After 8 years, it is time to say goodbye to the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama. Earlier this week, he gave his final address as POTUS, where he reflected on the accomplishments of his administration as well as the challenges that lay ahead. One of his biggest accomplishment was the growth of the economy. As Donald Trump’s promises to fix infrastructure problems that plague the country’s highways and bridges, there is hope that the economy will continue to grow. The biggest question with the new administration is what will the effect be on global trade. Seven days from today, President Obama will hand over the reins to President-elect Donald Trump, and we’ll get our first glimpse of what the future holds.
And now, on to the news.
- FedEx introduces package drop-off, pick-up at Walgreens
- Staple, USPS end in-store partnership
- UPS acquires UK logistics company Freightex
- Parcel International launches innovative same-day European air cargo service
- Koreans feel the pinch from soaring egg prices
- Diesel prices start 2017 at highest mark in 17 months
FedEx has announced that its customers will now be able to pick up and drop off packages at thousands of Walgreen’s locations across the United States. This is an interesting move as both companies seek to expand their business in e-commerce. According to research conducted by FedEx, customers ranked pharmacies as a preferred location for accessing their e-commerce shipments. As a result, a small-scale roll-out of the program is scheduled for the coming months. Both companies plan to make the program available at nearly 8,000 stores nationwide by 2018.
Speaking of retail and shipper relationships, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has ended its three-year partnership with office goods retailer Staples. While many retailers and pharmacies also sell stamps, this partnership extended well beyond that – Staples stores were also offering priority mail and parcel shipping. The pilot program began in 2013 when the USPS put “mini post offices” in select Staples locations. Since then, the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO has been fighting the program, claiming the USPS was shifting business from post offices staffed by its members to Staples stores. The union brought the case to the National Labor Relations Board, eventually winning. The National Labor Relations Board issued an order that the USPS cease its relationship with Staples.
UPS has acquired the UK-based logistics company Freightex. The driver behind this acquisition is to give UPS a truck brokerage presence in the UK and Europe. The company went the acquisition route to gain quick entry to the market, rather than organically building out its own brokerage operation. According to UPS Chief Commercial Officer Alan Gershenhorn, “Freightex’s proven expertise and strong regional network, combined with Coyote’s technology, people, processes, and service reputation will present a best-in-class solution for customers.” UPS acquired Coyote Logistics in August 2015 for its US-based truck brokerage business. The terms of the acquisition have not been released to the public.
Parcel International has launched a new service geared toward bringing same-day European air cargo service. All in all, it is not overly surprising that someone would make the attempt, considering the proliferation of cross-border commerce. The service is called 12send, and will use Amsterdam Airport Schiphol’s baggage system and KLM’s European network. According to the program’s plans, cargo shipped on the 12send service is processed and loaded by Schiphol’s luggage system, and travels to KLM destinations Europe-wide. Parcel International handles first and last mile, delivering to the final customer by electric van and e-bike. The end goal is to have orders placed by noon delivered by 11pm across the continent. Those are certainly some loft goals.
In the past, I have written about how the bird flu was impacting the supply of eggs in the United States. As a result, for the first time, the United States was importing eggs from Europe. Well, South Korea is now facing the same shortfall due to bird flu. As the H5N6 flu strain has struck eh country, authorities have culled about 17 percent of its national flock of chickens and 28 percent of ducks as of Jan. 8. Eggs are used in many traditional Korean dishes, and the country as a whole are big eaters, consuming about 250 eggs per person per year. The average price of eggs sold by South Korean farmers soared 50 percent to 1,551 won ($1.30) for 10 standard-sized eggs in December from a year earlier, while the average retail price rose 21.4 percent to 2,207 won, according to the Korea Rural Economics Institute. As the bird flu spreads, these prices are primed to continue to rise, which could be devastating to farmers, grocery stores, markets, and restaurants alike.
And finally, the first full week of 2017 ushered in the highest diesel fuel prices seen across the United States since August 2015. The average price for a gallon of diesel is now $2.597 for the week ending Jan. 9, up 1.1 cents over the previous week and 4.2 cents higher than the same week in 2016, according to the Department of Energy’s weekly report. Prices increased in every region except the Gulf Coast. The most expensive diesel can be found in California at $2.953 per gallon, followed by the Central Atlantic region at $2.813 per gallon. The cheapest fuel can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $2.448 per gallon, followed by the Lower Atlantic region at $2.526 per gallon.
That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend and the song of the week, Hello, Goodbye by the Beatles.