Labor tensions move Pacific port and east/west rail region conditions to ‘severe’

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Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, June 15, 2023:

ATA hosting Trucking Legal Forum next month

The American Trucking Associations Litigation Center is hosting its 2023 Trucking Legal Forum from July 16-19 in La Jolla, California. 

The trucking industry’s premier legal event provides networking and educational opportunities for transportation legal counsel and trucking executives, as well as safety, risk management, and human resources professionals.  

“Our ATA Federation continues to rack up victories across the country in our campaign for lawsuit abuse reform,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “We have secured major triumphs for tort reform and basic judicial fairness in Florida, Montana, Texas, Louisiana, Iowa, and West Virginia. And we’re just getting started.” 

Spear added that, in order to continue that momentum, “this is a critical time to gather, strategize, and speak clearly with one voice. Members of the trucking industry are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to meet with their peers and learn from some of the industry’s top legal minds.”

The Forum will feature legal, technical and business experts who will share their perspectives on a wide array of pertinent legal topics, including nuclear verdicts, truck parking, employee leave laws, mergers and acquisitions, independent contractors, cross-border and intermodal operations and more.

Interactive panels will provide invaluable information and insights regarding the issues that directly affect trucking companies, drivers, and other stakeholders.

The Forum also provides continuing legal education credits for attorneys.

Registration for the Trucking Legal Forum is now open. The deadline to receive the ATA guest room rate is June 21.  

Labor tensions move Pacific port and east/west rail region conditions to ‘severe’

ITS Logistics Wednesday released its June forecast for the ITS Logistics US Port/Rail Ramp Freight Index, revealing "severe" conditions in the Pacific Port and both West and East Inland Rail Ramp regions due to the continued tensions from International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) negotiations. The two sides reportedly reached a tentative deal Wednesday night after more than a year of talks. 

In addition, ITS forecasts that the labor strife will impact IPI freight interlining and urges shippers to hire additional trucking providers.

“The previous months of increased volumes at the ports has provided ILWU leverage to affect operations at the terminals in order to forward their demands in talks with the PMA,” said Paul Brashier, vice president of drayage and intermodal for ITS Logistics. “The Pacific Ocean Region and West and East Rail Regions have been moved to severe due to the breakdown of the current negotiations. This is also due to the subsequent shutdowns at a myriad of terminals up and down the western seaboard.”

Earlier this month, West Coast ports experienced multiple closures that began at the Port of Oakland. Union workers along the ports refused to report for assignments. Both slowdowns and shift closures were soon to follow. ITS Logistics also experienced the backlash of these actions, resulting in their truckers being turned away by the terminal operator for Marine Services at the Port of Los Angeles.

“The Gulf and East Ocean regions continue to run smoothly and are using this time to increase infrastructure enhancements that will aid their operations when increased volumes pivot back to their terminals,” said Brashier. “Both Houston and GPA have announced rail service and infrastructure enhancements that will push cargo out of the terminals further inland to lessen congestion.”

CFI’s women-focused recruitment program recognized

CFI, a subsidiary of Heartland Express (CCJ Top 250, No. 45), has won industry recognition for one of its driver recruitment and marketing programs, She Drives CFI, which promotes the virtues of trucking industry careers for women and is aimed at attracting more women into trucking.

CFI recently picked up the award at the Transportation Marketing and Sales Association’s (TMSA’s) annual Elevate Conference held in Savannah, Georgia. CFI’s women-focused campaign was recognized with a 2023 Trailblazer Award, in the category for Excellence in Sales or Marketing Campaigns.

Trailblazer Awards “showcase the very best of marketing and sales in the transportation and logistics industry,” the association said. CFI’s program was recognized for its pioneering effort and unique approach to promoting opportunities for women in transportation and the positive role they play.

“CFI has for many years demonstrated a commitment to celebrating, empowering and fostering a positive work environment for women in the transportation industry,” said Greg Orr, CFI’s president. “Through this initiative, we are promoting a more diverse and inclusive workforce, recognizing the valuable contributions and unique perspectives that women bring to the table. We firmly believe that diversity and inclusion are essential for the growth and success of any industry, and we strive to empower women in transportation every step of the way.

The She Drives CFI program aims to address the underrepresentation of women in the transportation sector and empower them to pursue fulfilling careers in an industry traditionally dominated by men. The company attributes the program’s success to a multifaceted approach, which encompasses mentorship programs, leadership development initiatives, round table focus groups, and open-door policy, and an ongoing commitment to providing a safe work environment.

Women who have been part of the program have not only found their voice but have also excelled in various roles within the company, Orr noted. Through CFI-promoted mentorship and career opportunities, women have been given the tools and guidance to overcome challenges, break barriers, and achieve their full potential.