April has been a busy month for unions, and signs are positive, albeit cryptic. After early rail issues, both BNSF and NS have announced agreements on vacation days, holiday pay, and sick time. Despite a kerfuffle regarding the Good Friday holiday, the ILWU and PMA look like they’ll eventually follow in the footsteps of rail unions.
Considering that carriers in California must begin phasing out diesel trucks and buying electric vehicles as soon as 2024, automation and infrastructure should be the main focus. Electric trucks are significantly heavier than their diesel counterparts, so questions arise about how they will move heavy containers across roads and structures that were not built to hold them.
Section B, Part 2 of the Executive Summary of the Proposed Advanced Clean Fleets Regulation has a small clue as to how ports will handle the conversion. “Compliance exemptions for dedicated use uni-body vehicles (e.g., auto transports), infrastructure construction delays [emphasis added], and ZEV vehicle delivery delays.”
Delays have already been responsible for diverting enough cargo to the East and Gulf Coasts to steal the title of busiest port away from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Further complications and planning for infrastructure construction are likely figuring into the talks on both sides. Automation at ports is mandatory if they want to compete. Adapting green technology, enhancing current port offerings, and further automating leads to fewer positions requiring humans. While it’s a long, often arduous process, automation expedites change, self-accelerating technology and its adaptation.
Other complications to adopting Zero Emission Vehicles are also tied to the increased weight. As weight increases, so does the probability of death in an accident. For every extra 1,000 pounds, the risk of dying increases by 47% – a hugely critical factor when calculating highway and trucking safety and regulations.
As proven in the aforementioned Good Friday Kerfuffle, there is no easy solution and coming to a compromise will take as long as it needs to for both sides to feel settled. We at Edward J. Zarach keep a cool head in heated times, patiently looking at all sides of the news before making decisions. Our industry experts build logistics plans based on custom-tailored solutions for the individual needs of our clients based on a full understanding. If you’re ready to accelerate your logistics service in the face of disruption, contact your Zarach representative.