Within the next 10 days (starting July 10), 37 vessels were expected to be loaded—18 percent fewer than the same period last year.
As of July 9, the rate for shipping a metric ton (mt) of grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $39.50. This was unchanged from the previous week. The rate from the Pacific Northwest to Japan was $20.50 per mt, 2 percent more than the previous week.