Today marks the 10 year anniversary of Twitter’s full public launch. Work on the project started on March 21, 2006 with the very first tweet sent by Jack Dorsey. However, the full public version was not released until four months later. Today, Twitter is a little bit popular, with over 310 million active Twitter users. We here at Logistics Viewpoints actively use Twitter to let our audience know about our latest research, interesting articles we’ve written, as well as interesting and thought provoking articles we’ve read. This, however, is the single most shared tweet in the world, with 3.3 million retweets. Let’s see if we can top that.
And now, on to the news.
- Retailers lease warehouse space at record pace
- JCPenney redesigns app for ease of use, adds same-day pickup
- Amazon’s Prime Day was biggest day for online retail ever
- Belgian postal company looks to crowdsourcing
- Libya’s government says in talks to reopen two major oil ports
- US retail imports rise for back-to-school
- Brake Safety Week inspection spree to be held in September
Retailers are leasing warehouse space at a record pace right now, driving vacancy rates into the low single digits in some cities. The growth in e-commerce is fueling the trend, as more and more retailers are seeking out warehouse space in populated areas to speed up deliveries. This is mainly due to the fact that consumers now expect expedited shipping on most orders. So how much have industrial leases grown? Firms leased 70.1 million square feet of industrial space in the second quarter of 2016, the most in over 30 years of data and up 6% from the same quarter last year, real-estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield Inc. said in a report. In a separate report, brokerage CBRE Inc. said warehouse availability declined for a 25th consecutive quarter to 8.8%. With demand on the rise, rental prices are going up too. Cushman & Wakefield estimated that industrial rents increased in 68 of 79 major U.S. markets, rising at an overall rate of 4.1% since the same period last year.
JCPenney has redesigned its mobile app to make it more customer friendly. The retailer has answered the call from its customers to make the app easier to use when it comes to simplified browsing and check-out. The big new feature pushes the company’s omni-channel capabilities into the hands of the consumer – buy online, pick-up in-store same day. Customers can browse for items on their mobile devices, check-out through the mobile device, and pick-up the items at a nearby store later that day. This move comes as other large retailers such as Macy’s and Target are making omni-channel improvements to their mobile apps as well. The difficulty for retailers is still ensuring they have accurate in-stock counts to enable store pick-up.
Wednesday marked Amazon’s second annual Prime Day. And by all accounts, it went well. The self-created holiday offers significant discounts on thousands of products for Prime members. The online retailer said Wednesday was its biggest sales day ever, with worldwide orders rising more than 60% compared with the previous Prime Day. In the US, orders rose by more than 50%. While Amazon has not released full financial numbers, many analysts estimate that Prime Day generated over $500 million in sales. And Prime Day didn’t just benefit Amazon. Other large retailers rolled out sales or eliminated minimum spending thresholds for free shipping to gain a piece of the market.
Belgian Postal Company bpost is testing the water with crowdsourced delivery. Like most crowdsourced delivery applications, this one works by matching drivers with packages that need to be delivered. It is clearly not a new concept. However, this one is a little different, as it seems as though using crowdsourced drivers would compete with the regular business of bpost. But according to bpost, this is not the case. As bpost spokesperson Barbara Van Speybroek puts it: “It is more expensive than sending a package through the post office, but it is cheaper than using an express carrier. The service is priced to make it an addition to our current offering.”
Libya’s oil industry has been in trouble due to conflict among rival armed factions that control portions of the country. The UN backed government in Tripoli is now in negotiations with an armed brigade controlling two main oil ports to reopen the terminals and lift a force majeure to restart exports. The ports have an export capacity of 600,000 barrels a day, but have been closed since 2014. The standstill of oil production has Libya producing less than a quarter of what it produced in 2011, when the uprising and conflicts brought operations to a halt. Most analysts expect technical damage from shutdowns and militant attacks will delay Libya’s attempts to recover its oil production to its capacity.
It’s mid-July, but back-to-school planning is in full effect. As a result, import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports should see a small-but-significant increase this month as merchants stock up for the back-to-school season. This will be followed by a late-summer uptick as retailers plan for holiday shopping. Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.63 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in May, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 12.8% from April and 1.1% from May 2015. The first half of 2016 is expected to total 8.99 million TEU, up 1.5% from the same period in 2015. Total volume for 2015 was 18.2 million TEU, up 5.4% from 2014.
And finally, brake safety week will be held in September again this year. Inspectors will be keying in on brake safety again this September when the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Brake Safety Week takes place Sept. 11-17. Across North America, law enforcement agencies will conduct inspections on commercial vehicles to look for out-of-adjustment brakes, and brake system and anti-lock braking system violations during the week. Specifically, CVSA says inspectors will be looking for “loose or missing parts, air or hydraulic fluid leaks, worn linings, pads, drums or rotors, and other faulty brake system components.”
That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend and the song of the week, Bobby Day’s Rockin’ Robin.