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Record imports expected as West Coast port talks continue

Import volume at major U.S. container ports is expected to hit an all-time record in August as retailers concerned about the lack of a West Coast longshoremen’s contract rush to bring holiday season merchandise into the country, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released on August 11 by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.

Missouri voters vote down tax increase meant for roads

On Aug. 5, Missouri voters voted down by a margin of almost 3 to 2 Constitutional Amendment 7, a ballot measure that would have temporarily raised the state’s sales tax by ¾ of a cent. All proceeds from the 10-year tax would have been directed toward much-needed transportation improvements across the state, including items from the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission list that included resurfacing thousands of miles of roads, as well as improving ports, railroads and airports.

Strengthening demand driving trucking growth

“The truck freight recovery is kicking into a higher gear” with overall strong demand and tightening capacity, according to an article in the August 4 issue of the Journal of Commerce (JOC). “The freight surge benefiting truckload carriers likely comes from industrial production and construction demand, which are growing ahead of consumer spending,” noted JOC. U.S. Commerce Department statistics showed retail sales up 4.3 percent year-over-year, but only up 0.2 percent from May.

Trucking industry asked to rank top concerns

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the trucking industry’s not-for-profit research organization, launched the 2014 Top Industry Issues Survey on August 11. The annual survey, commissioned by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), asks trucking industry stakeholders to rank the top issues of concern for the industry along with appropriate strategies for addressing each issue. The survey is in its 10th year and participation by trucking stakeholders has grown each year.

Study finds California could convert to all-renewable energy

A new study by Stanford University researchers outlines how California could convert to an all-renewable energy infrastructure that is both technically and economically feasible. As summarized in the July 30 issue of CleanTechnica,  the plan would create approximately 220,000 manufacturing, installation, and technology construction and operation jobs, even after taking into account losses of fossil-fuel and nuclear jobs. Additionally, California would walk away with net earnings of around $12 billion annually.

Scam artists target Crane & Rigging Workshop registrants

SC&RA members have reported receiving calls offering discount room rates in conjunction with the Crane & Rigging Workshop, Sept. 24-26, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel in Dallas, Texas. Please be advised that SC&RA has no affiliation with third-party vendors for this or any meeting and that any calls regarding booking a room for SC&RA events are a scam.

Ontario targets construction falls this summer

A summer construction industry blitz by the Ontario Ministry of Labour is focusing on hazards that can result in falls.  Inspectors have been visiting construction sites to check compliance with legislation and regulations. To keep workers safe and prevent falls, the inspectors will ensure that:

Study shows motor vehicle enforcement disparities

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) announced on July 31 that it had released a study that evaluates the impact of commercial motor vehicle enforcement disparities on carrier safety performance. The analysis documents the necessity for some flexibility in developing enforcement strategies specific to a state’s needs, but also confirms that state enforcement disparities create uneven safety playing fields for carriers that have different operating patterns and mileage exposure in the lower 48 states. 

Momentum increases for Architecture Billings Index

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is signaling improving conditions for the overall design and construction industry. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. At the end of July, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the June ABI score was 53.5, up from a mark of 52.6 in May. This score reflects an increase in design activity (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings).

Canada adds construction trades to Foreign Credential Recognition Program

Carpenter, welder, electrician, heavy duty equipment operator and heavy duty equipment technician are among a list of 10 new occupations recently added to Canada’s Foreign Credential Recognition Program. They are the first construction trades designated for priority under the program, which is designed to improved processes to recognize credentials and certifications earned by workers in foreign jurisdictions. The skill trades were identified as a priority due to increased demand in some sectors and regions in Canada.