There have been consistent whispers during the Trump Campaign of a national infrastructure deal just around the corner. While the whispers persist, there has not been any strong progression towards improving the national infrastructure. Multiple attempts have been made, but they have all fallen apart due to disagreement on the cost associated, where the cash will come from, and what sectors to prioritize. Typically, the first few years of a presidency are difficult to get alignment on topics. Infrastructure improvement seems to be an agreement on both sides. With the senate now split 50/50, Vice President elect, Kamala Harris’ vote could be the sway necessary to nudge the US infrastructure deal into action. With the American Society of Civil Engineers grading out the United states as a D+ on the current infrastructure, we certainly could use some renovations.
After unprecedented gains in 2020, which were overshadowed by COVID-19, many in the trucking industry are excited about the outlook for 2021. The trucking industry expects to see an increase in sectors such as final-mile delivery, contracting, home improvement, and overall E-commerce. The American Trucking Associations, Chief Economist Bob Costello says, “I think freight will remain decent in 2021. On the good side, the vaccine will help return to ‘normal,’ which means sectors that are currently hurting like services and manufacturing can bounce back”. This is great news for an industry that at the start of this pandemic in 2020 saw sales of Class 8 trucks fall by 24.3% in the first quarter, and 51.2% in the second quarter.
Tis the season for winter weather and this week we are experiencing the full effects of winter storm Gail, marching up the east coast. Many from Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania have all felt these effects which includes slick road conditions and delayed travel.
Canada has an emphasis on minimizing their carbon footprint. Recently they committed to $20 million for the construction and distribution of small modular nuclear power plants. These single, small, modular power plants would be able to produce up to 300MWe (megawatt of electric capacity). For reference, that would be enough to power 150K to 200K homes. The benefit of these units would certainly be the transportation flexibility for more isolated communities with minimal waste.
President Trump announced last week that he will be issuing a Presidential Permit for a freight railway project that will run from Alberta, Canada to Alaska, called A2A Railway. The project will cost $22 billion and will transport a variety of commodities such as oil and iron ore, as well as other container goods. The rail line will run close to 1,600 miles (2,570 kilometers) from Anchorage, Alaska through Yukon and Northwest Territories into northern Alberta.