787 Dreamliner Makes First Sustainably Fueled Flight
Boeing and All Nippon Airways report that a 787 Dreamliner recently made history by completing a flight powered in part by sustainable biofuels.
According to a press release, the flight between Boeing’s Delivery Center in Everett, Washington and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport was also the first-ever trans-Pacific biofuel flight.
“The 787 is the most environmentally progressive jetliner flying [today], combining fuel efficiency and comfort with reduced carbon emissions,” said Billy Glover, commercial airplanes vice president of Environment and Aviation Policy at Boeing.
Officials noted that the 787 flew with biofuel made primarily from used cooking oil and emitted an estimated 30 percent less CO2 emissions, when compared to similarly-sized airplanes. Of the reduction in greenhouse gasses, about 10 percent can be attributed to the use of biofuel and approximately 20 percent to the technology and efficiency advancements offered by the Dreamliner.
Florida Port Gearing Up for Trade Boom
Florida’s Port of Panama City is investing million of dollars to help position the port for a boost in trade that is expected to result once the expansion of the Panama Canal is completed in 2014.
While larger ships will call the state’s biggest ports, including Miami and Jacksonville, once the canal expansion project is completed, “second tier” vessels will look towards smaller ports such as the Port of Panama City, say maritime officials.
According to Florida’s Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad, “We want to make Florida the trade gate into the United States.” Referring to the Port of Panama City, Prasad added that, “This port is very well-connected by rail and highway. So, when those bigger ports focus their eyes to the bigger ships, our goal is to attract (displaced) resources to this port.”
Prasad noted that the Port of Panama City already has made $50 million in port upgrades and will invest an additional $35 million in the next few years. He also said an expanded port in Panama City could draw more products from Mexico.
“The ports along the Gulf Coast are the closest to Mexico,” Prasad said. “There is no reason why Port of Panama City can’t be a major player in import and export while servicing the Southeast, whether it is Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana or Mississippi. It can cater to the market versus bringing in (cargo) by land trough Texas.”
At the same time, Wayne Stubbs, executive director at the Port of Panama City, said the port also is installing a refrigeration system to help keep perishable products fresh as they come through the port.
“When we start getting into trade with Honduras, we’ll also get fruits and vegetables coming through this area,” Stubbs said. “We have a pretty persistent banana company interested in coming through our port.”
Stubbs also said he expected the port to handle more corn syrup transported for PepsiCo.
Kansas Repeals Motor Carrier Property Tax
According to the American Trucking Associations’ State Laws newsletter, Kansas has repealed its motor carrier property tax, effective in 2014. The property tax will remain in effect for the 2012 and 2013 tax years.
The tax, which has been in place since 1956, subjects for-hire motor carriers operating in Kansas, whether or not based there, to an ad valorem tax on the value of their rolling stock. This is paid by a separate return, and as ATA notes: “Is at best a compliance nuisance for carriers.”
Lately, however, it has also become expensive.
The new legislation (H.B. 2557) signed into law by Kansas’ governor on April 6, imposes an additional registration fee (called a commercial vehicle fee), to be paid by intrastate and interstate carriers operating in Kansas, the latter to pay it through the International Registration Plan. The additional fee, unlike the repealed property tax, will apply equally to for-hire and to private carriers.