Moving Grain: Fuel Tax Changes Key Grain-Producing States

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    Fuel Tax Changes Take Effect in January in Key Grain-Producing States

    Of the dozen or so States in which fuel tax changes took effect January 1, Michigan and Nebraska implemented the most significant changes for grain transportation. Michigan’s State fuel taxes are linked to inflation and the consumer price index, allowing tax collections to increase with inflation. Additional adjustments will occur each January.

    The first adjustment is estimated to raise fuel rates by about 1 cent/gallon. Also starting January 1, Nebraska’s current 27.7-cents/gallon gas and diesel tax decreased by 2.9 cents to 24.8 cents/gallon. Nebraska’s change is due to a law linking the State’s fuel tax rates to the price of fuel. Another recalculation for Nebraska is scheduled for July 1, 2022.

    On July 1, 2021, scheduled automatic fuel-tax changes for Illinois (a 46.7-cents/gallon increase) and Indiana (a 53-cents/gallon increase) took effect and remain in place until June 30, 2022.

    Port of Oakland Opens Off-Dock Container Yard To Help Agricultural Exports

    On January 3, the Port of Oakland, CA, announced it is opening an off-dock container yard to reallocate empty containers collecting on dock. The 25-acre, paved yard is intended to increase terminal capacity and give the local agricultural export community easier access to containers.

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    Plans by government to address export-capacity shortages include both the yard’s opening and assistance from Federal and State agencies to agricultural exporters using the yard. The yard-opening announcement follows a recent letter from the USDA and Department of Transportation Secretaries urging several ocean carriers to restore export service to the Ports of Oakland and Portland.

    The government supports the service restorations to give agricultural exporters more options on the West Coast and address some of the congestion at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

    Researchers Seek Input on Midwest Parking Challenges

    The Mid-America Association of State Transportation Officials (MASSTO) in cooperation with American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), is soliciting input from truckers for its truck parking survey. The organizations seek to better understand the Midwest’s truck parking challenges.

    Input is sought from truckers who travel through the MASSTO-served States, which include Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. In ATRI’s annual list of industry concerns, truck parking was cited as one of the top five.

    Snapshots by Sector

    Export Sales

    For the week ending December 23, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans for marketing year 2021/22 totaled 44.5 million metric tons (mmt), down 16 percent from the same time last year, and down 2 percent from the previous week.

    Net corn export sales were 1.246 mmt, up 27 percent from the previous week. Net soybean export sales were 0.524 mmt, down 35 percent from the previous week. Net weekly wheat export sales were 0.200 mmt, down 53 percent from the previous week.

    Rail

    U.S. Class I railroads originated 19,159 grain carloads during the week ending December 25. This was a 21-percent decrease from the previous week, 12 percent fewer than last year, and 6 percent fewer than the 3-year average.

    Average January shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers (per car) were $1,844 above tariff for the week ending December 30. This was $115 more than last week and $1,359 more than this week last year. There were no non-shuttle bids/offers this week.

    Barge

    For the week ending January 1, barged grain movements totaled 626,084 tons. This was 0.23 percent more than the previous week and 38 percent fewer than the same period last year.

    For the week ending January 1, 384 grain barges moved down river—6 fewer barges than the previous week. There were 833 grain barges unloaded in the New Orleans region, 3 percent fewer than last week.

    Ocean

    For the week ending December 30, 25 oceangoing grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf—down 38 percent from the same period last year. Within the next 10 days (starting December 31), 58 vessels were expected to be loaded—12 percent fewer than the same period last year.

    As of December 30, the rate for shipping a metric ton (mt) of grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $69.00. This was 1 percent lower than the last available rate on December 16. The rate from the Pacific Northwest to Japan was $37.25 per mt, unchanged from the last available rate on December 16.

    Fuel

    For the week ending January 3, the U.S. average diesel fuel price decreased by 0.2 cents from the previous week to $3.613 per gallon, 97.3 cents above the same week last year. At $3.477 per gallon, the average Midwest diesel price has declined for 9 consecutive weeks and is at its lowest level since October 4, 2021.

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