Supreme problems and Rail

OMG – the Supreme Court allowed a class action suit against J.B.Hunt Transport Inc.’s to move ahead.  Hunt had claimed that Federal transportation law doesn’t preempt California from setting its own rules on how truck drivers are paid and when they must take meal and rest breaks.  This opens a Pandora’s box of state-specific regulations.  
 
Carrier trailers are only used by that carrier generating significant inefficiency.  (When will we have a “Chep trailer”?)  Unlike trailers, most box cars are shared or “pooled". This enables greater utilization.  But CSX has pulled hundreds of box cars out of the rail pool annoying shippers with shortages and compounding the issue with a near $2000 fee for using some CSX cars to destinations not served by CSX.  This compounds shortages caused by:
  • Total number of box cars in the fleet – down to 120K from 660K in 1971
  • Congestion and slower train speeds – means longer transit times