October at-a-glance…materials & handling

Expect Q4 trucking volatility

Trucking capacity and rates are expected to be extremely volatile in the fourth quarter, according to two NAFEM transportation industry resources. Carriers aren’t ordering new trucks to increase capacity, so shippers are paying more to secure what is available. With driving schools at 50 percent capacity, and current students more interested in local and regional driving, it’s expected that this inflationary cycle will last a while as the nation rebuilds trucking capacity.

U.S. reliance on imported critical minerals declared a national emergency

President Trump issued an executive order to promote expansion and protection of the domestic supply of critical minerals necessary to produce airplanes, cell phones, electricity generation and transmission systems, and advanced electronics needed for the nation’s military and economic strength. According to the order, for 31 of the 35 critical minerals, the U.S. imports more than half of its annual consumption. And for 14 of the critical minerals, the U.S. is completely dependent on imports to supply its demand. Until the 1980s, the U.S. produced more of these elements than any other country in the world. Today, 80 percent of these rare earth minerals are imported from China. The president declared the current situation a national emergency and ordered relevant federal agencies to direct agency resources to address the situation, including investigating the possible use of loan guarantees and grants to help spur production.