FHWA Provides $1.39 Billion for Emergency-Relief Road and Bridge Repairs
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will disburse $1.39 billion in emergency relief (ER) funds to 42 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The funding will cover repair of roads and bridges damaged by storms, floods, wildfires, and other disasters.
FHWA’s ER program also provides funding reimbursement for reconstructing, restoring, and repairing of Federal-aid and federally owned transportation facilities damaged by natural or other disasters. Several important grain-producing States received funding for reconstructing or replacing damaged highways and bridges from storms and flooding.
Kentucky received $72.5 million; Nebraska, $40.0 million; Iowa, $26.9 million; Ohio, $25.9 million; North Dakota, $22.6; Oklahoma, $20.3 million; South Dakota, $10.2 million; and Kansas, $6.8 million.
FMC Provides New Guidance on Its Complaint Process
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) recently issued three policy statements offering guidance to shippers and others on filing private-party complaints. The policies address exporters’ longstanding grievances that the process is lengthy and costly and may not prevent ocean carrier retaliation.
Grain News on AgFax
The first new policy statement reemphasizes that shipper associations and trade associations can file complaints. The second clarifies FMC’s approach to timing, procedures, eligibility, and entitlement surrounding attorney fees. The third statement explains FMC will interpret anti-retaliation laws broadly to address new shipping practices and new forms of retaliation.
The broad interpretation also bolsters the intent of the U.S. Congress of maximizing safe conditions to encourage shippers to air their grievances to FMC.
EIA Forecasts Strong Average Diesel Fuel Prices in 2022
This week, the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) posted its first Short-Term Energy Outlook of 2022. EIA forecasts U.S. diesel fuel prices in 2022 will average $3.33 per gallon, up from $3.29 per gallon in 2021, and $2.56 per gallon in 2020. EIA also forecasts U.S. distillate fuel consumption to increase more than 0.1 million barrels per day, or 3.1 percent, in 2022.
In 2021, U.S. distillate consumption rose by 0.2 million barrels per day (4.3 percent), reflecting increased demand for two main fuel distillates, diesel and jet fuel. Average diesel fuel prices fell at the end of 2021 with falling global crude oil prices in response to concerns over the impacts of the Omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19.
For the week ending January 10, 2022, the U.S. average diesel fuel price increased 4.4 cents from the previous week to $3.657 per gallon, 98.7 cents above the same week last year. This is the first increase in average diesel fuel prices in 8 weeks.
Snapshots by Sector
For the week ending December 30, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans for marketing year 2021/22 totaled 42.3 million metric tons (mmt), down 17 percent from the same time last year, and down 5 percent from the previous week.
Net corn export sales were 0.256 mmt, down 79 percent from the previous week. Net soybean export sales were 0.383 mmt, down 27 percent from the previous week. Net weekly wheat export sales were 0.049 mmt, down 76 percent from the previous week.
U.S. Class I railroads originated 19,698 grain carloads during the week ending January 1. This was a 3-percent increase from the previous week, 21 percent fewer carloads than last year, and 6 percent fewer than the 3-year average.
Average January shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers (per car) were $2,758 above tariff for the week ending January 6. This is $915 more than last week and $2,552 more than this week last year. There were no non-shuttle bids/offers this week.
For the week ending January 8, barged grain movements totaled 544,656 tons. This was 13 percent fewer than the previous week and 17 percent fewer than the same period last year.
For the week ending January 8, 350 grain barges moved down river—34 fewer barges than the previous week. There were 832 grain barges unloaded in the New Orleans region, 1 barge fewer than last week.
For the week ending January 6, 31 oceangoing grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf—down 24 percent from the same period last year. Within the next 10 days (starting January 7), 62 vessels were expected to be loaded—10 percent fewer than the same period last year.
As of January 6, the rate for shipping a metric ton (mt) of grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $70.50. This was 2 percent more than the previous week. The rate from the Pacific Northwest to Japan was $38.75 per mt, 4 percent more than the previous week.