The Month in Transportation – June 2021

By John Halpin | Account Supervisor

Welcome to our latest review of news from across the transportation world. 

Every month, we’ll share interesting links, thoughts and more about the transformation of transportation. 

Infrastructure agreement in D.C. 

President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators reached a tentative agreement on June 24 for a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. Transportation-related elements in the plan reportedly include $109 billion for roads and bridges, $66 billion for passenger and freight rail operations, $49 billion for public transit systems and $15 billion for electric vehicle infrastructure.  

Congressional leaders expect to vote on the bill in July. We’ll dig deeper into the details via a blog post if the bill gets passed. 

EVs to buy in 2022 

Kelley Blue Book recently previewed some 2022 electric vehicles, including new offerings from Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, BMW, Ford (the F-150 Lightning) and more. Kelley included this disclaimer: “We are not including exotic supercars with limited production numbers.” 

The big takeaway: EVs are becoming more affordable all the time. 

But are EV startups losing their charge? 

You’ll notice mostly traditional automaker names in the Kelley Blue Book post. According to Axios, “investors have been falling out of love with electric vehicle startups — particularly the ones that have merged with SPACs” (Special Purpose Acquisition Companies). One reason: Further investment in the EV space from Ford and GM. 

Bird is the word for bike sharing 

Have you ridden a Bird scooter? On June 23, Bird Rides announced the launch of its bike sharing service, which will be rolled out across the United States and Europe this year. Bird’s bikes have a top speed of 25 mph, and can ride up to 56 miles on a single charge. 

According to a report from ResearchAndMarkets.com, the global micromobility market included 20.5 million vehicles (~98 percent bike sharing) in 2020, with that number expected to surpass 31 million in 2025. Where can we bet the over on that number? 

Ride sharing, drivers optional 

This Motley Fool article details GM’s latest step in its partnership with self-driving vehicle company Cruise. In late June, GM announced pre-production of the Cruise Origin, which looks kind of like a mini-bus, with passengers facing each other, and a design “intended to feel more like a living room than a passenger car.” 

GM has provided a $5 billion line of credit to Cruise to fund production, and Cruise already has a permit to operate commercially in California without a safety driver. Testing for the Origin is expected to begin in Dubai in 2023. 

FedEx is absolutely, positively spending more 

FedEx is boosting its capital spending by 22 percent this year to add capacity to its network, according to the Wall Street Journal. Greater e-commerce demands resulted in ground delivery delays for the company, and left some freight customers without service. 

According to Convey, a delivery-tracking software company, FedEx deliveries were 71 percent on time in May, compared to 89 percent for UPS. 

Client shoutout: NC Ports plans to boost reefer volumes 

North Carolina Ports – an HMH client – is looking to gain a larger share of refrigerated trade coming into the East Coast and provide the state’s cold-chain exporters more capacity. North Carolina Ports said in a statement that Sealand’s HSL Sheffield, which can carry 600 refrigerated containers, called on Wilmington on June 24 as the port was added to the Maersk subsidiary’s North Atlantic Express Service between South and Central America and the East Coast.  

Dole Fresh Fruit is an anchor shipper on the service, with plans to bring bananas and pineapples from Costa Rica to Wilmington. 

Our friends at NC Ports boast the fastest port on the East Coast. But – as this case study shows – they’re More Than Fast

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