UPS launches its new UPS My Choice for SMBs

UPS began onboarding customers for its new UPS My Choice for business service in the US. According to UPS, this is the first visibility and tracking solution in the US designed for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Read more

FedEx ends contract with Amazon

FedEx has made the decision to not renew the FedEx Express U.S. domestic contract with Amazon as the company wishes to focus on serving the broader e-commerce market.
In an announcement FedEx stated that this decision does not impact any existing contracts between Amazon and other FedEx business units or relating to international services.
Amazon is not FedEx’s largest customer. The percentage of total FedEx revenue attributable to Amazon represented less than 1.3 percent of total FedEx revenue for the 12-month period ended December 31, 2018.
“There is significant demand and opportunity for growth in e-commerce which is expected to grow from 50 million to 100 million packages a day in the U.S. by 2026. FedEx has already built out the network and capacity to serve thousands of retailers in the e-commerce space. We are excited about the future of e-commerce and our role as a leader in it,” FedEx declared.
 

US logistics union demands protection from automation

US labour union Teamsters has demanded that US delivery company UPS provide assurances that deliveries will not be automated through the use of drones or self-driving vehicles, as a part of a new collective bargaining agreement, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Teamsters represents the interests of more than 260,000 UPS employees in the US, and has a total membership base of more than 1.3 million workers.
Business Insider notes that UPS and other delivery companies including DHL and FedEx are looking into automation technology to cope with increasing delivery volumes brought about through the rise of e-commerce, and the country’s truck driver shortage.
In early 2017, UPS conducted a drone delivery trial, through which a drone would launch from the UPS van and complete parcel deliveries to addresses close by, while drivers also completed deliveries.
Research company Pew found in a 2017 of US adults that 72 per cent were worried about automated technology taking jobs, and 58 per cent supported government restrictions on the number of roles businesses can replace with machines.

TPP agreement reborn, without US

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a major trade deal that has been almost a decade in the making, has been reborn as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Eleven of the original countries involved in the TPP negotiations are set to sign the agreement in Chile in March – Japan, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore, Chile, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.
The notable exception to the new agreement is the US, which pulled out of the agreement after Donald Trump’s election as President.
“This is a multibillion-dollar win for Australian jobs,” Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Trade, Tourism & Investment, Steven Ciobo said in a joint statement. “Australian workers, businesses, farmers and consumers will benefit.
“The Government took a leadership role and worked hard to deliver the TPP because it will generate more Australian exports and create new Australian jobs.”
“The TPP will eliminate more than 98 per cent of tariffs in a trade zone with a combined GDP of $13.7 trillion. The agreement will deliver 18 new free trade agreements between the TPP parties. For Australia, that means new trade agreements with Canada and Mexico, and greater market access to Japan, Chile, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei.”
Significant wins for Australian exporters under the deal include:

  • accelerated reductions in Japan’s import tariffs on beef, where Australian exports were worth $2 billion in 2015–16 – under TPP-11, even better access;
  • elimination of a range of cheese tariffs into Japan, covering more than $100 million of trade not covered by the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement;
  • new quotas for wheat and rice to Japan, and for sugar into Japan, Canada and Mexico;
  • elimination of all tariffs on sheep meat, cotton, wool, seafood, horticulture, wine and industrial products (manufactured goods);
  • eleven separate deals – legally enforceable market access to all these countries; and
  • investment meaning strong, legally enforceable commitments on the way countries regulate foreign investment.

Toyota partners with Uber, Amazon on automated delivery vehicle concept

In the US, automotive manufacturer Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has announced the launch of a new alliance focused on developing autonomous electric vehicles for parcel delivery, ride sharing, on-the-road e-commerce and more.
The alliance already has the support of US-based e-commerce company Amazon, ride-share companies DiDi and Uber, automotive manufacturer Mazda, and restaurant chain Pizza Hut.
Together, they will reportedly collaborate on vehicle planning, application concepts and vehicle verification activities.
Akio Toyoda, President, TMC, revealed that the new e-Palette alliance will leverage Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) to develop a suite of connected mobility solutions and a flexible, purpose-built vehicle.
“The automobile industry is clearly amidst its most dramatic period of change as technologies like electrification, connected and automated driving are making significant progress,” said Toyoda. “Toyota remains committed to making ever better cars. Just as important, we are developing mobility solutions to help everyone enjoy their lives, and we are doing our part to create an ever-better society for the next 100 years and beyond.
“This announcement marks a major step forward in our evolution towards sustainable mobility, demonstrating our continued expansion beyond traditional cars and trucks to the creation of new values including services for customers.”
In the near term, the Alliance will focus on the development of the new e-Palette Concept Vehicle, also unveiled at CES by Toyoda. It is a fully automated, “next generation–battery” electric vehicle (BEV) designed to be scalable and customisable.
Toyota plans to conduct feasibility testing of the e-Palette Concept in various regions, including the US, in the early 2020s, and hopes to have the vehicle on location at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
toyota logistics concept 2

Brambles estimates $160+M tax relief from US reforms

Australian-headquartered global supply-chain logistics group Brambles has announced that is it considering the implications of US President Donald Trump’s recent tax cuts in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will have on its US business.
“Brambles’ current estimate, which is subject to further analysis and clarification of a number of items, is that there will be a one-time non-cash benefit as at 31 December 2017 to the Group’s income tax expense of between US$125m ($160 million) and US$155m ($200 million),” the company wrote in a statement.
The change reflects a reduction in the Brambles’ US net deferred tax liability due to the decrease in the US federal corporate tax rate from 35 per cent to 21 per cent.
The company noted that a number of measures in the tax reform could negatively impact Brambles, though its preliminary assessment of the total tax reform package is that any change to its effective tax rate is unlikely to be material.
“Brambles will provide an update to the market on its assessment of the impact of the USA tax law change on its deferred tax position, and any potential impact on the future effective tax rate of the Group, when it releases its first-half results on 19 February 2018,” the company added.

Trump calls for Amazon to raise delivery fees

US President Donald Trump took to Twitter over the Christmas break to call for e-commerce companies such as Amazon to raise delivery prices and pay more to the United States Post Service (USPS).
“Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer? Should be charging MUCH MORE!” Trump wrote in late December.
The US leader has previously used Twitter to slight Amazon, though according to news portal CNN, his latest assertion may be true. Unfortunately, CNN’s Lydia DePillas noted, while the USPS may not be being fully compensated for services rendered at present, this is a result of its own inner workings rather than unfair treatment by its major customer Amazon and others.

Amazon launches in-home delivery service

In early November, e-commerce company Amazon launched Amazon Key, an in-home delivery service enabling online shoppers to receive goods when not at home.
Amazon Key offers US members of Amazon’s premium Prime service free in-home delivery after installation of the Amazon Key kit, which includes the Amazon Cloud Cam to record entries and a range of lock systems.
After selecting the ‘in-home’ delivery option when shopping, Prime members can follow the order with real-time notifications, watch the delivery happening live via the Cloud Cam and later review the delivery.
“Amazon Key gives customers peace of mind knowing their orders have been safely delivered to their homes and are waiting for them when they walk through their doors,” said Peter Larsen, Vice President – Delivery Technology, Amazon. “Now, Prime members can select in-home delivery and conveniently see their packages being delivered right from their mobile phones.”
The technology doesn’t replace a key with a digital passcode, instead each time a delivery driver requests access to a customer’s home, Amazon verifies that the correct driver is at the right address, at the intended time, through an encrypted authentication process. Once this process is successfully completed, Amazon Cloud Cam starts recording and the door is then unlocked. Deliveries are also covered by Amazon’s Happiness Guarantee.
Amazon Key will also offer an option for residents keen to allow access to their property to friends and service providers when not at home.
Amazon Key has initially been made available in 37 cities across the US.

Amazon leases first Australian DCs

E-commerce behemoth Amazon has leased its first distribution centre in Australia, ahead of the rollout of its business here in the coming 12 months.
The Australian Financial Review has shared property agent CBRE has helped the online retailer decide upon a 24,387sqm warehouse on a 7.7-hectare site formerly occupied by Bunnings in Dandenong, southeast of Melbourne in Victoria.
The facility has been vacant since Bunnings moved to another Dandenong warehouse, and has been available for lease since October 2014, the AFR added.
Amazon is also rumoured to have selected its first Sydney location. ChannelNews has reported that the company is believed to have made a deal for a large fulfilment facility in Eastern Creek, at the Oakdale Industrial Estate.
The estate is owned by the Goodman Group, the same property agent that has helped Amazon set up its warehouse network across Europe and the US.
According to ChannelNews, Amazon’s Australian warehouses will be robotic and set up by US logistics fit-out specialists in the coming months.

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