Your Oct. 8 Pre-Trip: Trucking industry braces for downturn

Here are five things worth knowing today:

1. According to The Wall Street Journal, “the trucking industry is bracing for a downturn, and that’s a poor signal for the U.S. economy.” The Journal’s Logistics Report states the poor outlook suggests the market is adjusting to inventory that piled up as a result of the West Coast ports’ dispute and companies over-ordering to ensure they had enough goods on hand. That means, trucking companies will have a more difficult time raising rates and many companies will end up waiting until inventories fall before ordering again, WSJ said.  

2. A 15-mile stretch of I-95 remains closed due to ongoing flooding in South Carolina, and it is causing problems for long-distance drivers. According to The Elkhart Truth, an estimated 30,000 cars and trucks travel on I-95 between Interstates 20 and 26. According to the report, more than 10,000 trucks use I-95 to haul goods to businesses and consumers. Trucks, like other drivers, are being re-routed and are finding unexpected barricades on hundreds of secondary roads. According to the report, it is still too early to estimate the commercial losses from the storm.

3. In the wake of the flooding and dam failures in the Carolinas, a CBS News report poses the question: “Is America’s infrastructure designed to withstand what many scientists predict will be a greater frequency of increasingly powerful storms?” According to the report, one climate change expert doesn’t think so. Joel Smith, a principal with Abt Associates, a firm that addresses social and environmental issues, told CBS, “First of all, our current infrastructure is way under invested. It has deteriorated across the board. Dams, roadways, you name it, are not up to standards already.” CBS has more.

4. A truck driver from Fairbanks, AK, has been selected to transport the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree from Alaska to Washington, D.C. According to News Miner, The Voice of Interior Alaska, John Schank, a driver for Lynden Transport, will begin the 4,000-mile cross-country haul after the tree is cut from Chugach National Forest on Oct. 27. According to the report, Schank was recognized by the Alaska Trucking Association as the 2014 Driver of the Year after 37 years of accident-free driving.

5. Virginia’s Department of Transportation announced that the state has received a $55.5 million in “bonus” federal funds to improve roads and bridges statewide. According to VDOT, the funds, which were originally allocated to other states, were reallocated to Virginia because other states didn’t have projects ready to go to use the funding. VDOT said it will use the extra money to re-pave 400 lane miles of roadways across the state and improve 17 interstate bridges.

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