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Trucks Face Long Waits at Ports

The rapid expansion in global trade has led to a mushrooming of truck traffic at many ports around the world. This has made truck congestion a choke point for continued growth in these places. Too often this choking threatens to become literal, as thousands of idling trucks add an enormous volume of pollutants to the air. Nearby residents and port workers risk respiratory damage from all the diesel particulates they breathe in. Cities such as Los Angeles that have made huge efforts to reduce emissions from automobiles and stationary sources find that their efforts are being thwarted by growing levels of exhausts from waiting trucks. To ease congestion, some ports are switching to round the clock operations. Currently, most ports only operate during a day shift. The hours are usually from 7 a.m. To 5 p.m. While keeping terminals and other facilities open for operation 24 hours a day may cut down on congestion, it may also act as an irritant to local residents who may not appreciate the noise generated by trucks rolling along through the night. Truck drivers are generally supportive of expanded hours, since they often line up to wait for hours for the port to open… read more »

Rail and the Future of International Shipping

Since railroads offer the cheapest method for transporting goods over land and ships are the most economical form of transit by sea, it is only natural for the two systems to become increasingly intertwined within the ongoing expansion of global trade. A similar connection is to be found between rail transport and truck transport. Both developments key to advances in communications assisted by computers, cell phones, and other mobile devices. All work together to make for a smooth transition flow that allows goods to more readily reach their destinations. While ships may move at slow speeds over long distance, the fact that much of their cargo now moves by container means that goods can be moved around the world in the same relative amount of time that they were moved nationwide, in the case of the United States just a few decades ago. It isn’t so much that the ships have sped up, though they are moving about twenty percent faster than they used to, but because merchandise no longer sits around a warehouse so long waiting to be sorted out before moving out to market. Containers have markedly decreased the time goods spend being warehoused, both in transit by… read more »

New Rail Projects Run to Ports

Railroads and ships work well together in providing efficient, economical means for moving goods. Railroads are the cheapest form for overland transport, while ships are the most cost effective means for transporting goods overseas. For this reason, the growing volume of global trade has prompted many countries into building new ports and expanding old ones while also undertaking the task of constructing railroad lines to service the ports. Australia is building a new deep water port along its west coast to facilitate development of its mineral resources. The Okajee Port and Rail project will haul coal, iron ore, and other bulk materials in vast quantities from the Australian interior to the coast. The material will then be loaded onto bulk carriers destined for Japan, China, and other growing regional economies anxious for the material. The Mitsubishi Corporation is the lead contractor for the project, reflecting how closely this project is tied into the Japanese economy as a whole. A new rail project in Los Angeles is designed to ease up the congestion caused by thousands of trucks lining up to load and unload their containers at the Port of Los Angeles – Long Beach complex. The rail line will eliminate… read more »