Cross-border shipping sets record

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Watkins & Shepard Trucking recently was awarded a $315,000 work force training grant from the Montana Department of Commerce to help pay for the training of 63 new truck drivers in Montana over the next year. The grant has reduced the cost of four-week training at Watkins & Shepard’s driving school from $4,000 to $1,000. Drivers only are required to put $250 down, and the remaining $750 is spread out over one year with weekly payments of $15.

TransCore is working with factoring services company Advance Business Capital to expand the selection of providers and integrated factoring services offered to freight brokers and carriers within TransCore’s Internet-based 3sixty Freight Match logistics service. The arrangement will allow TransCore customers more options to locate, arrange and finance loads risk-free on one online platform.

Transportation Intermediaries Association rolled out a program to benefit the brokerage-based third-party logistics industry, the Guaranteed Payment Program, which provides qualified TIA members with coverage beyond the standard requirement of $10,000 as set by the Department of Transportation. The program provides three levels of guarantee: $100,000, $25,000 and the standard $10,000.

First Advantage Corp.’s Transportation Services unit has enhanced its CompuNet credit report to search and retrieve information on brokers and carriers from the Depart-ment of Transportation when more data is needed to identify the company.

Goods valued at more than $866 billion crossed the U.S. border in trade with Canada and Mexico in 2006, 9.7 percent higher than the previous record set in 2005, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, released the data Nov. 19 as part of the third annual update of the North American Transportation Statistics (NATS) online database.

Freight weighing nearly 475 million tons was transported through U.S. land borders, airports and seaports to and from locations in Canada and Mexico in 2006. U.S. merchandise trade with Canada and Mexico, its two largest trading partners, rose by more than $252 billion, or by 41.1 percent, between 2001 and 2006.

BTS’s third annual update of the NATS database contains the most comparable transportation-related data available from the United States, Canada and Mexico in a one-stop online resource. The NATS database is co-sponsored by BTS and the U.S. Census Bureau with the federal-level transportation and statistical agencies of Canada and Mexico.

The value of freight shipments moving among the United States, Canada and Mexico grew at an average rate of nearly 7.1 percent per year between 2001 and 2006. The total value of U.S. freight shipments with Mexico grew 42.7 percent or 7.4 percent annually. Goods shipped in trade with Canada grew 40.2 percent or 7.1 percent annually.

Trucks carried 62 percent of this freight measured by value – $534 billion in 2006. Rail carried 15 percent, followed by maritime with 8 percent, pipeline with 7 percent, and air with 4 percent. Trucks saw the largest modal increase in shipment value from 2005 to 2006 ($43 billion), followed by rail and maritime (both up $12 billion).

New data in the NATS database shows America’s top gateways for trade with Canada and Mexico. In 2006, Detroit was the top road gateway, with $115 billion in international road shipments passing through that gateway.

With text available in English, French and Spanish, the NATS database can be found at

ACE yields $1.04 billion in a month
A record $1.04 billion in duties and fees was collected in September by U.S. Customs and Border Protection through the Automated Commercial Environment monthly statement and payment feature, CBP recently announced. Since the inception of the ACE monthly statement process in July 2004, CBP has collected $17 billion in duties and fees.

“It took 14 months to collect the first $1 billion,” says Louis Samenfink, executive director for the CBP cargo systems program office. “Now, ACE has collected the same amount during one month. The growing popularity of this feature among the trade community confirms that an automated account-based approach to doing business with the government is proving successful.”

Currently, 42 percent of duties and fees are collected via ACE. The ACE monthly statement feature simplifies the payment of duties and fees for importers and brokers, streamlines accounting procedures, and provides reporting and trend analysis capabilities.

ACE is the commercial trade processing system being developed by CBP to enhance border security and expedite legitimate trade.

YRC Worldwide’s profits drop
YRC Worldwide Inc. reported third-quarter operating income of $88 million, down from $178 million in 2006. Operating revenue dipped to $2.5 billion from $2.6 billion in the same 2006 quarter. “The weak domestic shipping market continues to significantly impact the operating performance of all our companies,” said Bill Zollars, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Overland Park, Kan.-based YRC Worldwide.

Arkansas Best profit, revenue down
Arkansas Best Corp., parent of ABF Freight System, reported third-quarter 2007 net income of $18.9 million, compared to third-quarter 2006 net income of $31.5 million. Arkansas Best’s third-quarter 2007 revenue was $479.8 million compared to third-quarter 2006 revenue of $507.3 million.

Saia reports higher revenues
Saia Inc. said its revenues rose 10 percent in the third quarter over the same 2006 quarter to $248 million. Operating income was $12.7 million, down from $14 million. LTL tonnage was up 9.5 percent over the prior year as LTL shipments were up 11.5 percent, with a 1.7 percent reduction in weight per shipment.