Afternoon Coffee: Industrial Production Falls in February, Businesses Look to Avoid Future West Coast Port Shutdown

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February industrial production declined 0.5% from January, due to unseasonably warm weather and the downturn in the energy sector. Compared to a year earlier, February’s industrial production dropped 0.1%, the Federal Reserve reported today.

A coalition of more than 100 companies are asking the West Coast port workers and associations to extend the terms of their contract. The coalition, made up of manufacturing, retail and other businesses believe if the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association ensure a long-term contract is in place, West Coast ports are more likely to avoid another shutdown or slowdown seen in 2014 and 2015.

The current oil market, with its low prices but high production, has proven to be a boon for the oil-tanker business, The Wall Street Journal reported. A total of 200 new tankers are expected to be built by the end of 2017, which would be the fastest pace of new shipbuilding in four years.

Both the United States Postal Service and United Parcel Servcie are investing in trucks that run on compressed natural gas and liquified natural gas. Matheson Postal Services, a contract carrier for USPS, will add 25 CNG-powered and 12 LNG-powered trucks to its fleet. And, UPS is adding 380 CNG heavy duty trucks and 12 CNG fueling stations.


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