Here are five things worth knowing today:
1. Amid the truck driver shortage, the federal government is paying for driver training in Nebraska through the Job Driven National Emergency Grant, KVNO News reports. The grant provides funding to train people for jobs in the manufacturing, transportation, distribution and logistics industries. According to Larry Marsh, director of JTL Truck Driver Training, there are about 40,000 vacant jobs in the trucking industry, KVNO said. KVNO has more.
2. The expansion of the Panama Canal will have a dramatic impact on logistics in the U.S., Fortune reports. The expansion is being done to accommodate more and larger ocean traffic, particularly as companies are becoming more frustrated with the congestion and problems at the West Coast ports. According to the report, a Boston Consulting Group study argues that “after expansion, shippers will be more likely to use East Coast ports to move Asian goods bound for Detroit, Memphis, Chicago, and surrounding regions. The Midwest will become a ‘battleground’ for traffic between West and East Coast ports.”
3. A group of Eco Flow Transportation truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach voted to unionize this week, according to The Wall Street Journal. The 88 drivers who unionized joined the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and they will bring the total number of Teamsters in that region to around 450, according to the report. Many drivers are opting to remain independent, saying that some trucking companies have raised their rates and are now compensating their drivers for wait time as the ports become more and more congested, The Wall Street Journal said.
4. FedEx has agreed to pay $228 million to settle a decade-long lawsuit involving misclassification of workers, Logistics Management reports. The lawsuit was brought on by 2,300 California workers at FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery after the company classified workers as independent contractors rather than employees. According to the report, by classifying workers as independent contractors, “FedEx saves untold millions on taxes, fringes, health care costs, pensions, worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance obligations,” Logistics Management said.
5. Black Hills Trucking in North Dakota is facing $950,000 in fines for alleged illegal dumping, according to The Dickinson Press. The state’s Industrial Commission filed a complaint against the company last year, alleging it improperly disposed of produced water, a byproduct of oil production, according to the report. The trucking company denied the allegations. The Dickinson Press has more.