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Today’s Pickup: New Jersey tops list of worst bottlenecks for trucks

 The intersection of I-95 and SR 4 in Fort Lee, New Jersey, pictured above, was the worst area of the country for truck bottlenecks last year, according to ATRI. ( Photo: Google Maps )
The intersection of I-95 and SR 4 in Fort Lee, New Jersey, pictured above, was the worst area of the country for truck bottlenecks last year, according to ATRI. ( Photo: Google Maps )

Good day,

Atlanta is no longer the worst spot in the country for congestion, according to research released today by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). ATRI annually releases a list of the most congested bottlenecks for trucks in America. For the first time since 2014, the intersection of I-95 and SR 4 in Fort Lee, New Jersey, topped the list.

Don’t feel bad for Atlanta, though. The city maintains both the second and third spots on the list, with the intersection if I-285 at I-85 North finishing second and I-75 at I-285 North third.

“Congestion is a persistent issue for our industry and our company specifically,” Rich McArdle, president of UPS Freight, said. “For UPS, if all of our vehicles are delayed just five minutes a day, every day, it costs our company $114 million a year. In order to combat congestion, many companies must plan operational redundancies to meet their customer needs. Using data like ATRI’s bottleneck report can help both companies and elected officials to make more informed decisions.”

ATRI uses truck GPS data from nearly 1 million heavy-duty trucks for the analysis, covering over 300 locations on the national highway system. The 2019 Top Truck Bottleneck List features the top 100 locations.

This year’s research found that congestion resulted in a decline of approximately 9 percent in truck speeds year-over-year in the top 10 locations.

“ATRI’s research shows us where the worst pain points are – but they are far from the only ones. This report should be a wakeup call for elected leaders at all levels of government that we must act quickly to address our increasingly congested highway system,” Chris Spear, ATA president and CEO, said. “Without meaningful investment in our nation’s infrastructure, carriers will continue to endure billions of dollars in congestion-related costs – which results in a self-inflicted drag on our economy.”

The remainder of the top 10:

3. Los Angeles: SR 60 at SR 57

4. Houston: I-45 at I-69/US 59

5. Cincinnati: I-71 at I-75

6. Chicago: I-290 at I-90/I-94

7. Nashville: I-24/I-40 at I-440 (East)

8. Atlanta: I-20 at I-285 (West)

9. Los Angeles: I-710 at I-105

The full report is available on ATRI’s website.

Did you know?

New England Motor Freight cited assets of between $100 million and $500 million and liabilities of $50 million to $100 million in its bankruptcy filing. The company had 2017 revenues of $402 million.  

Quotable:

“When I first was introduced to the trucking futures market, it was immediately obvious how massive the opportunity for price risk management. Trucking companies are heavily exposed to the direction of price movement, while shippers are subject to rate inflation that is incredibly hard to manage and mitigate. I believe that the trucking market is ripe for a futures market, but the reason it is so volatile is that a futures market did not exist until now. I am excited to be a part of this huge opportunity.”

–  Addison Armstrong, former J.P. Morgan executive and now FreightWaves’ executive director, Freight Futures, on his new role leading FreightWaves’ freight futures commercial efforts.

In other news:

Nikola Motor to offer purely electric truck

A tweet from Nikola Motor CEO Trevor Milton said the company would offer a purely electric version of its hydrogen-electric truck. (CARS18)

GM, Tesla working together?

Reports indicate that GM (NYSE: GM) and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) have joined forces on a new electric pickup that will feature Tesla’s electric powertrain. (Clean Technica)

FedEx Express to usher in new air cargo terminal in Bahrain

FedEx Express (NYSE: FDX) is the first tenant to sign on to a new air cargo terminal being built in Bahrain, which will connect the Middle Eastern freight region with global markets. (ZAWYA)

Advancing the debate over autonomous freight trains

What are the pros and cons of autonomous freight trains, and why would the government allow them? (Railway Age)

Australian government pushes for more freight productivity

The Australian government is pushing stakeholders ahead of a deadline to realize more productivity on local freight routes. (Prime Mover)

Final Thoughts

The unexpected announcement that New England Motor Freight (NEMF) would be shutting down operations throws the LTL market along the East Coast into a bit of chaos. The carrier, which just celebrated its 100th birthday last year, may have faced difficulties due to contracts, including with Amazon, that provided thin margins and limited its ability to service other customers. With over $400 million in annual revenues, there is suddenly a lot of LTL freight about to hit the market, which could cause disruptions in the current tight capacity environment.  

Hammer down everyone!

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and fleetowner.com. Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.
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