Later tonight, the 2016 Summer Olympic Games officially kick off. There are so many story lines to follow: Can Usain Bolt sweep the 100, 200, and 4 X 100 meter relay again? How many more medals will Michael Phelps win? Will Simone Biles lead the US women’s gymnastics team to another gold medal? But athletic accomplishments are only part of the story for this year’s Olympic Games. Other questions remain: Will Rio be safe for athletes and visitors? How many athletes will get sick from contaminated water at the open swim, sailing, and rowing locations? Will the athlete’s village and venues be completed in time for the games? Will the Zika fears be realized? That’s a lot to think about and a lot to watch for. Enjoy!
And now, on to the news.
- Walmart is in negotiations to acquire jet.com
- TPG Capital to acquire majority stake in Transporeon
- Amazon prepares for holidays by adding warehouses
- Alibaba plans to loosen up world trade
- Cargo theft incidents fall year-over-year, values rise
- Diesel prices fall 3.1 cents to close out July
Reports are making the rounds that Walmart is in negotiations to acquire Jet.com. Jet.com was founded just over a year ago, and has raised more than $800 million in funding as it tries to compete with Amazon. Walmart has struggled to turn its successful brick and mortar business into a thriving e-commerce business. But this acquisition, which could be valued at as much as $3 billion, will help to accelerate Walmart’s e-commerce business. Walmart is adding 1 million products per month to its e-commerce business, and bringing Jet.com into the fold will increase it even more. It will not immediately put the retail giant in a place to catch up with Amazon, it is certainly a step in the right direction.
TPG Capital is acquiring a majority stake in cloud-based logistics platform Transporeon. Transporeon optimizes transport logistic processes, sourcing and communication between industrial companies, trading companies, carriers, drivers and con-signees. The company is also the largest TL and LTL marketplace in Europe. This acquisition is further proof that transportation marketplace solutions are hot right now, coming on the heels of Infor’s $675 million acquisition of GT Nexus last year. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter and is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval.
Amazon is getting a jump start on holiday season planning by adding 18 warehouses. This is up from 6 warehouses over the same period last year. Last year, mainly due to a large number of merchants that wanted Amazon to store and ship products on their behalf, Amazon had to rely on last-minute solutions that were more expensive, significantly driving up fulfillment costs. The addition of these warehouses is designed to avoid the same situation, and allow Amazon to fulfill orders more quickly. The company has also raised the fees it charges merchants to store goods in Amazon warehouses during November and December in an effort to get them to only send in inventory that has a good chance of selling before the New Year.
Alibaba wants to start negotiations with one or two countries following the G20 summit in September about its plan to create a global e-commerce platform. Company founder Jack Ma believes that a global e-commerce platform could knock down trade barriers. Ma plans on setting up a group to study the feasibility of such a platform, with a specific look at what rules should apply to the platform. Different tariffs and regulations across countries makes the global platform a bit tricky. Ma has said he understands how difficult this could be, but he is prepared to spend decades to turn his vision into a reality.
According to a quarterly report from cargo theft reporting firm CargoNet, cargo theft incidents dropped 15% in the second quarter of 2016 when compared to the same time period last year. However, even with a drop in incidents, the value of thefts has increased. CargoNet logged 192 cargo theft incidents in 2016’s second quarter worth an estimated $39 million. The total worth of cargo thefts represented a $1.3 million increase over the second quarter of 2015. Theft of electronics represented the costliest category, worth a total of $14.6 million in thefts. However, food and beverage items were stolen most often, but losses were down 17 percent from 2015. CargoNet says $3.81 million in food and beverages were stolen.
And finally, diesel prices fell another 3.1 cents during the week ending Monday, Aug. 1, according to the weekly report from the Department of Energy. With the most recent price drop, a gallon of on-highway diesel in the U.S. now costs an average of $2.348, the lowest price since mid-May of this year. Fuel prices dropped in all regions across the country with the most significant decrease coming in the West Coast less California region, where prices fell 4.4 cents. The nation’s most expensive diesel is still in California at $2.741 per gallon, followed by the West Coast less California region at $2.492 per gallon. The cheapest fuel is in the Gulf Coast region at $2.224 per gallon, followed by the Lower Atlantic region at $2.279 per gallon.
That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend, the beginning of the Olympics, and the song of the week, Rio by Duran Duran.