This summer has been an interesting one weather-wise in the Boston area. In June, we experienced more than one heat wave, which is defined as three or more days in a row where the temperature reaches 90 degrees Fahrenheit or above. As a ridiculously hot June came to an end, we experienced a prolonged period of unseasonably cool and rainy weather in July, with only one day reaching 90 degrees, and the majority of days hitting the mid-seventies. And now August is once again bringing the heat. And obviously this is not only in the Boston area. On Wednesday, the hottest temperature ever may have been recorded on the continent of Europe. The 119.84 Fahrenheit temperature was recorded by Sicily’s agriculture-meteorological information service, SIAS, at the Syracuse station on the island’s southeast. This would eclipse the hottest verified temperature on the continent, which is 118.4 degrees Fahrenheit, in Greece on July 10, 1977. All of this pales in comparison with the world record for the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth: 134 degrees Fahrenheit recorded at Death Valley on July 10, 1913. And now on this week’s logistics news.
- Amazon in the news:
- DoorDash delivery can now include products from multiple stores
- USPS proposes holiday surcharges
- Strong volume continues through Port of New York and New Jersey
- China-US container shipping rates sail past $20,000 to record
Amazon has been pushing its same-day delivery model for Prime members over the last year, making large investments in its supply chain infrastructure. Amazon has been working to make next-day delivery the norm for all markets. Now, the company has announced that it is expanding its same-day, Prime delivery service to 6 more US cities. Amazon has invested in what it calls “mini-fulfillment centers” closer to where customers lived in select US markets, initially in Philadelphia, Phoenix, Orlando, and Dallas. With the new expansion, Amazon is rolling out same-day delivery to Prime members in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Tampa, Charlotte and Houston, bringing the total markets served to 12. In these markets, shoppers will be able to place orders online throughout the day, then have items on their doorstep in as fast as five hours. Customers can also place orders by midnight to have their orders arrive the following morning.
A few months ago, a British broadcaster reported that Amazon is destroying millions of items of unsold stock at one of its 24 UK warehouses every year, including smart TVs, laptops, drones, and hairdryers. This e-waste is devastating for the environment, and now Amazon has taken notice. The company has since launched two programs as part of an effort to give products a second life when they get returned to businesses that sell items on its platform or fail to get sold in the first place. The Fulfilment by Amazon programs aims to build a circular economy. The first program, known as “FBA Grade and Resell,” will allow third-party businesses on Amazon to resell returned items as “used” products. The program has been launched in the UK and will expand to the US by the end of the year. The second program, called “FBA Liquidations” will allow sellers to use Amazon’s “wholesale resale channel and technology” to recover a portion of their inventory cost from returned items and excess stock.
And in the last piece of Amazon-related logistics news, the company’s drone delivery dream may be in jeopardy. Well over 100 employees at Amazon Prime Air have lost their jobs and dozens of other roles are moving to other projects abroad as the company shutters part of its operation in the UK. An Amazon spokesperson says it will still have a Prime Air presence in the UK after the cuts but refuses to disclose what type of work will take place. The spokesperson also refused to confirm, citing security reasons, if any of the test flights that once filled promotional videos will still take place in the UK.
Online grocery and food delivery services have been exploding over the last 18 months, with the Covid-19 pandemic helping to fuel this growth. DoorDash is expanding its service menu with the addition of DoubleDash, which allows customers to add their favorite items from nearby stores to their original order for no additional delivery fee or order minimum. This has often been an issue for customers who have wanted to add additional items. In select markets, DoubleDash is piloting with local restaurants to offer the option of adding complementary items from nearby local restaurants to a customer’s initial meal order. Both orders will arrive together, with the same “Dasher,” or delivery person.
While it may only be mid-August, holiday season planning is in full swing. Earlier this week, the USPS announced that it plans to charge more for packages shipped during the holidays, including those sent by individuals, to offset the rising cost of deliveries at the busiest time of the year. The agency proposed adding surcharges on most packages shipped domestically between October 3 and December 26, saying the fees would apply to both commercial and retail customers. The USPS said the added fees, ranging from 25 cents for smaller packages to $5 for heavier items traveling longer distances, are in line with broader industry practices to charge more during the holiday season. I assume these fees will be in line with anticipated surcharges from both UPS and FedEx.
The streak of record-breaking volume continues at the Port of New York and New Jersey, with June’s total volume numbers nearly doubling the numbers posted in June 2020. Total volume through the port rose by nearly 47 percent percent in June, with 749,400 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) compared to 511,306 TEUs the previous year. Year-to-date, the port has processed nearly 4.4 million TEUs, officials said. Imports and exports also posted substantial gains in June. Imports rose nearly 46 percent during the month and are up more than 31 percent year-to-date. Exports rose by nearly 48 percent percent in June and were up 30 percent year-to-date.
Container shipping rates from China to the US have scaled fresh highs above $20,000 per 40-foot box as rising retailer orders ahead of the peak US shopping season add strain to global supply chains. The acceleration in Delta-variant COVID-19 outbreaks in several counties has slowed global container turnaround rates. Typhoons off China’s busy southern coast in late July and this week have also contributed to the crisis gripping the world’s most important method for moving everything from gym equipment and furniture to car parts and electronics.
That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend and the song of the week, Glenn Frey’s the Heat is On.
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