Threats of a Military Uprising in Venezuela Putting Pressure on Oil Markets
Venezuela’s political discord continued to place uncertainty on the oil market as opposition leader Juan Guaido provoked a military uprising against President Nicolas Maduro. Guaido walked into a military base in Venezuela’s capitol city to call on citizens and supporting soldiers for assistance in the final phase of his campaign. Gunfire was exchanged at an airbase in Caracas, signaling Guaido’s boldest effort to draw support away from the Maduro regime. It was reported that Guaido has support from lower ranking elements of the army, national guard and Sebin political intelligence services. The US – among other nations – supports Guaido’s strategy as it aligns with recent sanctions on Venezuelan crude oil. Venezuela imported oil for the first time since 2014 in April after domestic output fell below 1 million barrels per day, marking a 16-year low. Crude oil and diesel prices increased slightly this week but remained subdued as the country’s oil output and economic crisis has resulted in weaker market presence. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) averaged approximately $63 per barrel and Brent averaged almost $72 per barrel.
Daimler is working on electric truck charging rate ‘up to 3MW’
Heavy-duty trucks are gaining more attention in the electric vehicle space, including Daimler who is one of the largest truck manufacturers in the world. Daimler’s CEO was the key note speaker at ACT Expo and claimed that “Electric is the Future.” They released first version of their class 8 eCascadia, along with other lower class models, and now are working towards a charging system with a rate up to 3 megawatts (MW). This is to directly complete with Tesla, who also has its own class 8 truck and plans of charging infrastructure of roughly 1 MW. The electric class 8 truck space is heating up, but full-scale commercial production is not expected until 2020 or 2021.
In Other News
In the first 13 weeks of the year, overall rail volume was down 1.3% YoY. Most railroad executives owed this dip to the harsh weather in the first quarter. A few executives blamed weak intermodal growth on lane rationalizations as several railroads cut routes to gain efficiency as part of their transitions to precision-scheduled railroading (PSR).
Former truck drivers and employees of Falcon Transport of Youngtown, Ohio, admit there were warning signs that the company was experiencing financial problems, but few said they expected the company to cease operations abruptly on Saturday, April 27, stranding truckers hauling loads without working fuel cards or further instructions.
The Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) Rate Reform Task Force today issued multiple recommendations for changes to agency’s rate review methodologies and processes. STB chairman Ann Begeman formed the panel in January 2018 to suggest improvements to the existing rate review processes.
Anadarko Petroleum Corp said on Monday it would negotiate with Occidental Petroleum Corp over its $38 billion cash-and-stock bid, after determining it could get a better deal than its agreed $33 billion sale to Chevron Corp.
Daimler Trucks North America is going electric with some massive all-electric trucks and now it appears to be working on a charging system with an impressive rate ‘up to 3MW.’
Volatility is picking up in oil markets following a powerful 2019 rally, prompting a retreat among portfolio managers into less-risky investments in a sector that many investors still view as hot.
Amazon’s move into brokerage isn’t likely to panic established truck freight brokers such as C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Echo Global Logistics, or XPO Logistics. But it puts those companies, along with thousands of small freight brokerages, on notice that a new logistics era is here, and perhaps, eventually, another big freight broker with domestic and international reach.
As of Tuesday morning, opposition leader Juan Guaidó had reportedly launched an attempted military coup. “The definitive end of the usurpation started today,” said Guaidó. “The National Armed Forces, today, brave soldiers, patriots loyal to the constitution, have heeded our call.” The reports suggest that some generals in the armed forces have ordered their troops to back the coup.
Democratic congressional leaders said President Trump agreed to aim for a $2 trillion infrastructure package in a White House meeting on Tuesday, though the two sides didn’t discuss how it would be paid for, and Capitol Hill Republicans are unlikely to go along. Also see, Trump, Congressional Democrats Agree on $2 Trillion Infrastructure Package.
Amazon.com Inc. is pushing deeper into logistics as it tries to tamp down transportation costs ahead of a pricey push into one-day shipping, raising potential concerns for freight operators that may end up competing for business with the e-commerce giant that many count as a significant customer.
OPEC oil supply hit a four-year low in April, a Reuters survey found, due to further involuntary declines in sanctions-hit Iran and Venezuela and output restraint by top exporter Saudi Arabia.
Russian crude flows to Europe are said to have been suffering from high levels of organic chloride since at least April 21. About 30 million barrels — enough to fill 15 supertankers — could have been contaminated, according to Energy Aspects analyst Christopher Haines. Also see, Russia says ‘clean’ crude now reaching Belarus border.
The new Alberta government has enacted a law enabling it to restrict the flow of oil and gas to neighboring British Columbia, raising the stakes in a dispute between Canada’s westernmost provinces over the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Things are beginning to get interesting — if not serious — on climate change as it pertains to container shipping, the most recent example being an international campaign to impose speed limits on ships. We already know that the next decade will be a hyperactive period of innovation as the industry confronts the challenge of producing a carbon-neutral ship by as early as 2030; that is the year when Maersk says it must deploy the first such vessel to be on track to fully decarbonize what is today a fleet of 640 ships by 2050.
Turkey will be unable to diversify oil imports quickly after the United States ended waivers on purchases from Iran, the Turkish foreign minister said on Thursday, a day after a U.S.-imposed sanctions deadline passed.
Many transportation executives see a role for electric trucks in the years to come, but the question of which power-delivery method will move to the forefront — pure-electric or hydrogen fuel-cell electric — remains open, experts said here.
The upcoming International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) 2020 sulphur cap on shipping emissions is likely to increase tanker demand, according to tanker owners Ardmore Shipping and Euronav. Ardmore and Euronav expect global refinery runs for middle distillate products — including MGO — to rise from the second half of this year, on increased demand because of the IMO sulphur limit. This could in turn boost crude and oil products tanker demand, according to the firms.
One of the major benefits to the TransX acquisition was the “entrepreneurial shift” in thinking the team brought to the railroad, Ruest said. As one of the oldest trucking companies in Canada, TransX is far from a startup, but Ruest said the more agile way of thinking will benefit the railroad before cost synergies set in.
Iran will respond if other OPEC members threaten its interests, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Thursday amid rising pressures from Washington to bring Iranian crude sales to zero with the help of Tehran’s regional rivals.
The U.S. has nearly tripled its natural-gas exports to the European Union since July and signed new licenses Thursday seeking to establish American energy as an EU mainstay.
President Trump spoke with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for more than an hour on Friday morning and discussed the special counsel’s report on Russian interference in U.S. elections and the crisis in Venezuela among other subjects, the White House said.
The U.S. Department of Transportation plans to unveil new, more flexible hours-of-service rules proposal in early June, according to a regulatory report posted by the department on May 1.
Warehouse operators stepped up hiring in April as e-commerce demand drove up employment in distribution centers even as job growth across the rest of the freight-transportation sector slowed.