New Infrastructure Bill Provides $2.5 Billion For Inland Waterways Construction and Major Rehabilitation Projects
Signed into law by the President on November 15, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would invest roughly $17 billion in port and waterways infrastructure. About two-thirds of this funding is expected to be used toward construction and major habitat restoration projects, and the rest toward operations/maintenance and other projects.
This law includes a total of $2.5 billion of 100 percent Federal funding for authorized U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) construction and major rehabilitation projects on inland waterways. Projects will receive priority based on the recommendations included in the USACE 2020 Capital Investment Strategy.
USACE’s Operations and Maintenance account under the Civil Works mission is expected to receive $4 billion. Within 60 days of the bill’s enactment, USACE’s Chief of Engineers must submit a project-specific spending plan to House and Senate appropriations committees.
The Bill Also Funds Safety and Research and Enables Younger Truck Drivers
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act also includes $11 billion for transportation safety (more than double the previous level) and contains various provisions affecting trucking. One such provision makes 18–21-year-olds newly eligible for interstate truck driving and creates a training and apprenticeship program for this age group.
Grain News on AgFax
Other trucking-related provisions include automatic emergency braking performance requirements, underride/side protection, truck broker/truck dispatcher guidance, and an exemption for livestock haulers from hours-of-service requirements. Regarding research, the newly enacted funding legislation authorizes a truck-crash study and a review of data generated by electronic logging devices.
The law also establishes several new government bodies (task force, advisory board, and subcommittee) dedicated to addressing issues of truck leasing, women in trucking, and the needs of small-business truckers. The U.S. Department of Transportation is tasked with restoring and maintaining the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund and establishing a vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) pilot program.
Port of Savannah Offers Fixed “Earliest” Dates for Receiving Export Cargo
The Port of Savannah recently began offering fixed earliest receiving dates (ERD) for export cargo through its terminals. The ERD is the earliest date a loaded export container can arrive at the port in advance of the ship’s arrival. ERDs have been volatile, and exporters often receive little to no notice when they change. The new policy will help relieve accumulating storage fees (detention and demurrage), avoid amassing containers on dock, and prevent multiple truck trips to the terminal for the same load.
The port is also working with the ocean carriers to align cutoff dates—the latest date by which a loaded export container must arrive to make the vessel sailing. Recently, there have been an excessive number of “rolled” containers—i.e., that carriers delay (sometimes, for weeks) past their initially scheduled shipments to wait for a later vessel. The port hopes the work with ocean carriers will reduce the number of rolled containers.
Snapshots by Sector
For the week ending November 4, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans for marketing year 2021/22 totaled 48.8 million metric tons (mmt), down 22 percent from same time last year and down 4 percent from the previous week.
Net corn export sales were 1.067 mmt, down 13 percent from the previous week. Net soybean export sales were 1.289 mmt, down 31 percent from the previous week. Net weekly wheat export sales were 0.286 mmt, down 29 percent from the previous week.
U.S. Class I railroads originated 25,386 grain carloads during the week ending November 6. This was a 3-percent increase from the previous week, 7 percent less than last year, and 9 percent more than the 3-year average.
Average November shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers (per car) were $488 above tariff for the week ending November 11. This was $113 more than last week and $425 more than this week last year. There were no non-shuttle bids/offers this week.
For the week ending November 13, barged grain movements totaled 888,754 tons. This was 45 percent higher than the previous week and 4 percent lower than the same period last year.
For the week ending November 13, 557 grain barges moved down river—180 barges more than the previous week. There were 908 grain barges unloaded in the New Orleans region, 3 percent more than last week.
For the week ending November 11, 39 oceangoing grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf—5 percent fewer than the same period last year. Within the next 10 days (starting November 5), 64 vessels were expected to be loaded—3 percent fewer than the same period last year.
As of November 11, the rate for shipping a metric ton (mt) of grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $78.00. This was 8 percent lower than the previous week. The rate from the Pacific Northwest to Japan was $42.00 per mt, 7 percent lower than the previous week.
For the week ending November 15, the U.S. average diesel fuel price increased by 0.4 cents from the previous week to $3.734 per gallon, $1.29 above the same week last year. This is the 9th consecutive week that the national average diesel price has increased.