This Week in Logistics News (September 17 -24)

seasonsFall is officially here. The autumnal equinox, which happens the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator, occurred yesterday at 10:21 am EDT. On this day, we see almost equal amounts of daylight and darkness. From here on out, the days (by daylight that is) will get shorter until the Winter Solstice, which is the shortest day of the year. This also means that it is time for crispness in the air, baseball playoffs, the beginning of the football season, pumpkin spiced everything, and flannels everywhere. Fall is actually my favorite season, although I think most kids heading back to school will disagree with me on that one. Either way, fall is here, and I couldn’t be more excited.

And now, on to the news:

HanjinKorea Development Bank offered a conditional credit line of $45 million to Hanjin to help ease supply-chain disruptions caused by the company’s collapse. Korea Development Bank is the main lender to Hanjin. The bank has said it will extend the loan if the funds pledged by Korean Air Lines Co. are insufficient to help unload cargo from stranded vessels. The collapse has caused widespread disruptions in worldwide freight shipments, with many cargo vessels stranded, with billions of dollars’ worth of inventory on them. The longer the ships stay stranded, the more debt will pile up.

The MV Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, the world's biggest container ship, arrives at the harbour of Rotterdam August 16, 2013. The 55,000 tonne ship, named after the son of the founder of the oil and shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk, has a length of 400 meters and cost $185 million. A.P. Moller-Maersk raised its annual profit forecast for the business on Friday, helped by tighter cost controls and lower fuel prices. Maersk shares jumped 6 percent to their highest in 1-1/2 years as investors welcomed a near-doubling of second-quarter earnings at container arm Maersk Line, which generates nearly half of group revenue and is helping counter weakness in the company's oil business. REUTERS/Michael Kooren (NETHERLANDS - Tags: MARITIME TRANSPORT BUSINESS) - RTX12NIU

In a historic shakeup, A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S will split into separate transport and energy businesses. Maersk is the owner of the world’s largest shipping firm and will become a transport and logistics company. Their oil and oil-related businesses will be separated from the group and operate as a separate energy company. The company will focus on acquisitions to build their transport business, and will rely less on ordering new ships, which could be bad news for the ship manufacturing sector.

walmart logoWalmart has officially completed its acquisition of Jet.com, paying $3 billion for the e-commerce start-up. According to Walmart, the acquisition will impact Walmart’s 2017 fiscal year earnings marginally more than the retailer’s initial estimate of a 5 cents per share impact as the transaction closed ahead of time. The key part of the deal for Walmart is gaining access to Jet.com’s innovative pricing software, which lowers prices as more items are added to the cart. In the coming weeks, I will have a much more detailed analysis of the deal, and whether it is a good move, or simply a desperation move by Walmart.

boatsSelf-driving trucks have been all over the news lately, including here. Well, boats are stepping into the mix too, as starting next year, self-driving boats will be tested on Amsterdam’s canals. There are more than 100 kilometers of canals winding through the city, so boat deliveries make sense. The Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan Solutions (AMS) announced a new, five-year research initiative to explore the possible functions of these floating robot vehicles. The program, named Roboat, is being carried out by researchers from MIT and two Dutch universities (the Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University and Research). They have $27 million in funding for their work and aim to have the first prototype ready by 2017.

In China, the express delivery sector is booming. Despite a slowing economy, the sector has grown steadily in the first 8 months of the year. Revenue for Chinese express delivery companies hit $35.5 billion so far this year, marking a 43% increase over last year. This is due to the boom of e-commerce options in China, even in rural areas with limited infrastructure. More consumers are online making purchases, and most demand express delivery. According to a policy document released by the State Council last October, the express delivery industry will have a target annual revenue of nearly $120 billion by 2020.

1474394430-cvs-curbside-serviceCVS is the latest company to offer “drive by shopping.” More than 200 Dallas-Fort Worth area CVS stores will be ready next week to fill online orders brought out to your car within an hour, sometimes in as little as 30 minutes. Curbside, a company co-founded by former Apple location-based head Jaron Waldman, is providing the technology behind the service, which runs off the CVS app. The service will have designated parking spaces for CVS Curbside customers, and a CVS employee will bring the order out to you. Everything in the store but prescription and alcoholic beverages can be purchased.

freightwatch-la-2016-09-19-14-05Cargo theft recording firm FreightWatch International (FWI) has issued a warning for the Greater Los Angeles Area as a result of increased cargo theft activity. In the greater Los Angeles area, the thefts of electronics and clothing, for example, have been nearly double the annual average. Additionally, fictitious pick-ups are nearly triple the national average. The firm recommends for truck drivers traveling through the area to be educated on the increased threat and to know best practices to avoid an incident. FWI also says that if truckers must stop in the area, they should back their trailers against a solid structure to protect against tampering with seals or trailer doors.

And finally, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is, step by step, implementing new rules based on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The rules fall most heavily on food manufacturers. This week’s deadlines include Preventive Controls for Human Food and Preventive Controls for Animal Food, which are intended to help prevent foodborne illness outbreaks. While these regulations have a huge impact on food manufacturers, they also impact truckers. My colleague Steve Banker wrote a great article outlining the new regulations, which I recommend you read.

That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend, and the song of the week, We’re Going to be Friends by the White Stripes.

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