Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 24, 2014

Posts in "Shipping"

November 24, 2014

The Week Ahead: OPEC, Oil, Shipping, Shopping

72849335 445x285 The Week Ahead: OPEC, Oil, Shipping, Shopping

Workers place boxes on a conveyor belt at the FedEx facility at the Oakland International Airport. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

This week’s most significant transportation event won’t take place in Washington, or in the United States at all, but in Vienna where representatives of the OPEC oil cartel will be meeting on Thanksgiving Day.

The 12-member cartel is under stress from lower oil prices, with the price of benchmark Brent crude having fallen by 30 percent since June.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that U.S. crude production, driven in large part by advances in hydraulic fracturing, will increase from an average of 7.5 million barrels a day last year to 9.4 million barrels a day in 2015.

Full story

November 18, 2014

Freight Coalition Looks For Dedicated Revenue Stream

166777585 2 445x266 Freight Coalition Looks For Dedicated Revenue Stream

Container terminal in the Port of Los Angeles (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

A coalition of shippers, port authorities, retailers and other business groups is calling for a new revenue source to go solely to paying for large-scale infrastructure projects that would ease the movement of goods.

The Freight Stakeholders Coalition doesn’t have a unified position on what this new revenue source should be. But the Coalition will focus on the revenue issue as Congress begins to work on next year’s surface transportation bill.

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October 23, 2014

Energy Boom – And Sand – Benefit Union Pacific

71222521 445x256 Energy Boom – And Sand – Benefit Union Pacific

A Union Pacific train in Illinois (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Now is a great time to own a piece of a railroad, judging by the profits announced Thursday by the nation’s largest, Union Pacific.

The railroad, which serves West Coast and Gulf Coast ports and is a major shipper of grain, as well as of coal from Wyoming to power plants, set an all-time record for quarterly profits and for freight revenue, up 11 percent from the third quarter last year.

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October 10, 2014

A Look Back: Ebola Economics, Jihadists With European Passports & Biden On LaGuardia

452534810 445x308 A Look Back: Ebola Economics, Jihadists With European Passports & Biden On LaGuardia

Travelers at Kennedy Airport in New York (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

The risk of Ebola infection and the economic damage Ebola fears could wreak on aviation and tourism were big themes of our week.

As the Obama administration revised its plans to screen air passengers for signs of the deadly infection and as one Ebola-infected patient died in Dallas, some wondered about the efficacy of airport screening. Full story

October 8, 2014

Shipbuilders, Oil Refiners Spar Over Cost of U.S. Ships

88192406 445x296 Shipbuilders, Oil Refiners Spar Over Cost of U.S. Ships

The Alaskan Navigator oil tanker at the Port of Long Beach, Calif. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

The Jones Act, which requires that ships carrying cargo between U.S. ports be built in the United States and crewed by American citizens, has been on the books for nearly 100 years. It seems to have good “genes” for survival.

But taking nothing for granted, American shipbuilders, who are enjoying a surge of growth due to the boom in domestic crude oil, vigorously oppose any move to repeal or weaken the 1920 law. Full story

October 3, 2014

A Look Back: Ebola, Aftermath of An ATC Fire, Industry Reacts to Oil Tanker Car Rules

453306488 1 445x310 A Look Back: Ebola, Aftermath of An ATC Fire, Industry Reacts to Oil Tanker Car Rules

Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tried to reassure travelers this week about the Ebola virus (Photo: Jewel SamadAFP/Getty Images)

This week the Ebola virus dominated the news — including transportation news — as one case of a person infected with Ebola was reported in Dallas.

Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tried to assure travelers that the man who flew to Dallas from Liberia had not been infectious while on board the airplanes he took.   Full story

October 2, 2014

Panama Canal Expansion A Big Deal for U.S. Engineers

The project to expand the Panama Canal — officially launched in 2007 and set to be finished early in 2016 — is having ripple effects on the U.S. economy from railroads to ports.

The canal’s expanded capacity will likely reduce shipping rates between East Asian ports such as Shenzhen and ports on the Gulf Coast and East Coast of the United States.

With port expansion projects such as the one in Miami, the new Panama Canal means more work for the people who design big infrastructure — civil engineers.

Full story

September 26, 2014

A Look Back: Toll Lanes, A Big Bankruptcy, Hedging Gone Bad & LNG-Powered Ships

470901883 445x279 A Look Back: Toll Lanes, A Big Bankruptcy, Hedging Gone Bad & LNG Powered Ships

A Las Vegas highway interchange (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

This week on The Container, we reported on the role of toll lanes in the North Carolina Senate race where donors to the campaign of Republican Thom Tillis could benefit from a new exit being built as part of a project near Charlotte.

Tillis is challenging first-term Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan, as the GOP aims for at least 51 seats.

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September 23, 2014

LNG-Powered Ships Get $324.6M Loan Guarantee

143087510 445x301 LNG Powered Ships Get $324.6M Loan Guarantee

Workers change pipes at gas drilling rig exploring the Marcellus Shale outside Waynesburg, Pa. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

With a natural gas boom underway in shale formations such as the Marcellus in Pennsylvania and neighboring states, the Energy Information Administration projects a 56 percent increase in domestic natural gas production from 2012 to 2040.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx wants to use some of that abundant and relatively cheap natural gas to power container ships.

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September 12, 2014

Thirteen Years After 9/11, A New Attempt To Screen 100 Percent of Cargo Containers

166779106 445x275 Thirteen Years After 9/11, A New Attempt To Screen 100 Percent of Cargo Containers

Cranes at the Port of Los Angeles ( Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

In 2007, to avert the danger of a terrorist attack on an American port, Congress required that all containers coming to the United States be scanned by non-intrusive inspection and radiation detection equipment before being loaded onto U.S.-bound ships in foreign ports.

It set July 1, 2012 as the deadline for achieving this goal.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 4:21 p.m.
Ports, Security, Shipping

July 24, 2014

Cruise Ship Passengers Recount ‘Horrific’ Incidents (Video)

Passengers gave harrowing testimony about illness and crime aboard cruise ships at a hearing Wednesday of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

Security guards “did everything wrong” and “waited at least 10 minutes to even call for someone to come down and look at my mother’s body to see if she was breathing or not,” said Amanda Butler, whose mother collapsed while on a Carnival cruise while the ship was docked at Grand Cayman Island.

The woman, Violet Butler, later died.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 10:06 a.m.
Shipping

July 21, 2014

Deepening of Savannah Port Is an Issue in Jack Kingston-David Perdue Race

The Port of Savannah is one point of contention in a Georgia Republican primary runoff Tuesday in which 11-term Rep. Jack Kingston vies with businessman David Perdue for the party’s Senate nomination.

Tuesday’s winner will face Democrat Michelle Nunn in November in a contest that The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call ratings puts in the “Favored Republican” category.

Full story

July 11, 2014

Domestic Oil Boom Helps U.S. Shipyards Rebound

The oil boom that has sparked controversy over rail shipments of Bakken crude from North Dakota has also been a boon for U.S. shipyards.

This week we interviewed Matthew Paxton, the president of the Shipbuilders Council of America, on the health of the U.S. shipbuilding industry. His organization represents small shipyards that build fishing vessels as well as large companies such as Huntington Ingalls and General Dynamics which turn out aircraft carriers and submarines.

Full story

July 3, 2014

Transportation Jobs Up 12 Percent From Recession’s Low Point

The number of Americans working in transportation reached 4,618,500 in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly jobs report released Thursday morning.

That’s a 501,300, or 12 percent, increase from the worst days of the recession. And it exceeds by nearly 58,000 jobs the pre-financial crisis peak in April 2008 of 4,560,600 Americans working in transportation. You can see the rebound in transportation jobs in this chart from BLS:

bls transpo jobs jun14 report1 445x222 Transportation Jobs Up 12 Percent From Recession’s Low Point

The BLS transportation category includes people working in air, truck, and rail transportation, as well as some related jobs such as couriers, messengers, and warehousing.

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June 30, 2014

Towns Can Ban Fracking, Top New York Court Rules

New York State’s highest court ruled Monday that state law does not supersede local towns’ “home rule” authority to outlaw hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

It’s a decision that has implications for the continued expansion of domestic natural gas supplies — which in turn affect economic development and transportation, from trucking to rail to shipping.

The two towns involved in Monday’s decision, Dryden and Middlefield, banned fracking in 2011.

The town boards “both studied the issue and acted within their home rule powers in determining that gas drilling would permanently alter and adversely affect the deliberately cultivated, small-town character of their communities,” the New York State Court of Appeals said in its decision.

Full story

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