June 12, 2013 ECMC Position Paper - Caroline Mays TxDot
The Exporters Competitive Maritime Council (ECMC) is an organization whose purpose is to represent the interests of major United States Exporters and Suppliers related to the transportation of Capital Project related cargoes in the export trade of the United States. Our membership is comprised of US based companies and third party service providers working in the capital project supply chain.
Member companies of the ECMC employ several hundred thousand people, generate over $100 billion in project cargo value and over $6 billion in transportation revenue via air, marine, road and rail carriage.
The ECMC works with the US Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration on global marine issues, intermodal connectivity, short sea shipping and other initiatives supporting a smooth and efficient Capital Project supply chain. The ECMC has also engaged the US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in our specialized freight mobility initiative, focusing on infrastructure, intermodal connectivity, improved administrative functions across the nation and economic growth.
We support opportunities to:
Improve port access, and especially the “Last Mile” and “First Mile” interconnectivity with the port infrastructure to the National and Regional Surface Transportation System.
Develop an expedited permitting process for our high, wide and heavy cargoes (Specialized Freight) in the state of Texas.
Establish a defined series of Specialized Freight corridors for the expressed function of improving the safe and efficient transportation of oversize and overweight loads. These corridors should be connected to ports for the transportation of goods that are within a specified size and weight criteria. A number of benefits could be realized:
Given the known number and conditions of deficient and obsolete bridges in general, concentration on inspection and remedial repair and upkeep could become a more consistent function for bridges on these routes.
Safety to the general motoring public would be enhanced. Specialized Freight corridors would be appropriately marked and wherever possible be of limited access and egress.
Impact to the general motoring public of these Specialized Freight cargoes moving within these corridors could be mitigated by time-of-day movement authority. As an example, a load 19’ wide might move between the hours of midnight and 6 am thereby eliminating normal highway traffic volumes of daytime traffic.
Escort vehicles which accompany Specialized Freight loads on these corridors would maintain a standard protocol of placement (front, rear or both). Consistency of escorts on these routes could reduce the number of state mandated police escorts as seen on unlimited access highways and thereby achieve savings in manpower and law enforcement activities. Additionally, we believe that an escort certification program should be adopted in Texas as it has been in other States.
Bridge by-pass and frontage roads can be planned which would be alternatives to construction limitations, geographically limiting landscape, bridge repairs, utility upgrades along the corridor route and therefore the corridor could be maintained at minimal expenditure. Maintenance of key corridor routes would allow the State to concentrate highway crews in specific areas. The same concentration process would be an asset to utility repair crews as well. Bridge clearance heights could be certified as many of the bridges in Texas are currently mislabeled. Such mislabeling causes unnecessary re-routing of cargoes.
Underpass detours would be minimal with alternative if not paralleling lanes mitigating the underpass obstruction.
Utility issues would become a consistent known factor. It would be assumed that existing roadways which would be included in this corridor concept would require modifications which might include the movement and replacement of aerial wires. Due to the required height accommodate Specialized Freight being transported within the proposed corridors, remedial efforts to bury electric, communication and other utilities under the highway corridor might be a more acceptable alternative to aerial placement.
Specialized Freight Corridors within urban areas would most probably require some modifications, especially to utilities. Raising utility lines or burying those lines so that they do not inhibit required height clearances might be necessary to accommodate the safe and efficient transportation of cargoes. Traffic signals can easily be mounted on “swing away” cantilever type of posts. Curbing can be lowered near corners to accommodate required wide swing of multi-axle, extreme length transporters to assure maintaining a low center of gravity for the transporter and load.
Congestion could easily be mitigated based on knowledge and understanding of traffic volumes which have already been the subject of state and federal efforts. The Federal Highway Administration has conducted numerous studies on freight traffic volumes in traffic lanes throughout the United States. Utilization of that data can assist in determination and placement of the nominated Specialized Freight Corridors.
The proposed Specialized Freight Corridors would be designed to link all major industrial and port centers in Texas. While it is assumed that cargo entering and exiting the corridor system would not necessarily have an exact origin or destination on that system, the corridor concept could mitigate massive planning issues for the majority of the inland transport move while establishing defined criteria for corridor safety.
U.S. Industries Impacted:
Iron and Steel Manufacturers
Boilermakers & Heavy Equipment Manufacturing
Nuclear Power Industry
Engineering, Procurement & Construction Industry (EPC’s)
Oil & Gas Industry
Forging and Castings Industry
Power Generation Industry
Industrial Building / Prebuilt Housing Industry
Wind Power Industry
Please note that there are existing successful precedents for our Specialized Freight Corridors concept. The Province of Alberta, Canada has instituted oversize / overweight route guidelines. All carriers and manufacturers and suppliers who utilize those routes are firmly aware of the limitations and the capacities of the identified highway system. Equipment and machinery designs are planned in relation to the currently known capacity of the Alberta HWH corridors and confidence that the route will sustain a specific oversize and overweight item up to specified dimension/weight for years to come.
Australia has a protocol in place for “one stop” permit application and approvals nationwide. In addition, the government of Western Australia has recently established two corridors between Fremantle and Perth along similar (HWH Corridor) protocols. Shippers and receivers in this oil rich sector of Australia can take advantage of purchasing and assuring delivery of oversize and overweight cargo with no worry of infrastructure capacity adversely impacting transportation in the foreseeable future.
Governor Rick Perry has recently added transportation to the special legislative session. The ECMC trusts that any actions taken to address our State's transportation needs in this Special Session of our State legislation will also address the critical freight mobility issues that we have addressed herein.
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