Archive for May, 2010

Trailer trucking tourists go for a ride!

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to travel across North America in a trucking transport? Maybe you have always wanted to experience the trucking life that you have heard about from your trailer trucking friends? It could be as simple as you wanting to experience the open highway from the cab of a big rig taking a load of freight to a destination thousands of miles away.

If this is you? You should probably give fellow Welshman John Rogers a call or check out his business idea called “See It By Truck”, which he came up with after taking a trip with a friend that works in the trucking services industry of North America. John was in Vanderhoof, a small town only a few kilometres from my home town of Prince George, British Columbia a few years ago, after just completing an 11,000 mile trip in the company of his friend that inspired him to begin his business.

Three years later John Roger’s inspiration is still in the beginning stages of being a business idea that might in a few years be an idea that could be paying owner operators as much as 35 cents a mile in order to take interested individuals along with them on their adventures on the open roads of North America.

Does this sound like something that could interest you as an owner operator of one of North America’s trucking transports? Would you like to maybe take a look at what the idea might be able to offer you? Check out “See It By, for information on John Roger’s business idea and to see how you can take advantage of an opportunity that could provide you as an owner operator with a little more income.

White House Pushes For Truck Fuel Economy Standard

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Car Transport FuelThe White House announced that fuel efficiency standards for larger trucks will be in the offing for the 2014 model year; that will change what is under the hood for freight carriers and possibly change how they do their business. That will force truck makers to improve the fuel efficiency of standard truck engines and increase the emphasis on alternative fuel trucks. Truck manufacturers will likely look to hybrid technologies, battery-powered engines, aerodynamics, and other fuel-saving techniques, especially for short-haul trucks that can recharge their batteries back at base at the end of the day.

While the amount of battery power required to run a Class 8 truck would be rather massive, an extended tractor that could hold a bay of batteries would be feasible if there was an incentive for the truck makers to make such a monster battery grid. If the grid had, say, a 600-mile range, it could run for ten hours straight at 60MPH and then charge while the driver was taking its down-time at a truck stop equipped with chargers. However, that would require getting a network of recharging stations at truck stops or rest areas, which might become a DOT budget item to encourage those places to install chargers.

The new engines will likely be costlier and make demand for the 2014 models drop at first, just as the new 2010 emission standards raised prices for this year’s models; that will likely see a jump in costs and thus a corresponding jump in freight rates in the mid 10s, if the reduced fuel costs from better efficiency don’t offset the increased price of the engines.

MT Widens Roads for Alberta Oil Sands Cargo

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Oil-sands development in Alberta is creating some issues in how to get oversized trucking loads of oil-extraction equipment from suppliers in Asia to Western Canada on the wrong side of the Continental Divide. The easiest route so far is to ship the items to Portland, barge them upriver to Lewiston, Idaho, then take them by wide-load truck through Montana and on to Alberta.

The problem that is being encountered is that the non-expressway highways in Montana need to have the roadways redone so that the big modules don’t run into too-narrow shoulders or low-hanging power lines. People who aren’t fans of big trucks or the ecological side-effects of oil-sands development aren’t thrilled with the idea of the “high and wide” corridor, but a steady flow of trucks through the area will mean more economic activity in a rural area that could use the help; thus, government officials in Montana are supportive and most of the calls on the issue have been from locals wanting to watch the big loads come through.

Such efforts might make life in those areas a bit less expensive, since an increase in freight traffic might give freight carriers more options to get more mundane cargo into Big Sky country. One normally doesn’t think of getting to Idaho by sea, but the Columbia and Snake rivers make that possible. Such developments might get other cargos heading to a fast-growing Alberta to go to Portland rather than Vancouver, BC, which will help US trucking transport firms.

Ship Freight on America’s Inland Waterways?

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Trailer trucking professionals who have been reading any of the blogs that have been written by United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood have apparently been paying attention as more recent blog posts by the Secretary of Transportation have been a little more politically correct according to many watchers. The controversy of the his older blog posts surrounds his announcement that bicyclists should probably have a voice in the planning of America’s transport system and the thoughts of America’s trucking services industry about this announcement. Mr. LaHood’s more recent blog posts appear to be a little more guarded and add a few nice comments about America’s trucking transport industry and the possible need to think about making more room for walkers and bicyclists using the transport systems of America. Mr. LaHood seems to have embraced blogging as away to meet the common people who are concerned about the significant problems in America’s transport systems and this is probably an excellent idea.

The Secretary of Transport has apparently been increasing his blogging efforts lately and according to the latest reports has been blogging about his desire to get large transport trucks off of the roads of America in an effort to reduce the carbon wheel-print of America’s trucking industry. He would like to see America start using more inland waterways to transport freight to destinations in America, in preference to using heavy duty trucks, according to some sources. This is certainly a feasible idea that could help bypass congested roads around busy American ports in some cases and even reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but we obviously need to be very careful when trying to move more freight using the inland waterways of America. The environmental cost to American could in the end be greater depending on each particular waterway and we need to tread very carefully in this desire.

OOCL Will Increase Container Transport Price

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Customers that need to ship freight between Europe, the United States, Canada and Mexico beginning in July will find the cost of Oriental Overseas Container Line’s (OOCL) Trans Atlantic container shipping services has increase. OOCL released a statement to this affect recently and this news appears to have been met with very little comment by customers. It appears that OOCL could be trying to make some of the money they might have lost during the past two years of rough seas for the container shipping industry. The truth of this statement doesn’t really mean much to customers that will have to pay the higher freight rates starting on July 1, according to the release by OOCL.

Just how much will the cost of transporting containers increase on July 1? The general rate increase on westbound 20 ft containers from Europe to the United States, Canada and Mexico will be US$400, while the cost for a 40 ft container will go up by US$500. Eastbound containers going from the United States, Canada and Mexico to Europe will go up by US$320 for 20 ft containers and US$ 400 for 40 ft containers.

This is news that many in the container shipping industry were probably expecting to hear at some point and we can probably expect other lines to follow suit eventually, if not sooner and increase their general price for container transport as well. The container shipping industry will be looking at trying to recover some of the financial losses that they might have experienced during the rough seas and this certainly won’t come as a surprise to customers or the container shipping industry in general.

Container Transport Vessel Purchase Opportunity

Friday, May 21st, 2010

The container transport shipping industry is an opportunistic industry that can often remind one of a cut throat business. Containership owners are a ruthless lot at times and it seems they’re often looking around for opportunity to knock on the company doors, often at the expense of their competition in the international industry of container transport.

One New York-listed containership owner recently heard a knock on the door and opened the door to opportunity in the form of the chance to purchase a new containership at a price that according to the shipbuilding industry is a little below the price that originally would be paid for such a vessel, after another containership owner decided to cancel the order it had put in with Chinese shipyards for the containership in question. Seaspan Corp is apparently thinking about paying around $42 million according to the latest reports for the 4,250 TEU MSC Najwa and if the deal goes through shipping industry sources think they could take delivery of this new containership as early as next month.

Currently sources surrounding this affair indicate that there could be a number of bidders currently with an interest in purchasing this new containership. At present most have Seaspan Corp on the inside track though and we could see the MSC Najwa being added to their fleet of containerships in the future, once the dust settles around the bidding process.

If Seaspan Corp is able to get this deal completed the MSC Najwa will be added to their current fleet of over 20 containerships, which are currently at work around the container transport industry. Reports from around the shipping industry also have Seaspan Corp taking delivery of around 20 more large containerships in the next two years, so it seems this shipping company is preparing to ship a lot of containers in the future.

Overhead Cranes for India’s Container Transport

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

India’s container transport industry has been showing signs of amazing growth in the past year or so and with the expected growth in container movements in India in the years ahead there’s definitely a market for new container cranes in the Indian container transport industry. Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is a world leader in the production of freight handling equipment for container terminals and according to the latest reports this firm has just signed a licensing deal with Anupam Industries Ltd of India that will see this Indian firm produce Mitsubishi Heavy Industries line of container transport equipment for the Indian transport industry to use in the years ahead.

According to sources in the Indian transport industry Anupam Industries Ltd was born in 1973 and is currently doing business out of India’s Gujarat state. The firm has also been vocal lately about the fact that they think they’re the container industry leader in the production of overhead cranes in India and with this deal they’re probably thinking about increasing their business share in India and other Asian markets in the century of the environment.

This is great news for India and its need to make sure it can handle the expected growth in container movements to and from the Indian-subcontinent in the years ahead. If things go as expected for Anupam Industries and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries partnership, we could see this deal turn into a game changer for the manufacture and use of overhead cranes to move containers in India and even the expansion of this partnership into the Middle East and Africa.

Fuel Use of Trucking Transports

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

If you ask trailer trucking professionals they would probably tell you that the trucking services industry could be an indicator of the health of the American economy. If we could find away to accurately predict the current health of the US economy in the future this would allow America to more accurately predict the financial waves that have been rocking the American economy of late and any further financial waves that could be coming down the road in the future. Now a group of researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles’s Anderson School of Management could have figured out away to use the credit-card fuel purchase patterns of the trucking transport industry to help predict future financial waves in the American economy.

The Anderson School of Management has apparently been at work with Ceridian, the fuel-card people, tracking the current diesel fuel purchases of the trucking industry of North America. They hope to use the data they collect using the Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index they have created to provide them with information on the health of the American economy. They have apparently been collecting the data they intend to use on an hour-by-hour basis in the industries that consume diesel fuel and if the data is as useful as they hope, we could see this idea grow into another tool that will allow American to better predict the future of business and the economy as American travels further into the century of the environment.

Freight Carrier Movements in South Africa Slow

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Freight carriers trying to move freight into and out of the ports of South Africa are still running up against the picket lines of South Africa’s transport workers and disruptions in port services is causing South Africa’s import and export trade to virtually come to a halt. Apparently, last night the scheduled talks didn’t quite go as both parties probably hoped and at present there appears to be no light down the dark tunnel before this affair. This of course means that freight carrier movements in South Africa’s ports will continue to be slowed, at least until the sides in this affair can find some common ground upon which to stand together.

The port operator Transnet apparently told the unions that their demands for a 15 percent hike in their current pay structure wouldn’t be forth coming and this has had the expected result of the unions quickly telling their workers to continue their battle for their rights. The present offer by Transnet is apparently around 11 percent, so we might see the unions decide after awhile to accept this offer and go back to work. At this point however freight carrier services in the ports are apparently still managing to do a little business, but how much of this is true we have no idea at this point. Capacity at this point is really low and with no new meetings between Transnet and the unions currently set, it might be awhile before we see capacity in the ports of South Africa return to normal.

Air Freight Carrier Problems in Africa

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Freight carriers bringing perishables to market from Africa are apparently feeling the effects of the problems that are being created by the volcanic ash in the skies of the world that are still causing air space closures and other problems in regions of the world. The freight rates for perishables from areas like East Africa has apparently skyrocketed by as much as 50 percent according to some sources and the costs are apparently being passed on down the supply chain to the consumer. This is of course probably hardly a surprise to freight carriers that have been feeling the effects of the tightness of air freight capacity coming out of Africa of late and according to the latest sources Mother’s Day in the United States last week didn’t help things either. The rush to get the flowers into the United States, so they can be bought and then given to mothers around the country at this time of year is normal and expected according to sources, but the problems with the volcanic ash are the real game changer in this case.

Is this problem likely to go away a quickly as it came? Volcanoes have a mind of their own and this is out of our hands, so we’re just going to have to find away to work around this problem. Unfortunately, the cost of many items is probably going to go up in cases where freight shipments are disrupted and costs become less manageable and predictable for air freight carriers and their customers. The problems with the recession has probably meant in many cases that firms have also put air freight capacity on the sidelines during the recession and this is certainly going to increase the problems with locating capacity out of regions where volcanic ash is causing problems with air freight movements through the skies of the world.