Independent truckers make more than employed counterparts, economist says

A study by Southern California economist John Husing released Wednesday found that the median net earnings of independent owner-operator truck drivers in the region are substantially higher than for company drivers who work as employees of licensed motor carriers.

The study probably will not end the hot debate as to whether employee drivers, who are eligible for unionization, are compensated better than independent contractors, who by law can not be unionized. However, the findings are important because the numbers show that drivers who choose to remain owner-operators are not at the bottom of the wage scale in port regions, but actually out-earn many sectors.

Husing concluded that 75 percent of the independent-contractor drivers in his study earn more than other workers in 156 of the 158 worker classifications in the warehouse/logistics industry in Southern California’s Inland Empire, and the independent truck drivers earn more even than some workers who have college degrees.

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Source: www.JOC.com

NY-NJ port still must do more to prepare for mega-ships

The situation at New York-New Jersey, the largest East Coast port, can be briefly described as follows: Long-term projects costing hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure the port is prepared to handle mega-ships, specifically deepening the channel to 50 feet and elevating an old bridge over a key waterway, are underway or nearing completion. Those were roughly timed to the expansion of the Panama Canal and, despite assorted delays, the port will be fully prepared for the big ships — navigationally speaking — at most a year after the new canal locks open.

But the big ships arrived earlier than expected, as container lines took advantage of excess tonnage to send the ships from Asia through the unrestricted Suez Canal. The ships couldn’t always fit under the old bridge or be fully loaded, but they came anyway. And because big ships tend to stop at fewer ports, the port started to see more cargo offloaded on its piers: 50 to 60 percent of a ship’s total inbound cargo versus 30 percent a few years ago, according to recently retired Port Director Richard Larrabee. In fact, no port in the world last year saw more total lifts per ship than New York-New Jersey, an average of more than 5,000 per vessel call, according to JOC Port Productivity data.

Source: www.JOC.com

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Peel off method gaining momentum as port congestion fighter

SAN DIEGO — The terminal operator of the future in high-volume ports must eliminate multiple handling of containers and reduce truck wait times within the yard in order to handle cargo surges from big ships, logistics experts were told Wednesday.

A process known as free flow, or peel off, is attracting favorable reviews from terminal operators as well as truckers in Los Angeles-Long Beach. Though still considered to be in its infancy since it was launched in early 2014, the ports are confident enough about the potential of peel off that they are identifying parcels of land in the harbor area that can be used to expand the program.

What makes peel off interesting and somewhat different from other initiatives designed to reduce terminal congestion is that it takes place in the terminal yard, rather than alongside the vessel or at the gate, yet the efficiencies generated by peel off are shared by truckers, vessel operators and cargo owners, as well as the terminals.

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Source: www.joc.com

The Latest Threat to the Owner-Operator Model

New guidance from the Department of Labor issued in July could pose a threat to the trucking industry’s use of owner-operator drivers as independent contractors.

The American Trucking Associations calls it “an aggressive departure from prevailing classification standards,” saying it “no doubt signals an attack on industries like trucking that rely significantly on contractors.”

Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2015-1 is aimed at “misclassification” of employees as independent contractors. The issue has been a focus of the Obama administration and is being pushed by labor unions, most visible among port drayage firms and in recent highly publicized and successful lawsuits against FedEx.

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Source: www.TruckingInfo.com

Port of New York and New Jersey Saw Record Container Traffic

The Port of New York and New Jersey handled a record number of shipping containers in July, though the pace of growth eased from the torrid rates seen in recent months.

The port complex saw total traffic rise last month to 588,918 twenty-foot equivalent units, the standard measure for containers, a gain of 14.1% from a year earlier and 4.7% higher than June, when volumes also set an all-time high. July’s pace of annual growth was slightly faster than the 13.5% growth rate the port saw through the first seven months of 2015.

East Coast ports have seen a surge in container volumes in 2015 as shipping lines diverted vessels away from West Coast ports that saw disruptions tied to labor strife earlier this year. However, ports along the East Coast saw the rate of growth tail off in July. Traffic is also rebounding on the West Coast, with ports from Long Beach to Seattle reporting strong increases in container volumes last month. Together, the numbers indicate that shipping routes are slowly returning to normal, analysts say.

 

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Source: www.Nasdaq.com

East Coast ports thrive after West Coast shutdown

What’s been bad for West Coast ports has been good for their East Coast counterparts. Earlier this year, after a labor standoff dragged out for months and debilitated delivery of cargo bound for California, shippers began diverting seaborne containers east.

Even as West Coast port activity has normalized, some of the new trade routes have stuck. In the first half of 2015, West Coast market share slipped to 50 percent of overall U.S. import volume, versus a 55 percent stake during the same period in 2014, according to the Piers waterborne trade database owned by IHS. East Coast market share jumped to 43 percent, 3 percentage points higher than the prior year’s first six months.

But as peak shipping season gets underway, the multibillion dollar question everyone in this industry is asking: Can the Eastern hubs hang onto the business?

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Source: www.CNBC.com

Double-digit volume jump puts NY-NJ on pace for record year

The Port of New York and New Jersey’s container volume during the first half of 2015 rose 13.4 percent from a year earlier, putting the East Coast’s largest port on pace to exceed its record 2014 volume.

Between January and June, the port handled 3.1 million 20-foot-equivalent units. Loaded import containers totaled 1.575 million TEUs, up 13.1 percent. The port handled 279,038 TEUs of loaded import boxes in June, a 15.5 percent increase from June 2014.

“We’re reaping the benefits of a strong regional economy and labor uncertainty on the West Coast,” said Port Commerce Director Richard Larrabee,. “Our challenge now is to find ways to more efficiently handle the record volumes we’ve seen all year, and we’ve been working collaboratively with all port stakeholders to meet this goal.”

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Source: www.joc.com

Bill would lower interstate truck driver age to 18

 Parents may hesitate to hand teens the keys to the family car, but Congress is proposing to allow drivers as young as 18 to get behind the wheel of big rigs on the nation’s interstates

Federal regulations currently require drivers be at least 21 before they can drive commercial trucks across state lines, but a bill introduced this week by Republican senators would allow contiguous states that join together in “compacts” to drop the age threshold to 18 for interstate trips. There is no limit on the number of states that could join the compacts.

After four years, the Transportation secretary is supposed to report to Congress on whether teens have “an equivalent level of safety” in comparison with older truckers.

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Source: US News

Truckers bracing for more port congestion as container chassis hard to come by

Some trucking companies are preparing for especially bad congestion at U.S. ports as enough container chassis are still proving hard to find and pre-holiday retail shipments will be ramping up soon, media sources report.

Key ports at Savannah, Georgia, the ports of New York and New Jersey and Los Angeles are seeing record cargo volumes but chassis are running low as planned fixes are easier said than done, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Chassis used to be owned by ocean carriers but the shipping lines found maintaining and storing the chassis burdensome and sold the chassis (on which the containers rest and are moved) to private leasing companies in 2009.

The leasing companies rent different types of chassis, meaning that container haulers have to go out of their way to return chassis to different locations, causing longer wait times and more congestion.

And if the chassis aren’t returned within a specific time period, truckers are charged a demurrage fee or penalty. Despite the penalty, some haulers find it’s more productive to hang on to the chassis.

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Source: www.TheTrucker.com

Back-to-School season means more work for Truckers

Import volume at the busiest U.S. container gateways during July is expected to rise 7.3 percent from a year earlier as retailers prepare for back-to-school sales, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report.

U.S. consumer spending rose by 0.9 percent in May, the largest increase since August 2009, the Commerce Department said.

That indicates that consumer confidence is returning — a positive sign for imports, said Ben Hackett of Hackett Associates, which produces the monthly Port Tracker for the National Retail Federation.

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.61 million 20-foot-equivalent units in May, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 8.2 percent year-over-year.

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Source: www.JOC.com