Thursday, May 31, 2012

March Surface Trade with Canada and Mexico Exceeds $85 Billion for First Time

There was so much arguing when they planned to comply with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that our country agreed to back in 1994. Would foreign truck drivers have to follow U.S. laws? Would the U.S. pay for electronic HOS devices on foreign trucks? Would foreign truck drivers be able to stay here forever? Would foreign drivers steal business that could be given to U.S. companies? There were and still are many unanswered questions. But the idea seems to be – the agreement was a good one.
Surface trade between the U.S. and its North American Free Trade Agreement partners, Canada and Mexico, was 6.2% higher in March 2012 than in March 2011, totaling $85.8 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation. March 2012 was the highest month for NATFA trade value since collection of data began in 1994, exceeding $85 billion for the first time and topping the previous record of $80.8 billion in March 2011.
The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico in March increased by 88.2% compared to March 2002, a period of 10 years. Imports in March were up 76.1% since March 2002, while exports were up 104.5%.
U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico surface transportation trade in March 2012 both increased compared to March 2011 with U.S.-Canada trade reaching $50.1 billion, a 2.9% increase, and U.S.-Mexico trade reaching $35.7 billion, an 11.2% increase.
More exports are leaving giving the U.S. more money and we are able to import more goods thus reducing prices of goods in the U.S. Overall, the outlook is positive… only time will tell if the trend continues. Hopefully it does.
Read more here

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Diesel prices drop below $4 for first time in 3 months

The national average retail diesel price fell 4.8 cents to $3.956 a gallon for the week ended Monday, May 21, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration. The price has fallen 19.2 cents in the last six weeks and fell below $4 a gallon for the first time since the week ended Feb. 20 and is 4.1 cents below the same week in 2011.
Average retail prices fell in all regions, led by a 6.2-cent decrease in the New England. The nation’s cheapest diesel was $3.854 in the Midwest, while the most expensive was $4.303 in California.
Complete diesel price information is available on EIA’s Website

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Road condition update for drivers

I-70 Bridge to Detour Drivers During Summer and Next Year
For 12 months starting in November and for several weekends this summer, construction on Interstate 70's Blanchette Bridge over the Missouri River, between St. Louis and St. Charles, Mo., at mile marker 230, will detour westbound I-70 traffic. Due to the construction, commercial motor vehicle drivers are urged to take a detour, using I-270 and Mo. 370 as an alternate route.
Between now and November, smaller weekend projects will close multiple lanes of I-70 near the bridge. These weekends, the the Missouri Department of Transportation says, are a good opportunity for drivers to get used to the detour route. Although the detour adds five miles to the route, it is expected to shave several minutes off of travel time compared to driving through the narrow work zones.
That work is scheduled for the weekends of June 22-24, June 29-July 1 and July 21-23. The dates are subject to change due to weather or supply issues.
The weekend of July 13-25 on the east end of the bridge, two lanes of I-70 will close in each direction as crews build crossover lanes in the median. In early November, the crossover will be put to use as the current westbound bridge is closed.
To learn more about the project, go to Drivers can sign up for MODOT email updates on the bridge project and detours.

Monday, May 21, 2012

ReedTMS is hiring Carrier Sales Assciates!


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Will have flexible work hours – Afterhours assignment will periodically occur based on opportunity and coverage need. Should have attention to detail with accuracy, a team-oriented attitude, strong problem solving and analytical skills. Candidate must be goal oriented, self-motivated and possess strong negotiation skills. Outgoing personality and competitive attitude is a must. Familiarity with Microsoft and related software is a plus. Bachelor’s degree required.
Visit the website at for more information!
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Freeze cuts Michigan apple crop by more than 50%

I wanted to give a produce update for those of you who follow the industry or you’re like me and you just really love apples and get upset when they’re out of season…

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — More than half of Michigan’s apple crop — possibly much more — could be lost due to late-April freezes, and the state’s southwestern fruit production is a near-total loss.
The damage to that part of the state applies to apples, peaches, plums and cherries.
“Essentially, there is no tree fruit in southwest Michigan,” Barry Winkel, general manager of Greg Orchards & Produce Inc., said May 16. “We’ve been saying we need to wait and see. Well, we’ve waited. In this business, you don’t want to face the reality. You want to hope there’s something out there, but there isn’t.”
This year’s losses are unprecedented, Winkel said.
“My uncle, who is 81 and still a partner here, said he can’t remember anything like this,” he said.
Grower-shippers in the Fruit Ridge region of Michigan, where the majority of the state’s apples are grown, said they should have a much better handle on the extent of damage in June. What isn’t in doubt is that it will be substantial.
“We’ve been telling our customers not to expect more than 50% (of normal volumes), and that may be very optimistic,” said Tom Pletcher, vice president of sales and marketing at BelleHarvest Sales Inc., Belding, Mich. “We’re going to have fruit, and it’s going to be a reduced amount, we’re just not sure what that amount will be.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Michigan shipped the equivalent of nearly 4.8 million 40-pound cartons of apples last season.
By June 1, Sparta, Mich.-based Riveridge Produce expects to know the extent of damage, said Don Armock, president.
“I thought we’d know by now, but we didn’t start to get warm weather until the last three or four days,” Armock said May 16. “We have some side bloom that appears to be viable. But we got some pretty significant damage.”
In some areas, temperatures dipped to 22, but in others, they never got below 32, Armock said.
At Hart, Mich., northwest of the Fruit Ridge region, losses are also heavy, said Tyler Hodges, sales manager of Hart-based Todd Greiner Farms.
“There may be 5% left,” Hodges said May 16, referring to all tree fruit in the region. “It’s going to hurt a lot of people.”
Story from

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fuel Prices Keep Falling, Greek Economy Affects Oil Prices

Diesel and gasoline prices dropped for the fifth straight week, but oil prices continue to fall due to concerns over Europe, particularly Greece's economy.
Diesel fuel prices dropped by an average of 5.3 cents to $4.004 a gallon, according the the Energy Information Administration's weekly fuel upstate. This is the lowest the average price of diesel has been since late February. Prices are down by an average of 5.7 cents from a year ago.
Gasoline prices dropped by 3.6 cents this week to $3.754 a gallon. That's more than 20 cents lower than gasoline prices a year ago. Prices in the West Coast, the only region to see an increase, went up 12 cents.
Light, sweet crude oil for June delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled $1.35 lower, at $94.78 a barrel, a new low for 2012. The decrease is due to mounting concerns about Greece's economy and rising global oil supplies.
Traders said oil prices are heading for a critical juncture around $92.50 a barrel. This could clear the way for prices as low as $85 a barrel, a level not touched since last October.
Story from To see the EIA's complete weekly fuel update, click here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Put the phone down!

Although it was already against the law for truck drivers to use their cell phones while driving, many states don’t have the same law for regular commuters. I have to say I don’t quite understand why the FMSCA thought it was a good idea to ban cell phone use for truck drivers but some states have yet to implement the law on everyone else, but I digress.
It came out a few days ago that Alabama is now the 38th state to prohibit texting behind the wheel. The new law signed by Gov. Robert Bentley takes effect on Aug. 1, and violators will be fined $25 for a first offense, $50 for a second offense and $75 for a third or subsequent offense. Pretty cheap tickets for such a dangerous act, but it’s a start. Just like speeding tickets, I’m sure it will rise over time.
The thing that worries me is how do you catch someone? Of course if you’re driving and someone rear-ends you and openly admits they were on their phone they can get a ticket, but what about everything else? Are police just supposed to look at drivers on the road and see if their phones are out? And I have a bad feeling that this could make it worse.. People who text and drive generally hold their phone right in front of their face so they can glance back and forth from the phone to the road quickly. Stupid yes, but painfully obvious their texting to passersby. Simply making it a new law may prevent some drivers from texting, but what will the others do? They will now hide their phones in their lap so you can’t see what they’re doing – it will just look like their looking down. But if they’re looking down, then they have even more ground to cover from their lap back to the road in front of them.
Personally, I think they should ban ALL cell phone use while on the road and you can only talk if you have a hands-free set. That way there is no discretion and it becomes more difficult to hide what you’re doing. Have your phone out when you’re driving = ticket. The changing of technology has to mean the changing of roadway laws. We should want our roads as safe as possible, and cell phones have no place in a driver’s hands.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Georgia vegetable crops could begin early

Georgia grower-shippers plan to begin harvesting traditional Southern vegetables such as bell peppers, cucumbers and squash earlier than normal for the spring season. Shippers say they hope prices strengthen as the deals transition from Florida to south Georgia. Grower-shippers are looking to a stronger-than-normal bell pepper market leading into Georgia. Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. Inc. plans to begin harvesting in late May, as normal.
“Pepper is short now and the market is strong out of Florida,” Adam Lytch, operations manager, said in mid-April.
“Demand exceeds supply. There’s not enough pepper coming out of Florida anytime soon to hurt the deal before it gets to Georgia.”
Lytch said L&M, which grows and ships from south Florida, plans to begin its north Florida pepper harvest in early May. He said central Florida likely won’t have enough supply to affect prices. In late April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported 1 1/9-bushel cartons of green jumbo and extra large bell peppers from Florida selling for $20-20.85 and large for $18-18.85, with medium at $16.35-18.35.
That’s higher than last season in late April when the USDA reported $12.85 for jumbos and extra-large and $10.85-$12.85 for large from Florida districts.
South Georgia Produce Inc., Lake Park, Ga., expects to begin its bell pepper harvest mid- to late May toward the first of June, said Shannon Vickers, salesman and quality control manager for Manwell Produce Inc., Valdosta, Ga., which markets for South Georgia Produce. Vickers said early spring prices from south Florida are low.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Driver being sought in a hit-and-run in Plant City, Florida

Car accidents are always a tragedy. No matter the circumstance or the people involved, they are always a tragedy. This past Wednesday, May 2nd a married couple driving on Interstate 4 near Plant City was cut-off by an aggressive driver. I have previously shared my feelings about road rage and this is the main reason I feel so strongly about it. What was so important to the driver of this unidentified car that they needed to cut-off a SUV while driving on the interstate? The answer is nothing. NOTHING is so important that you need to drive aggressively.
The couple swerved into the emergency lane trying to avoid a collision with the car that cut them off, then overcorrected and collided with a semitrailer. Neither of them were wearing their seat belts and they were both ejected from the vehicle and died later at the hospital. The driver of the semitrailer was not injured.
And what did the person do that caused this ghastly crash? Kept right on driving. They had to be aware of the accident they just caused and they didn’t even have the decency to stop. Two people are now dead and this aggressive driver is the cause. My heart goes out to their loved ones and I am sending this out as a friendly reminder that being on the roads can be a dangerous place and running a few minutes late is not the end of the world. If you’re late, then you’re late. Drive carefully and think about the other drivers on the road as well as yourself.
Authorities in Tampa are searching for a dark colored compact car in connection with the crash. Witnesses should call troopers at 813-631-4020.
Read the full story here.