Energy sources, supplies, and needs are changing our world at breakneck speed. This new American energy revolution is bringing big money, heavy equipment, and seismic shifts to the social and economic landscape as well as to the roads.
At this year’s Freight and Logistics Symposium on December 7 at the Ramada Plaza Minneapolis, representatives from the business community, academia, and the public sector will consider major trends and the effect of our changing energy supply on freight and logistics providers. Robert Henry, vice president of operations for Dakota Plains Holdings, Inc., will make the keynote presentation on the re-revolution of crude by rail—a key segment of rail movements from the 1860s to 1940s that is currently experiencing a resurgence.
In addition, a panel discussion, featuring transportation representatives from the public sector and academia, will discuss the implications of new energy resources on freight transportation in the Upper Midwest. Another session will feature presentations about the effects of energy resources and related innovations on the private sector of the freight and logistics community.
The event is sponsored by the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Minnesota Freight Advisory Committee, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals–Twin Cities Roundtable, the Metropolitan Council, and the Transportation Club.
Earlier this year, more than 100 students seeking transportation-related career opportunities converged on the east bank campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis for the Transportation Career Expo. The majors of attendees ranged from planning, supply chain management, and logistics to marketing and engineering.
Planners of the 2013 Transportation Career Expo, scheduled for March 5 at Coffman Memorial Union, currently are seeking exhibitors for this year’s event. There is no fee for exhibiting.
This is an opportunity for employers interested in networking with students and recent graduates to fill current or future full-time and part-time positions as well as summer internships. It is not necessary to have job openings at the time of the expo. In addition, professional associations could take the opportunity to reach out to students and recent graduates as potential members.
This event provides information to students on transportation-related careers. A general session, featuring a transportation industry panel, presents transportation career alternatives and preparation strategies. Students are encouraged to bring their résumés and receive helpful suggestions from individuals experienced in reviewing the résumés of job applicants. A reception offering networking and employment-seeking opportunities is included.
Moving a wind turbine from Duluth, Minnesota, to Iowa
The Minnesota Freight Advisory Committee (MFAC) took its October 5, 2012, quarterly meeting on the road to Rochester, Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) occasionally holds the MFAC quarterly meeting outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area to gain a better understating of the unique freight issues and innovations experienced by different areas of Minnesota. Shippers, carriers, facilities operators, and others from the freight community were invited to share the region’s challenges and opportunities.
The meeting agenda included presentations and discussion about the Minnesota State Highway Investment Plan (MnSHIP), oversized loads, economic development and transportation, shipper challenges and innovations, and intermodal solutions. Following the morning meeting, participants toured the Mayo Clinic.
Patrick Weidemann, MnDOT transportation planning director, presented an overview of the MnDOT 20-year capital plan for state highway investments, also known as MnSHIP. The plan will guide MnDOT’s investment decisions for the state highway system and communicate MnDOT’s highway investment priorities for the next 20 years to citizens, businesses, elected officials, and transportation partners across the state. MnSHIP provides highway investment direction on both a statewide and individual district basis, 10-year project-specific highway investment plans (HIPs) at the district level, and legislative reporting for major highway projects. The plan incorporates investment-level risk assessment, a robust public involvement process, refined investment categories, early elements of MAP-21, and system-level planning with corridor-level planning.
During a presentation about the infrastructure challenges of oversized and overweight loads, Shelley Latham, a project manager with Perkins Specialized Transportation Consulting, described the challenge of moving large “super loads” throughout the United States. Specific rules in some states can make it necessary to bypass those states, which often increases travel times. David Redig, a supervisor with MnDOT District 6, offered specific examples from his district of changes needed to accommodate oversized and overweight loads.
Matt Shands, manager of the Minnesota Transportation Economic Development (TED) Program, discussed opportunities at hand. The TED Program offers competitive grants to communities for highway improvement and public infrastructure projects that create jobs and support economic development. The program is a collaborative effort of MnDOT and the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
The City of Rochester was selected as a 2012 TED grantee. Terry Spaeth, Rochester senior administrative analyst, talked about improvements planned at Highway 14 and 40th Avenue SE to enable Reichel Foods, a food processing and distribution business, to expand operations in the area. The business employs 375 people and plans to add 50 jobs within two years. Total project cost for the transportation improvements is $2.3 million.
Dave Christianson, MnDOT manager of freight planning and development, moderated a panel discussion about shipper challenges and innovations. Panelist John Butz, operations administrator for Mayo Collaborative Services, Inc., gave an overview of the company, which provides laboratory services for health care organizations. Panelist Shawn Steen, assistant vice president with North Star Container, discussed shipping challenges related to grain movement. Tom Rowekamp, owner of Rowekamp Trucking, and Steve Sturm, general manager of All-American Co-op, also participated in the panel.
During the final presentation, which focused on achieving a cost-competitive and efficient regional transportation network, Rich Mikrut, president and CEO of Seven Rivers Intermodal Terminals, and Kevin O’Reilly, president of Supply Chain Solutions, Inc., identified congestion as the top national transportation problem. According to Mikrut and O’Reilly, the costs associated with highway congestion, which total an estimated $67.4 billion per year, have increased 400 percent since 1982. Mikrut and O’Reilly added that global cost-competitiveness is essential for the long-term viability of the region’s economy.
Ron Have (president of Freightmasters, Inc.), Bill Gardner (director of the MnDOT Office of Freight, Rail, & Waterways), and Greg Paulson (MnDOT District 6 assistant engineer covering southeastern Minnesota), provided opening remarks.
The Minnesota Freight Advisory Committee (MFAC) is a partnership between government and business to exchange ideas and recommend policy and actions that promote safe, productive, and sustainable freight transportation in Minnesota. MFAC consists of representatives from Minnesota’s shipper and carrier communities as well as a variety of other interested organizations, and provides advice to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and the Metropolitan Council regarding freight issues and investments.
Industry stakeholders are invited to participate in a free webinar on December 6, 2012, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. (Central time), to hear experts discuss the issues surrounding the truck parking shortage and innovative ways to address the problem.
Recent improvements in industry economics have put more trucks and freight on the nation's roads and highways. At the same time, government budget shortfalls have reduced the number of truck parking spaces available to truck drivers in need of staging and rest. In fact, truck parking appeared as topic of industry concern for the first time ever on the American Transportation Research Institute's Top Industry Issues survey in 2012, garnering the eighth spot on the list.
Until new funding is identified for expanding truck parking capacity, the best solution is providing real-time information to truck drivers on existing parking availability. Recent research has identified the trucking industry's expectations and requirements of the various FHWA-sponsored “truck parking information system” tests that are being conducted throughout the United States.
The webinar will feature Tom Kearney, manager of freight operations with the Federal Highway Administration; Dan Murray, vice president of American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI); Vassilios Morellas, program director with the University of Minnesota Department of Computer Science; and Dave Miller, founder and COO of Gnosis Management.
Registration for this free webinar is required. To register, please complete the form on the TIMTC website. An e-mail with instructions for joining the webinar will be sent to all registrants.
This webinar is sponsored by the Trucking Industry Mobility and Technology Coalition (TIMTC) and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Please visit the Minnesota Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals–Twin Cities Roundtable online for information about upcoming events.
Upcoming topics and dates for the "Talking Freight" online seminars from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are listed on the Talking Freight website.
Recently published freight-related research from the Transportation Research Board (TRB):
In October 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation published a progress update to the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) strategic research plan covering 2010 to 2014, Transforming Transportation through Connectivity. This report describes the status of the research for achieving a connected vehicle environment, delivering the next generation of ITS technologies to the marketplace, and advancing transportation safety, mobility, and environmental performance. An important change to the original report is the inclusion of the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Program, a new initiative focused on demonstrating the safety benefits of prototype vehicle-to-vehicle applications and technologies.
Truckers' health focus of Mayo doctor's study
Minnesota Public Radio, November 20, 2012
More upcoming events:
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Director: Laurie McGinnis
Assistant Director, Education and Outreach: Gina Baas
Director of Digital Information and Library Services: Arlene Mathison
Editor: Michael McCarthy
Contributing Writer: Christine Anderson
Center for Transportation Studies
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