Railroads fear losing out to trucks if California gets its way

WASHINGTON — Major freight railroads and their short-line counterparts raised red flags on Capitol Hill about supply chain consequences of a California regulation aimed at cutting air pollution from locomotives.

If the California Air Resources Board is successful in securing approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California’s In-Use Locomotive Regulation, adopted by the state last year, would require all locomotives manufactured after 2035 that travel though the state of...


FMCSA grants 14 epilepsy waivers, 11 hearing exemptions to truck drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released the latest list of waivers that allow truck drivers who have had epilepsy or hearing impairment in the past to continue driving.

The agency releases such exemptions periodically. Most notably with the latest round is that according to the FMCSA notice on the exemptions in the Federal Register, no comments were submitted in opposition to the waivers.

In the case of the epilepsy waiver, 14 drivers will be granted an exemption from the...


FMC building case for new container data-sharing rules

WASHINGTON — The Federal Maritime Commission is seeking another round of comments from container line operators and their customers as part of its quest to build the case for potential new mandates on container shipment data sharing.

The FMC wants to supplement an information request issued last year along with a May 2023 report on the agency’s Maritime Transportation Data Initiative (MTDI). That project, led by Commissioner Carl Bentzel, attempts to measure the extent to which shipment data is...


DOT launches mapping project to guide government spending on freight

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation is launching the first step in a long-awaited National Multimodal Freight Network (NMFN), a project that will be used to prioritize federal money for freight infrastructure around the country.

A request for information scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Friday will give the public 60 days to submit comments and data on the best way to identify freight facilities and corridors that will be used to create an NMFN map.



FMC fears glut of container fee disputes after Baltimore bridge collapse

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators are bracing for disputes over container fees caused by routing cancellations in the wake of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse.

Shortly after the collapse early on March 26 that closed the Port of Baltimore, MSC, the world’s largest ocean carrier, advised customers that containers en route to the port would be diverted for unloading at alternate U.S. East Coast ports, and that the carriage contract would be declared terminated at the alternate port instead of...


Feds mandate 2-person minimum for most train crews

WASHINGTON — Large freight railroads will have to undergo a rigorous approval process if they want to streamline operations down to one-person train crews.

The new requirement is part of the Federal Railroad Administration’s final rule announced on Tuesday mandating a two-person crew minimum on trains operated by Class 1 railroads unless a railroad can obtain approval for a one-person crew from FRA.

Such an approval will require railroads to demonstrate to FRA, through a petition and public...


House lawmakers crack down on Chinese ocean freight data

WASHINGTON — House lawmakers have passed a bill giving regulators new power to investigate potential violations of the law by the producer of one of the most closely watched container freight indexes.

The Ocean Shipping Reform Implementation Act of 2023, which passed the chamber on Thursday by a vote of 393-24, targets China’s Shanghai Shipping Exchange (SSE). SSE publishes the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index, an aggregator of spot market data on which container freight rates in the...


DOT confirms boost in West Coast container imports

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration announced on Wednesday it is gaining ground on its ability to help importers and container vessel operators navigate shifts in freight flows with new information it is publishing from inland rail terminals and warehouses.

The increase in timely ocean container import data being supplied by private industry into the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Freight Logistics Optimizations Works (FLOW) initiative confirms what has been predicted since earlier in the...


Federal court in Texas deep-sixes NLRB rule on joint employee status

A new rule on what defines an employee who has joint employers, due to go into effect Monday, has been put on ice by a federal judge in Texas. The ruling could relieve fears in the trucking business.

J. Campbell Barker, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, handed down the ruling late Friday. In a lawsuit brought by numerous industry trade groups — but no trucking organizations — the judge granted summary judgment that vacated a National Labor Relations Board rule


SEC backs off on requiring companies to report scope 3 emissions

Tracking the full impact of greenhouse gas emissions down the supply chains of publicly traded companies will not be required by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the agency decided Wednesday.

Scope 3 emissions are those generated by a company in the supply chain two steps away from the reporting company, though it would not be dealing directly with those companies.  The initial rule proposed by the SEC would have required publicly traded companies to report their scope 3 emissions in...


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