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Loads of New Responsibilities Present Challenges for Inland Terminals

Inland port terminals diversify the US supply chain when it comes to global trade. The escalation of e-commerce sales is impacting Intermodal logistics and taxing ground shipping of companies such as FedEx and UPS. The dedicated railway-to-maritime port component of inland ports alleviates the over-the-road capacity strain on these companies when accessing inbound shipments. With the resurgence and growth of the railroad industry giving rise to augmented rail-to-rail and Intermodal (rail-to-truck) freight capacity systems, dry port terminals have facilitated the circumvention of rising diesel fuel prices and downsizing in the trucking/carrier industry over recent years. Over the last five years, truck carriers such as J. B. Hunt, Werner Enterprises and CRST/Malone (Cedar Rapids Steel Transport’s flatbed division) have cut over-the-road capacity to 15 percent from a previous 12 percent cutback. According to Logistics Management’s September 2012 online issue, price trends for trucking carrier industry specialized services, such as LTL or less-than-truckload, general freight, tanker and other specialized freight services, are declining, down 9 percent just in June and July. Rail industry prices in the first seven months of 2012, conversely, were up 4.9 percent, 2 percent over trucking industry prices for the first 2012 quarter. Rail-to-rail freight shipping is gaining… read more »

Port Pollution Addressed Through Innovation

Ports are a major source of pollution, not only from the ships entering and leaving the harbor, but also from the numerous vehicles that service the port and handle the cargo coming in and going out. The latest ship designs can handle over ten thousand containers and that will often translate into an equal number of trucks needed to haul all of the containers away. Moving some of that load onto rail cars is but one of the many ways that port managers are employing to cut down on air pollution. The need for such reductions is becoming ever more apparent. Until now, few ports were obliged to meet air quality standards, but that has begun to change, spurring new efforts to cut back on the emissions spewing from these vital transit centers. Southern California is notorious for its smog and has waged a long and costly battle against it. The Los Angeles – Long Beach port complex is the largest single source of air pollution in the region and is now a target for reductions. The amount of cargo handled by this port complex has tripled in the last decade with a corresponding increase in emissions. Higher standards for… read more »