Diverse Topics Await Our Readers

Welcome to the January Modern Bulk Transporter, which contains some of the most diverse topics that we have published in a single issue. A wealth of information was stuffed into this compact edition, including two special reports.

The first special report is a forecast of the construction industry for this year (starting on page 20). The forecast, which was produced jointly with our sister publication Concrete Products, paints a relatively optimistic outlook for the tank truck carriers that haul cement, asphalt, and other construction materials.

Overall construction is expected to drop 6.3% from 2001 levels. However, that should still make 2002 an above-average year, putting it slightly above 1998, which was a record year. Commercial construction will be sluggish and will be the main reason for the decline.

The American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) is bullish, projecting a 3% to 6% increase in highway construction projects during 2002. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $33 billion has been earmarked for highways in the federal government's FY 2002 budget. Another $2.5 billion to $5 billion may be added if President Bush's economic stimulus package is adopted.

The second special report in the January issue is called Preparedness 2002 (starting on page 24). A joint effort between Modern Bulk Transporter and Fire Chief magazines, this section addresses the need for strong communications between hazardous materials shippers, carriers, and emergency responders.

Better planning and training are stressed, especially for urban and rural fire departments. Among the resources provided in Preparedness 2002 is a listing of TransCAER regional, state, and provincial coordinators in the United States and Canada. In the future, we hope to be able to list coordinators for Mexico and other areas of Latin America.

The coordinators are from industry, government, and the private sector. They provide an excellent outreach capability for the hazmat community. They help coordinate hazmat incident training and planning projects involving shippers, carriers, and fire departments and other first responders.

TransCAER coordinators can be a valuable resource for Local Emergency Planning Committees. This is especially true today in light of the continuing threat that terrorists may target hazardous materials shipments. Unfortunately, not all of the coordinator positions are filled. More volunteers are needed.

The special report also contains profiles describing the latest developments at Chemtrec and the Spill Center. Both of these operations are key players in helping emergency responders meet the challenges of a hazmat incident.

Chemical vapor recovery is one of the focal points in the Storage & Terminaling section on page 37. A new automated chemical loading rack at the Chevron Phillips chemical plant in Baytown, Texas, is profiled.

All of this should give our readers plenty to think about as we progress through the New Year.

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