Who first proposed the Labor Day holiday in the US? It is unclear who first proposed the holiday, but it does appear to be an Irish-American contribution to the country. According to DOL.gov, it was either Matthew Maguire, a machinist from NJ, or Peter McGwire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters. By the way, the DOL webpage shows a cartoon of the two men duking it out. Are they implying that Irish Americans have a tendency to throw punches? Where are the PC police when you need them?
- C.H. Robinson Expands Global Network, Acquires APC Logistics
- Freight Marketplace Freightos Acquires WebCargoNet
- Hanjin Shipping files for receivership, as ports turn away its vessels
- At Ports, a Sign of Altered Supply Chains (WSJ, subscriber may be required)
- A note on Apple’s EU Tax Ruling (see below)
C.H. Robinson continues to expand its global logistics services footprint, as it announced it has entered an agreement to acquire APC Logistics, a $250 million (revenue) freight forwarding and customs brokerage services provider in Australia and New Zealand. C.H. Robinson is one of the world’s largest 3PL service providers, and ARC’s research has shown the company to be well-regarded within the industry. Although C.H. Robinson appears to be gaining market share, the industry overall is experiencing some headwinds from slowing global trade.
Freightos, an online freight marketplace provider, announced the acquisition of WebCargoNet, an air cargo rate management provider. ARC recently published a research study titled Transportation Execution Marketplaces and Systems that analyzes the market in which Freightos operates. Steve Banker, the study’s author, estimates that this is one of the fastest growing logistics software markets, and that over $170 million in VC money has been invested in these firms over the last couple years. Of course, Freightos was among the recipients of VC funds, and has deployed some of that capital toward its acquisition of WebCargoNet. The fast-paced dynamics of this market lead me to believe there will be many more acquisitions on the horizon.
On a more somber note, Hanjin Shipping, one of the world’s largest container lines, filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday. The new is causing turmoil at global ports, as Reuters and others note that international ports are denying access to its vessels. The same article notes that the vessel Hanjin Rome was seized in Singapore by a creditor. This doesn’t sound like an orderly bankruptcy to me, but that’s just me.
US Ports are experiencing less than stellar growth in imports , less than expected for this time of year, according to Hackett Associates data quoted by the Wall Street Journal. Interestingly, they attribute the lackluster imports as a result of changing retail inventory practices driven by the shift from brick and mortar to e-commerce sales. ARC’s research has shown unequivocally that ecommerce is growing quickly and that it is having widespread effects on supply chains. However, I consider there to be an additional factor in the causal chain. I believe that ecommerce companies, like Amazon, are able to offer a wide range of SKUs that surpasses what many brick and mortar retailers have available on the shelves at stores. This has pressured stores to offer a greater number of SKUs to better compete with ecommerce providers. In response to the proliferation of SKUs and the lackluster growth of brick and mortal sales, retailers are reducing the quantity of inventory on hand, per SKU, to minimize inventory carrying cost and reduce the volume of likely after season markdowns.
Apple, Inc., as most of you are probably aware, was hit with am €11 billion back tax by the European Commission, resulting from an arrangement the company obtained from Ireland. I spent some time reviewing the topic and came to the conclusion that the company’s supply chain is not central to the issue. Rather, in my humble opinion, the accounting topic of transfer pricing and agreements between EU sovereign nations and the EU as a whole are the areas where we will see future discussions as this drama continues to unfold.
Have a great labor-free Labor Day weekend!
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