Archives for March 2016

Chain links: What we're reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 03/30/2016 | 1:27 PM


More venture capital money thrown at a shipper-carrier connectivity app. XPO gets involved in a Paris road-rail project. And Daimler works on a driverless truck convoy model.


Daimler Trucks plans autonomous vehicles platoons

Daimler Trucks plans to improve truck connectivity beyond today’s capabilities, creating networked trucks that can use sensors and cameras to drive in a convoy for greater safety and lower fuel consumption, the automaker announced at a Dusseldorf, Germany, press conference.

Source: Daimler

VCs throw $16 million at startup firm with app that connects shippers and truckers

Seattle trucking-software startup Convoy just landed another $16 million in venture capital from big-name investors such as executives from Amazon.com, Instagram, Acosta, and LinkedIn. The Silicon Valley titans are excited about the firm’s software that connects truck drivers with freight that needs hauling, allowing freight companies and trucking companies to connect through a simple smartphone app.

Source: The Seattle Times

Shyp now has a one-tap way to ship stuff you sold on eBay

Selling stuff on eBay may have just become a lot easier, at least in a few U.S. cities. As of mid-March, some sellers no longer have to pack and send merchandise themselves thanks to eBay’s new deal with Shyp. The San Francisco-based startup works by picking up whatever you want to send, packing it up, and shipping it—just tap a button in the app. With the new integration, eBay sellers can connect their accounts to the Shyp app and see a feed of their recently sold items. Once an eBay seller is ready to ship the items, Shyp promises to show up within 20 minutes.

Source: Wired.com  

American Apparel, Postmates Use RFID Visibility for On-Demand Delivery

Consumers who use Postmates' on-demand delivery service now have the opportunity to buy core products from American Apparel. The service takes advantage of the passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags that American Apparel attaches to all of its merchandise, enabling Postmates to identify which items are available within an individual customer's geographic area.

Source: RFIDJournal.com

PHMSA finalizes guidelines for reverse logistics transport of unsellable shipments containing HazMat

The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has adopted its proposed regulations governing the movement of returns of unsellable products containing hazardous materials from a retail facility to a distribution or reclamation. The agency affirmed that all goods must move via motor carrier; rail and air shipments are prohibited. It also adopted a definition of reverse logistics for unsellable products containing hazardous materials as “the process of offering for transport or transporting by motor vehicle goods from a retail store for return to its manufacturer, supplier, or distribution facility for the purpose of capturing value (e.g., to receive manufacturer’s credit), recall, replacement, recycling, or similar reason.”

Source: Lexology

XPO in Parisian road-rail project

Transport and logistics company XPO Logistics, Inc. is taking part in a joint road-rail project to shuttle freight to and from Paris and its suburbs. Under the multi-modal project, being conducted with Eurorail and the Sogaris Group, which specializes in the development of urban fright projects, a short-line service will deliver goods between Paris and surrounding communities and the northern region of Ile-de-France. XPO will provide the road transport, using natural-gas powered vehicles.

Source: Logistics Manager

Chain links: What we're reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 03/23/2016 | 11:37 AM


Why apparel startups are returning to the U.S. (It’s not for mom and apple pie). Will Amazon’s logistics investments cause it to miss q1 numbers? And another study on the dangers--and sheer stupidity--of distracted driving.


Logistics in the Land of Enchantment

Albuquerque-area governments have launched a study to determine the feasibility of the region as a logistics hub. When other ways to attract businesses and jobs fall short, it seems, might as well become a logistics hub.

Source: Albuquerque Journal

Why Clothing Startups Are Returning to American Factories

The reason, according to this article in Fast Company, is not because of patriotism or marketing but to gain supply chain advantages. “It can take 10 months to go from placing an order at a Chinese factory to receiving a shipment of clothes,” says one CEO. “By using local factories, I'm able to meet demand much quicker.”

Source: Fast Company

Spend now, pay later for the e-com elephant?

Will Amazon.com’s large logistics investments cause it to miss analysts’ first-quarter earnings estimates, Forbes asks? To that, we answer: We don’t know. (Actually we were more interested in Jeff Bezos’ get-up in the accompanying foto).

Source: Forbes.com

Protesters disrupt San Bernardino town hall meeting on logistics

Fifteen protestors wearing surgical masks to complain about construction-related air pollution protested a San Bernardino town hall meeting on logistics investments. They dispersed quietly after calls were placed to local law enforcement. San Bernardino is near the massive Inland Empire distribution complex where many Asian imports are moved to after leaving the Port of Los Angeles or the Port of Long Beach.

Source: San Bernardino Sun

The dangers of distracted driving

The risk of distracted driving has increased in recent years with the proliferation of smartphones. A Department of Transportation-commissioned report from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute states that 5 seconds is the average time a person’s eyes are off the road while texting. At 55 miles per hour, driving for 5 seconds while texting equates to traveling the length of a football field without looking at the roadway. In response, 46 states have enacted bans against text messaging while driving, and 14 states have banned all handheld cellphone use while driving.

Source: Transport Topics

Supply chain disruptions in China ahead of G20?

There may be supply chain disruptions in China starting this summer as Chinese factories close entirely or partially close ahead of September’s G20 economic summit in Hangzhou. The closures may start as early as June as part of an effort to reduce dirty air in major cities ahead of the meeting of the world’s largest economies.

Source: Air Cargo News

Chain links: What we're reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 03/16/2016 | 1:02 PM


Alibaba prepares for the ultimate logistics war with Amazon. The perils of empty store shelves. And the six issues (only six?) that keeps practitioners awake at night.

Alibaba preps for logistics arms race

The Chinese e-commerce giant’s Cainiao logistics arm has raised billions of renminbi strengthen its supply chain in preparation for what is expected to be the ultimate cage match with Amazon.com. Cainiao is BABA's logistics joint venture created three years ago with the goal of supporting BABA's logistics network across China and driving cross-border e-commerce while leveraging big data to enhance efficiency.

Source: Seeking Alpha

The perils of empty shelves

Online shopping has brought the limitations of the current supply chain to light. The combination of online and in-store picking is resulting in items flying off the shelves twice as fast. The shelves can only hold so many inventory turns, requiring store associates to run back and forth from the shelves to the back room in order to restock. Too often, there is no replenishment inventory in the backroom, leaving the shelf empty. Consumers are confronted with a decision: do they purchase a substitution or do they look for the product at a different store? Research shows consumers are evenly split, a scenario that hurts the manufacturer and retailer. Half the time the consumer will be so brand loyal that they will leave the store to purchase the same item elsewhere, giving the manufacturer the sale. The other half of the time, a consumer will make a brand substitution, giving the retailer the sale, but not the manufacturer.

Source: ES3

Waiting for logistics magic in Indonesia

The new president of Indonesia, “Joko” Widodo, is pinning much of the archipelago’s economic future on dramatic improvements in its inefficient logistics network, which sucks up more than 25 percent of GDP. On March 10, Widodo simultaneously inaugurated the operation of 11 bonded logistics centers (PLBs) in the provinces of Jakarta, Banten, East Kalimantan, West Java and Bali. However, as the Jakarta Post reports, some Indonesian business players prefer to lower their expectations, saying they need time to learn what actual benefits and incentives would be offered by the new facilities.

Source: The Jakarta Post

Sinotrans to shift its service focus following acquisition

Sinotrans & CSC Holdings Co, China's second largest shipping company by fleet size, will focus on developing integrated logistics, energy transportation and port businesses after its acquisition by China Merchants Group, a state-owned conglomerate based in Hong Kong. The acquisition, aimed at optimizing shipping and multimodal logistics resources, as well as enhancing the country's energy security, was approved by government regulators in December.

Source: China Daily

Japan Post to pursue acquisitions in and out of logistics

Japan Post Holdings, which had been rumored to be acquiring Deutsche Post DHL’s global freight forwarding unit (a rumor that DPDHL Chairman Frank Appel vociferously denied) will pursue more acquisitions both in logistics and outside the category, according to DealStreet Asia.

Source: DealStreet Asia

Carbon-conscious shippers can choose green ocean freight option

Shippers who want to move ocean freight without incurring the carbon footprint of traditional container ships now have an option to choose the “Green Danmar” service, a carbon-efficient ocean freight service from DHL Global Forwarding that offers full container shipping with that is over 5 percent more carbon efficient than the industry average.

Source: DHL

Six issues that keep supply chain managers up at night

A survey from professional association APICS and Michigan State University has identified six of the top problems that keep supply chain executives from getting a good night’s sleep. The issues include capacity and resource availability, retaining new hires in supply chain jobs, and managing complexity in a time of huge growth in stock keeping units (SKUs).

Source: APICS

Chain links: What we're reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 03/09/2016 | 8:30 AM


Mobile technology works for truckers. The high-stakes world of the Amazon marketplace. And Target gets buys investing in its supply chain

The `Appy’ Trucker

Mobile technology is making it easier than ever for truckers to find profitable loads and keep more of their income by dis-intermediating middlemen, the Economist writes

Source: The Economist

Target Corp. to invest $2 billion annually in supply chain

Target Corp. will launch a campaign in 2017 to spend $2 billion to $2.5 billion per year in a race to upgrade its supply chain and technology infrastructure. CEO Brian Cornell revealed the plan in a briefing with analysts last week, blaming the firm’s "incredibly complex supply chain" for lower sales in 2015.

Source: Reuters

Customer Ratings, Pricing Competitions and Secondary Market Distributors: Inside the High Stress, High Reward World of Amazon Marketplace

Pharmapacks, an e-commerce health and beauty retailer, expects to do $140 million in revenue in 2016. Nearly half of that will come from Amazon Marketplace, where, in order to maintain a visible presence on product pages, the company has to resolve customer complaints, outprice the competition, and back it all up with an agile, efficient warehousing and distribution operation that sometimes relies on alternate source suppliers for inventory.

Source: Inc. Magazine

STB looking to prioritize freight rails over Amtrak: The Hill

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board is moving to invalidate a federal mandate that requires freight railroads to give preference to Amtrak on tracks that are shared between passenger and freight trains. The STB has said the mandate to prioritize passenger trains was not spelled out in federal law, although it has been enforced since Amtrak was established in the 1970s.

Source: The Hill

Amazon to open second brick-and-mortar bookstore

Amazon plans to open its second brick-and-mortar store in the coming months, adding a location at San Diego’s Westfield UTC mall to the retailer’s first storefront location in Seattle. Amazon has already hung signs on the building and posted job openings for managers, booksellers and “device enthusiasts.”

Source: San Diego Union Tribune

China to heavily promote logistics sector over next five years

China will promote the development of its logistics sector in the next five years to bolster economic growth and deepen supply-side reform. More innovative policies will be unveiled during 2016-2020 to lower taxes and reduce cost in the logistics sector, said the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Source: Hinxua News Agency

U.K. e-commerce growth hampered by dearth of warehouse space

E-commerce growth in the U.K. could be affected by a lack of warehouse space to handle fulfillment and deliveries

Source: Logistic Manager

Chain links: What we're reading this week

By Mark Solomon | 03/02/2016 | 7:02 AM


India’s civil unrest and the supply chain impact. Chinese logistics firm readies U.S. IPO. And WIT announces finalists for `distinguished woman in logistics’ award

Used Phones are Full of Previous Owners’ Data

Recycling of consumer electronics and other high-tech products is big business, and there are a number of third-party logistics companies (3PLs) that are involved in that particular segment of reverse logistics. Cell phones, of course, represent a significant portion of returned consumer electronics. According to findings by researchers working for a technology security firm, some companies that are handling returns, repairs, and refurbishing of cell phones may be skipping a step or two.

Source: The Atlantic.com

Unrest in India and the Impact on the Global Supply Chain

This might not be on your radar, but if you do business in South Asia, it should be. C.H. Robinson’s Harpreet Singh, ocean product head for South Asia, reports in the company’s “Transportfolio” blog that civil unrest in India is having a notable effect on cargo movements in the northern part of that country. Protests in Delhi and neighboring states have led to blockades of roads, highways, and rail lines. Since the protests began, Singh writes, more than 1,000 trains have been canceled, train stations and cargo trains have been burned, and movements of containers to and from northern India have been restricted. “The widespread nature of the protests have made it difficult to connect cargo to their designated vessels, and congestion will be experienced at both inland depots and ports for some time, even after the situation is resolved,” he writes.

Source: C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc.

Barnes & Noble merges online and physical traits with hybrid bookstore plan

Barnes & Noble is designing a bookstore model to combine elements of online and traditional brick and mortar shopping experiences. Following in the strategy of rival Amazon.com, which recently opened its first-ever physical store in Seattle, Barnes & Noble will launch the new shop sometime in 2016, company CEO Ron Boire told an e-commerce conference.

Source: Internet Retailer

Whole Foods invests in Instacart food delivery upstart

Specialty grocery chain Whole Foods market usually relies on sumptuous layouts of fresh produce and premium deli top attract its shoppers, but the food retailer opened a new front in the competition for Americans’ grocery dollars last week when it reportedly launched plans to invest in Instacart, the same-day, food home delivery startup.

Source: Re/Code

Head of North Carolina’s global logistics center resigns

Charles Edwards, head of North Carolina’s Center for Global Logistic since 2012, resigned this week to take a job as director of strategic planning for the state’s Department of Transportation.

Source: Triad Business Journal

Chinese logistics firm readies US IPO: Report

Chinese logistics firm ZTO Express is planning a U.S. initial public offering later this year or early 2017, according to a report. The listing, which could raise up to $2 billion, could be the largest in the U.S. from a Chinese company since Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s $25 billion IPO.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Finalists named for `distinguished woman in logistics' award

Women in Trucking Inc. announced the three finalists for its “Distinguished Woman in Logistics” award. They are Elizabeth Fretheim, director, logistics sustainability, Walmart, Inc;

Liz Lasater, chief executive officer, Red Arrow Logistics, and Shelley Simpson, chief marketing officer, executive vice president and president, integrated capacity solutions and truck, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. The winner will be announced at next month’s Transportation Intermediaries Association’s (TIA) annual meeting in San Antonio.

Source: Heavy-Duty Trucking

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.


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