Toy companies are always looking for the next big thing. And for Mattel, that next big thing might be Space X. Mattel inked a multiyear deal with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to create a line of toys inspired by the space venture, the companies announced Wednesday. “As space exploration advances more quickly than ever before, we are thrilled to work with SpaceX and help spark limitless play patterns for the space explorer in every kid,” said Nick Karamanos, Mattel’s senior vice president of entertainment partnerships, in a news release. This new partnership comes just months after Mattel sent two Barbie dolls into space as part of a collaboration with the International Space Station National Lab to encourage girls to consider aerospace, engineering and STEM careers. Financial terms of deal were not disclosed. And now on to this week’s logistics news.
- Amazon’s electric delivery vehicles from Rivian rolls out
- Uber Eats ups the ante in online grocery
- FedEx Ground acts to appease contractors by Sunday delivery suspension
- P&G uses life cycle assessment for sustainable packaging design
- Target chases bigger e-commerce profits with new delivery hubs, fleet of drivers
- West Coast ports reduce idling vessels as container supply increases
- Winsupply to partner with Drone Express
- Europe agrees to cut natural-gas consumption as Russia crimps supplies
Starting this week, customers across the US will begin to see custom electric delivery vehicles from Rivian delivering their Amazon packages, with the electric vehicles hitting the road in Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Nashville, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, and St. Louis, among other cities. This rollout is just the beginning of what is expected to be thousands of Amazon’s custom electric delivery vehicles in more than 100 cities by the end of this year—and 100,000 across the US by 2030. The vehicles are designed from the ground-up with safety, sustainability, and comfort in mind, and have been thoroughly tested by drivers across the country. They are the product of Amazon’s partnership with Rivian, which the companies announced in 2019 when Amazon co-founded, and became the first signatory of The Climate Pledge—a commitment to reach net-zero carbon across our operations by 2040. As part of the Pledge, Amazon is creating a more sustainable delivery fleet, and its work with Rivian is an important part of decarbonizing its last mile logistics as well as accelerating innovation that can help others reach net-zero carbon. With its commitment to have all 100,000 electric delivery vehicles on the road by 2030, Amazon will save millions of metric tons of carbon per year.
This summer, Uber Eats plans to roll out an updated online grocery delivery experience, roughly two years after it entered the US e-grocery market. Starting next week in selected cities, consumers will see new features in the Uber Eats app and website designed to make grocery shopping more convenient, intuitive and reliable, San Francisco-based Uber Technologies said Thursday. New functionality includes after-hours ordering, live order tracking and simpler item replacements for customers and improved support for personal shoppers. Among the key new Uber Eats grocery features, outlined in a media videoconference is the ability to place orders whether stores are open or closed. Items ordered after hours are delivered in the first available window or scheduled at the customer’s convenience.
Thousands of FedEx Ground contractors are forming an alliance to press for higher per-stop pay to hedge against inflationary pressures ahead of Black Friday, one of the company’s largest contractors wrote in a letter to FedEx executives Wednesday. After this letter was written, FedEx Ground said it would halt Sunday residential delivery services as of mid-August in what it described as “lower-population” markets where shippers would not be greatly affected. The unit did not specify which markets it would target. However, it is apparent the move will focus on rural and less-populated suburban areas. About 80 percent of the US market will retain access to Sunday deliveries after the downsizing, according to FedEx Ground.
Consumers are increasingly demanding greater transparency and sustainability from the companies they buy from, especially when it comes to the household products they use every day and how they’re packaged. Procter & Gamble is taking note. P&G has science-based packaging targets for 2030, including using 100 percent recycled or reusable packaging and reducing virgin petroleum plastic in packaging by 50 percent, with a broader goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across our supply chain and operations by 2040. Life-Cycle Assessments (LCAs) allow us to evaluate the carbon footprint of packaging across all our products and see where we can make changes to reach our sustainability goals. Packaging is one of many key considerations included in life-cycle assessments for consumer products, and changes to the package design and the materials used are often where the greatest impacts can be made.
Each day, hundreds of drivers park at a delivery hub in Target’s hometown and load up the trunks of their personal cars with packages to deliver to customers. Soon, the big-box retailer will have similar centers and gig workers in three more places − two in the Greater Chicago area and one near Denver − to get online orders to doors quicker and at a lower cost. The new centers are part of growing push among retailers including Walmart to make e-commerce more profitable as shoppers spend online and expect purchases to get to their doors within a day or even hours. Since it began testing at the Minneapolis facility in late 2020, Target has added five similar hubs where ready-to-go packages are sorted and grouped together to create dense delivery routes. The three more are slated to open by the end of January.
The queue of vessels waiting to unload goods at the Port of Los Angeles, North America’s busiest container port, has fallen 80 percent since the start of the year as global container prices continue to slide, pointing to more easing in supply chain disruptions. The backlog of vessels waiting outside Los Angeles has fallen from a record high of 109 to 20 and the port moved 876,611 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in June in its best record in over 100 years. Port lockdowns and a shortage of containers in 2020 and 2021 contributed to skyrocketing leasing costs. But now there is an oversupply of containers and prices have been falling since September.
Winsupply, backed by Drone Express, plans to make its first-ever drone delivery August 9, sending a product from the Winsupply Distribution Center at 9300 Byers Road in Miami Twp. to Centerville Winsupply at 875 Congress Park Drive. The 3-mile drone flight — delivering an item from NIBCO, which manufactures flow control products — will mark the beginning of Winsupply “consistently delivering a wide range of products” weighing under five pounds from the Winsupply Distribution Center, the company said today. “Drone Express uses autonomous drones for efficient local delivery while reducing the impact on the environment,” Winsupply said.
European countries agreed to sweeping cuts to natural-gas consumption, prompted by the threat of a Russian supply cutoff, opting for a controlled dose of economic pain now in the hope of avoiding a much deeper contraction later. The deal calls for countries to voluntarily reduce their gas use by 15 percent from August, and marks a major intervention in European Union gas markets. The target, proposed by the EU’s executive arm last week, could become mandatory in an emergency. Reaching an agreement was difficult, according to EU diplomats. The deal contains significant carve-outs for several countries, agreed to in a bid to reach a compromise, which some analysts say could make the agreement less effective. It is also unclear whether it can be enforced. An EU official said Tuesday that country representatives didn’t discuss possible sanctions for members that don’t abide by the cuts.
That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend and the song of the week, Rocket Queen by Guns n’ Roses.