Skip to main content

This month we get into the latest in the transportation industry with a heavy focus on collaboration to return to normalcy at the Port of Baltimore, sustainability, and teenagers driving tractor trailers. 

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

The transportation sector on the East Coast is getting a much-needed boost that would make the A-Team’s John “Hannibal” Smith give a resounding thumbs-up. Initially reported by Supply Chain Dive, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania are alleviating some pressure on truck drivers in the wake of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse. The relief begins by waiving the International Registration Plan and International Fuel Tax Association requirements for those hauling to or from seaports amid the ongoing state of emergency. It’s a positive sign for the industry to see these measures enacted so quickly without getting tangled in red tape. Coupled with Virginia’s issuance of free, 30-day container hauling permits, these measures promise to enhance freight mobility significantly. Extending driving hours and postponing tax deadlines further support the industry’s recovery efforts. 

Simultaneously, the Port of Baltimore is gearing up for a phased reopening, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) planning to open a temporary channel by the end of April. This channel, designed for one-way traffic, will have a depth of 35 feet and a width of 280 feet, paving the way for the gradual restoration of shipping activities. By the end of May, the USACE expects to unveil a permanent channel to restore the port to full capacity, ensuring robust support for the regional supply chain. These coordinated efforts underscore a committed approach to expediting the recovery plan, and just like Hannibal, we love it when a plan comes together. 

It Was All Yellow

It’s been some time since Yellow was in the news following last year’s demise. FreightWaves reported that XPO, the largest purchaser of Yellow’s assets, reopened three former Yellow facilities in locations in Tennessee, Colorado, and Arizona. The first three opened as scheduled, according to XPO CEO Mario Harik. He added that this is part of XPO’s strategy to increase its presence in specific markets while introducing advanced services and offerings. If it holds true to its original plan, XPO would need to reopen another 20 locations by the end of the year and the remaining sites by the middle of next year. 

Estes, another player in acquiring Yellow assets, recently opened three former Yellow terminals of its own in South Carolina, Nevada, and New Jersey. As for the additional former Yellow terminals, Estes plans on opening at least 20 more by the end of the year. 

Although it was separate from the strategy to purchase real estate, Roadrunner was anxious to solidify its network in the Atlanta area. The Journal of Commerce (JOC) announced Roadrunner joined the party by opening another former Yellow asset, a 75-door terminal in Atlanta. Chris Jamroz, CEO of Roadrunner, stressed the importance of having a hub in Atlanta to round out hubs in other major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas. 

Collaboration in the Face of Disruption

Not to be one-upped by government entities, Supply Chain Dive reported the ongoing efforts by logistics service providers (LSPs) to mitigate the impacts of the bridge collapse in Baltimore. This includes bracing shippers and forwarders of upcoming challenges with drayage and stressing the need to stay informed and flexible. Many large LSPs are working closely with ocean carrier partners to manage and anticipate volume surges, congestion, and equipment availability issues. This collaborative effort will help to smooth out potential spikes in demand that could further complicate logistics landscapes. 

Like most significant disruptions, the tragic events surrounding the Baltimore bridge collapse were unprecedented. You can’t plan for everything, and I doubt many of us were contingency planning for an event like that. However, when you see the local governments stepping in and the mighty efforts of the USACE and logistics providers, you see this trend toward collaboration and the power it holds in the face of disruptions. 

Who Wants a CDL? 

Forty-six is the average age of a trucker today, five years older than the average age across the general workforce. Like most industries, the trucking industry’s powers that be, the FMCSA, are working on ways to attract people to the industry to address diversity needs or to fill potential gaps. Its latest effort, reported by FreightWaves, looks to loosen up the rules for acquiring a CDL for potential drivers ages 18-21. The changes would allow drivers with a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) who have all passed the skills test for a CDL to drive as long as a current CDL holder occupies the passenger seat. Additional changes include allowing applicants to take the skills test in the state of their choice and shortening the waiting period between obtaining a CLP and taking the skills test. 

The debate over this initiative is that many feel it goes against the initiatives to improve safety within the industry, while others believe it’s a step in the right direction to clear red tape and address the potential driver shortage. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) made waves and drove many debates about the potential driver shortage facing commercial trucking. A few years ago, the estimate eclipsed 80,000, but the latest estimates by the ATA have it closer to 60,000 or possibly even less. 

Coal Exports Plummet, Naughty Children Rejoice

Another repercussion of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore is a drop in coal exports. As America’s second-largest coal hub, experts predict a massive 35% drop in coal exports in April alone, reports Transport Topics. Since the USACE is working to restore normal operations by the end of May, everyone should still be mindful to stay on the nice list. 

Hundreds of millions of cargo move through the Baltimore port each day, providing hundreds of millions in wages and thousands of jobs. For importers of U.S. coal, “Some government analysts have said that this port disaster could affect the volume of coal that is exported from the U.S., so it’s possible this bridge collapse in Baltimore could have a big effect on people who are making bricks in India,” said Laurel Walmsley, NPR national correspondent. 

California’s Green Light on Emission Waivers

FreightWaves reported on a landmark decision that would make even the most seasoned legal experts take notice. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has affirmed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to grant California waivers for more stringent environmental regulations. This ruling, stemming from the Ohio versus EPA case, solidifies California’s position at the forefront of the Advanced Clean Trucks rule and sets a precedent that could influence the trucking and fleet sectors nationwide.

As the dust settles on this verdict, the implications are clear — California will continue to drive the U.S. environmental agenda, potentially accelerating the adoption of similar standards in other states. For the trucking and fleet industries, adapting to these rules means compliance and staying in touch with the shift toward sustainability.

Volvo’s Commitment to a Greener Future

In a more realistic and down-to-earth acknowledgment of the shift to sustainable operations in transportation, Volvo Trucks President Roger Alm stressed the importance of creating a win across the board. Volvo aims to lead by example in the shift toward sustainable transportation. The company is expanding its fleet of electric trucks and investing in clean energy technologies, asserting that the path to reducing global CO2 emissions significantly involves advancing vehicle technology and forging strong partnerships with stakeholders that are equally committed to environmental conservation. Alm added, “We need to create a win for our customers. Our customers need to win by having us as a supplier. Our employees need to win by working for Volvo. Our owners need to win by investing in us. And society needs to win by everything we are doing.”

Driving Positive Change in Transportation

The transportation industry has changed a lot in our last few decades of operation. It’s the one constant you can always count on. At LGI, we are excited to bring positive change to the industry through a forward-thinking approach that blends collaboration and technology to drive the industry forward. We handle everything from the simple to the complex so you don’t have to. Our services include:

  • Dry Van Services – We offer complete dry van logistic management, with a robust tech stack to provide you the visibility, reliability, and transparency you deserve. 
  • Oil and Gas – At LGI, we started in oil and gas because we love a challenge. Our expertise in this space allows us to meet the unique needs of transporting oilfield equipment, machinery, and oil and gas. 
  • Heavy-Haul – Moving the biggest machinery requires expertise and a strict adherence to compliance and safety regulations. We don’t take any of that lightly, we thoroughly vet our network of carriers, not only because our reputation is on the line but yours is too. 

If you’re looking for a reliable transportation partner who can handle all your transportation needs, contact LGI and request a free quote. We look forward to building a collaborative partnership that delivers.