Trending Transportation News: January 2016

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Here’s a recap of transportation news stories throughout the month:

Intermodal Decline for First Time Since ’09. Intermodal freight declined in Q4 for the first time since 2009 on a year-over-year basis. In 2015, intermodal accounted for 48% of all rail shipments and increased about 2% for the full year.

FMCSA Lowers Random Drug Testing Level in 2016. The FMCSA reduced the minimum annual percentage rate for random controlled substances testing for commercial drivers from 50% to 25% for 2016. Based on the controlled substance random test data in FMCSA’s Management Information System in 2011, 2012, and 2013, the positive rate for controlled substances random testing fell below 1%.

Oil Prices Affect Transportation. The US average retail diesel price continues to fall (from $31 a barrel, to $30 a barrel, to $28 a barrel). According to the DOE, oil inventory stands at its highest point in nearly a century. The Gulf Coast region is home to the largest Global Refining Center – a lot of product is being pumped out of there, making prices lower.

Decline in Truck-Crash Deaths. The rate and total number of fatalities involving trucks weighing 10,000 pounds or more has declined. ATA President Bill Graves said, “The short-term decline is welcome news, but the important figure is the long-term trend.”

Jonas. Hundreds of truckers were stuck on highways and in travel plazas during Winter Storm Jonas which bombarded drivers from the East Coast to the Midwest. The West Virginia Turnpike and the Pennsylvania Turnpike reported several accidents that stranded cars and trucks. The National Guard was called to provide food, water, chains and shovels for the motorists. It was a dangerous situation for motorists, but one that was avoidable for trucking companies. Were you prepared for the disruption?


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