Moving Grain: ASCE Releases New Infrastructure Report

Photo: USACE

ASCE Releases New Infrastructure Report

The American Society of Civil Engineers released a new report, Failure to Act: Economic Impacts of Status Quo Investment Across Infrastructure System, to explore the economic challenges associated with inadequate investments in infrastructure.

The study compares current and projected needs for infrastructure investment against the current funding trends in surface transportation (highways, bridges), seaports, and inland waterways. The analysis finds current funding levels will cover only 57 percent of the aggregate infrastructure system needs by 2039.

By 2039, inland waterways and marine ports are projected to have a funding deficit of $49 billion, and the projected funding gap for surface transportation is $2.5 trillion.

Incentive Program of the Port of LA To Move Trucks More Efficiently

On January 19, the Port of Los Angeles (LA) launched its Truck Turn-Time and Dual-Transaction program to move trucks in and out of terminals more quickly. Under the program, terminal operators can earn financial rewards two different ways: either by reducing drop-off and pick-up time for trucks or by letting trucks handle both drop-offs and pick-ups in the same trip.

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Terminals that can reduce truck turn times 5-20 percent will receive $.50-$2.75 per loaded or empty container. The size of the reward will depend on the terminal’s turn times—rewards grow as turn times shorten. Additionally, terminal operators can earn $.40-$1.40 per container when at least half of all trucks dropping off a container leave with another in the same trip.

The dual-transaction incentives increase as the share of dual transactions grow. Effective February 1, the incentive program is estimated to cost the Port of LA $7.5 million in its first year.

Pacific Northwest Inspections Drive Grain Exports Higher

For the week ending January 21, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, and soybeans) for export from all major U.S. export regions totaled 4 million metric tons (mmt). Total grain inspections were up 12 percent from the previous week, up 98 percent from last year, and up 90 percent from the 3-year average.

The increase in total inspections mainly reflected an 85-percent jump in wheat inspections and a 52-percent increase in corn inspections. Soybean inspections, however, were down 13 percent from the previous week.

The increase in total inspections also reflected a surge in Pacific Northwest grain inspections—up 44 percent from the previous week. Mississippi Gulf grain inspections increased 3 percent from the previous week. During the last 4 weeks, inspections were 62 percent above last year and 63 percent above the 3-year average.

Snapshots by Sector

Export Sales

For the week ending January 14, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 49.6 million metric tons (mmt). This total did not change from last week, but still represented a significant increase in outstanding sales from the same time last year.

Net corn export sales were 1.438 mmt, unchanged from the past week. Net soybean export sales were 1.818 mmt, up significantly from the previous week. Net wheat export sales were 0.330 mmt, up 49 percent from the previous week.

Rail

U.S. Class I railroads originated 27,613 grain carloads during the week ending January 16. This was unchanged from the previous week, 43 percent more than last year, and 29 percent more than the 3-year average.

Average February shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers (per car) were $388 above tariff for the week ending January 21. This was $250 less than last week and $296 more than this week last year. There were no non-shuttle bids/offers this week.

Barge

For the week ending January 23, barge grain movements totaled 1,108,428 tons. This was 21 percent higher than the previous week and 93 percent more than the same period last year.

For the week ending January 23, 681 grain barges moved down river—118 barges more than the previous week. There were 977 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 1 percent more than the previous week.

Ocean

For the week ending January 21, 47 oceangoing grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf—57 percent more than the same period last year. Within the next 10 days (starting January 22, 2021), 54 vessels were expected to be loaded—20 percent more than the same period last year.

As of January 21, the rate for shipping a metric ton (mt) of grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $46.25. This was 1 percent more than the previous week. The rate from PNW to Japan was $26.50 per mt, unchanged from the previous week.

Fuel

For the week ending January 25, the U.S. average diesel fuel price increased 2 cents from the previous week to $2.716 per gallon, 29.4 cents below the same week last year.

Full report.




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