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U.S.-NAFTA freight flows top $100 billion for fifth straight month

Freight between the U.S. and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners totaled $101.1 billion in July 2014 as all five major transportation modes—air, vessel, pipeline, rail, and trucks—carried more U.S.-NAFTA freight than in July 2013, according to a report released on Sept. 10 by the U.S. Department of Transportation.  This is the fifth consecutive month with U.S.-NAFTA freight flows exceeding $100 billion. 

Economic expansion leads to Canadian trucking consolidation

As the Canadian economy grows, the nation’s trucking industry has been consolidating, “with the largest less-than-truckload payers buying smaller competitors to gain territory and build density as the Canadian economy grows,” according to an article in the Sept. 9 issue of the Journal of Commerce. Examples include:

Average diesel prices hits lowest level since July 16, 2012

The national average price of diesel fuel declined 2.3 cents to $3.755 per gallon, according to a Department of Energy report on September 29. That was the same price drop as the previous week. Compared to the same week a year ago, prices were down 16.4 cents per gallon. Nationwide, diesel last cost less on July 16, 2012, when the average sat at $3.695. The most recent regional average diesel prices were:

  • East Coast: $3.778
  • Midwest: $3.694
  • Gulf Coast: $3.685
  • Rocky Mountain: $3.806
  • West Coast: $3.948

Construction costs increase for 32nd straight month

Current construction costs increased for the 32nd consecutive month in September, according to a report released on Sept. 24 by IHS and the Procurement Executives Group. The Engineering and Construction Cost Index (ECCI) registered 57.8 percent in September, up from 53 percent in August.   

SC&RA welcomes four new members and two returning members

Please join SC&RA in welcoming the following new members:

Cables Y Equipos, S.A. De C.V.: Alberto Vega Ugalde
Paseo Rio Grande No 223
Col. Arquitos
Queretaro, QRO. 76048
Phone: +52 (442) 248 2995
Service: Rigging Product Supplier
Recruited By:  Joe Bridgeman, Gunnebo Johnson Corporation

Construction jobs increased in 36 states during past year

Construction firms added jobs in 36 states between August 2013 and August 2014 while construction employment increased in 28 states between July and August, according to an analysis of Labor Department data released on Sept. 19 by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). “The number of states with increases in construction employment over the last 12 months moderated in August but remained strongly positive as construction activity continues to spread across most of the nation,” said AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson.

DOT sued for failure to issue truck driver training requirements

A federal appellate court should order the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue a long-overdue rule outlining training standards for entry-level truck drivers, safety advocates and a union told the court in a lawsuit filed Sept. 18. Congress initially told the agency to finish a rulemaking process on driver training by 1993, but the agency still has not done so.

OSHA, National Safety Council renew alliance

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and National Safety Council (NSC) announced on Sept. 16 that they have renewed their alliance to work together to protect the health and safety of workers and understand the rights of workers and responsibilities of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

North American government shows growing interest in renewable energy

Recent editions of Wind Energy SmartBrief include items of interest to SC&RA members involved with the hauling, erection and maintenance of wind farms in rural United States and in Ontario, Canada:

Pennsylvania plans to replace more than 500 bridges in next four years

On Sept. 22, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) released a list of more than 500 bridges that will be replaced under its Rapid Bridge Replacement Public-Private Partnership. The partnership will compress the construction schedule for the bridges from the typical eight to twelve years to four years or less.

Virtually all work is expected to be completed by the summer of 2018, according to PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch. “We believe we’re going to be able to deliver these at a much lower cost and in a much smaller time frame,” he said.