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Today’s pick-up: Goodies coming from transport Santa; Raise the financial roof for inland waterways

Color the waterways green (Photo: iStock)

Good day:
There are two immutable laws about federal transportation spending bills. First, they are  bipartisan. Second, they have lots of goodies for special interests. One of those Christmas tree trimmings, hung by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Sen. Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota), would add a provision to support more biofuel refueling onto language to fund the construction of  charging and refueling stations for zero- or low-emissions vehicles, according to a story in Roll Call. There is nothing inherently wrong with the senators’ request. We are saying there’s no better way for solons to build brownie points with their constituents, especially heading into an election year.

Did you know?:

That 90 percent of items sold today on eBay are of a fixed price, not part of an auction process that the company built its name on.


“We’re not out here trying to get more than what we’ve earned.” 

– Chris Rowe, one of six miners employed by bankrupt coal company Blackjewel, told CBS News as he and other miners blocked trains filled with $1 million in coal from moving in protest of the company’s failing to pay miners back wages.  

In other news:

Didi Chuxing launches autonomous driving unit

The Chinese ride-hailing company will operate the unit as an independent company that will focus on research and will look to deepen collaboration with automakers. (Reuters)

Indian logistics IT firm lands undisclosed funding amount

Artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled logistics platform has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Axilor Venture, private equity firm Touchstone Equities, and angel network Lead Angels. (Your Story)

UPS webinar to address trends in `specimen’ logistics

Drones and emerging technologies, lab site selection to improve turnaround times, and improving the clinician/lab tech experience will be among the topics discussed Sept. 18 on a UPS Inc. healthcare webinar. The company has applied to the U.S. government for authority to dramatically expand its commercial drone service. (Globe Newswire)

Report: XPO struggling with Peloton deliveries

XPO Logistics, Inc. is coping with a spike in complaints from high-end exercise equipment maker Peloton customers over delivery and assembly issues of its equipment, according to a report. (Thinknum Media).

Public hearing set to discuss California air logistics center

Hundreds of environmental advocates, residents and union members are expected to attend a public hearing August 8 concerning the development of a 700,000 square foot facility at San Bernardino, California International Airport’s “Eastgate Air Cargo Logistics Center.” (San Bernardino Sun)

Final thoughts:

The federal transportation-spending bill approved last week by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee would open up $250 million that Oklahoma could use for McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARN) improvements. Language added to the bill by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) – the main Senate architect of the last federal funding bill, and John Boozman (R-Arkansas), also would allow Oklahoma and Arkansas to pursue as co-applicants federal freight grants used to modernize the inland navigation channel. Inhofe said MKARN’s future “is more than just deepening an existing waterway” and “would bring the MKARN into the next generation.” The same could be said for the entire inland waterway system, an underutilized and often-neglected mode that deserves all the funding help it can get.

Hammer down everyone!

Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.