Rail unions seek greater federal oversight to make operations safer

The fiery derailment of a Norfolk Southern train in Ohio last week has prompted some rail unions to press the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to increase its oversight of the freight railroads’ safety operations.

Since rank-and-file employees are the ones close to actual operations, one way to enable federal oversight is through requiring the seven Class I railroads to adopt the confidential close call reporting system, which would provide workers with a venue to anonymously report potential safety concerns, according to Greg Regan, president of the Transportation Trades Department (TDD) of the AFL-CIO.

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Port of Savannah expands cold storage capacity

The Port of Savannah will add seven container racks at its Garden City Terminal as it looks to expand its available chilled and frozen warehouse space by 11% in 2023 to more than 2.2 million square feet.

The project, which was approved in late January, is valued at $6.2 million and expected to add 3,506 slots at the terminal, according to a press release from the port.

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Maersk exec concerned about river droughts

Increased droughts are forcing shipping companies to abandon some of the world’s main river cargo routes, warns Ann Christina Sloek-Andersen, senior director at Maersk.

More than 300 million tonnes of goods a year are typically transported by cargo riverboats on the Rhine River, which flows for almost 800 miles from Switzerland to the Netherlands, where it joins the North Sea.

Yet during the summer months of 2022, record low water levels meant some vessels were able to carry just 25% of their usual load, so as not to risk running aground on the riverbed. This caused severe delays to shipping.

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