This Week in Logistics News (April 19 – 25)

It’s been a busy week here at Logistics Viewpoints as we get ready to head to Las Vegas next week for JDA Focus, and Hollywood, FL the week after for Manhattan Momentum. There’s a bit of everything in the news this week, so let’s get right to it.

Amazon is testing its own delivery network for the final leg of a package’s journey to a customer’s home in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. The goal is to get Amazon closer to fulfilling the “same day delivery model” that shoppers are seeking. It also gives Amazon more control over the customer experience, as they can manage the time frame that orders are delivered, and even expand delivery hours if necessary. It also means that Amazon employees and contractors are the face of the delivery. This news should ruffle some feathers at UPS, FedEx, and the USPS as they lose out on Amazon shipments. For Amazon, the “last mile” is the key to their strategy.

“Last Mile is the solution to this. It is a program which is going to revolutionize how shipments are delivered to millions of customers.”

Bob Dylan, among many others, has covered the folk classic “Freight Train Blues.” Auto makers may be taking a closer listen to the song in the coming months. New cars and trucks, including some of the season’s best sellers, are currently sitting outside US factories due to delays brought on by terrible winter weather and the rise of production outside the Midwest. There have also been delays due to the expanding crude by rail business, US auto exports, and by a lack of necessary equipment to haul the freight.

“The concern some shippers have is longer-term equipment availability and new production hubs that require rail cars. When the auto industry began shrinking in 2008, the size of the auto rail car fleet did too. Investments in new auto carriers haven’t been enough to replace those taken out of service and scrapped, according to industry data.”

Formula One (F1) technology will no longer just propel single seat cars around race tracks. Projects incorporating F1 technology into buses and diggers are to benefit from a joint £1 billion government-industry fund. This fund is designed to feed cash into projects for the “next generation” of vehicles. This new technology will be used to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions in diggers and develop new stop-start diesel engine technology for buses. British Secretary of State and Business, Vince Cable says “The next generation of cars, buses and diggers will be powered by radically different technologies and I want them to be developed here in Britain.” These new technologies will create 30,000 jobs linked to producing engines and creating “many more” in the supply chain.

The contribution of the upstream oil and gas supply chain to the UK economy has been calculated at £35 billion in 2012. In a report EY said the sector’s turnover grew by £11.4 billion between 2008 and 2012, with an increase of 290 companies. The report said there were 1,585 UK firms involved in the upstream supply chain in 2012, employing a total of around 200,000 people, and between 2008 and 2012 the number of employees increased by more than 21,000.

And finally, companies involved in international trade in the United States, Mexico and Canada put more of their volumes in trucks in February, the Department of Transportation reported April 24. While total cross border freight among NAFTA partners rose just 1%, the truck-borne component rose 2.6%, which was the highest growth among any transportation modes. Cars and light trucks were the most carried commodity by trucks across borders. Based on the news earlier in this post, it’s a good thing they weren’t waiting for the freight trains.

That’s it for the news this week. Enjoy the weekend and the song of the week, The Grateful Dead’s Truckin’