inthenews

Recent News in Our Ecosystem

Online Liquidation Enjoys Fresh Growth As More Consumers Embrace Returns

January 24, 2019

If you are the gambling or adventurous type, and have a few thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket or purse, Amazon has a proposition for you.  For at least $8,913 — that was the high bid as of Thursday afternoon (Jan. 24) — you could be on your way to owning a pallet’s worth of mostly overstocked items, products that included a mystery collection of grocery and drugstore items, a “truckload” of apparel and accessories, the total of which retail for $620,611…more

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Walmart is hiring 900 truck drivers, raises salary to almost $90K

January 24, 2019

Walmart plans to hire more truck drivers and raise the salaries of drivers who already drive for the company. The company hired more than 1,400 drivers in 2018 and currently employs about 8,000 drivers. This year, Walmart plans to add 900 more drivers to its fleet. Existing drivers’ pay will be increased starting February. “A one cent per mile increase and additional pay for every arrival means that Walmart drivers will now earn on average $87,500 a year and with an all-in rate close to 89 cents per mile,” officials wrote. Drivers are also offered benefits and other perks on the first day of employment…more

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THE PRIME CHALLENGES FOR AMAZON’S NEW DELIVERY ROBOT

January 23, 2019

NO MATTER WHO you ask, the near-future of delivery seems to involve fleets of robots shuffling packages from stores, down sidewalks, and onto doorsteps. Robots will lug grocery bags from market to kitchen; they’ll begin to replace humans delivering take-out and dropping off parcels. And soon, your Amazon Prime packages may show up courtesy of Scout, Amazon’s new six-wheeled autonomous delivery robot built to withstand the sidewalk. Amazon announced on Wednesday that it will begin field testing Scout in Snohomish County, Washington, with Prime customers who request same-day, one-day, or two-day delivery…more

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Why the US Postal Service is never affected by government shutdowns

January 22, 2019

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor government shutdown can slow down the US Postal Service, as the ongoing fight between President Donald Trump and Democrats has done nothing to disrupt the flow of mail around the country.  In fact, due to the unique structure of the USPS, government shutdowns never touch the mail delivery service…more

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Teams up with Retailers Selling Online to Help Tackle High Product Return Rates

January 22, 2019

ReadyCloud CRM (https://www.ReadyCloud.com), a cross-channel ecommerce CRM software solution, is helping online retailers streamline the surge in product returns that followed the 2018 holiday season. The ReadyCloud CRM suite features ReadyReturns, which adds an “Amazon-like” returns process to the pages of virtually any web site.  As the reports on 2018 Cyber Monday statistics come in, data shows that consumers spent a whopping $8 billion in a single day this year, setting new all-time records, including new records for Amazon, which had its single biggest sales day ever. Going hand-in-hand with ecommerce purchases is buyer’s remorse, something that can result in as many as 50% of products purchased by consumers being sent back to the retailer…more

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U.S. Postal Service: The Mother of Government Shutdowns

January 21, 2019

Imagine if a one-week partial government shutdown led to plunging stock prices with calls to close the markets, panic among businesses that were not getting paid and a presidential declaration of a national emergency, including mobilizing the National Guard. This happened during a U.S. Postal Service strike in 1970.  While today’s Postal Service is less central for the economy, it is still vital for transacting and promoting business. Approximately 40 percent of Americans pay their bills by mail…more

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Postal Report Pitches Eliminating Nonprofit Price Caps

January 15, 2019

A presidential task force has recommended doing away with price caps on mail products, among a number of suggestions included in a report to put the United States Postal Service (USPS) on better financial footing.  The USPS has lost $69 billion over the past decade as mail volume and revenues continued to decline. Currently, the USPS must submit rate change requests to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). Rates hikes generally have been limited to the rate of inflation thanks to the last time postal reform was enacted in 2006 with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA)…more

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New Postal Service Business Model Creates Opportunity for Growth, Consolidation Among Private Mail Haulers

January 10, 2019

A new distribution strategy by the U.S. Postal Service is forcing fundamental changes in the way private mail contractors operate and is leading to a surge in consolidation activity. For decades, carriers were hired to haul mail over specific routes on a fixed schedule. Now the post office is awarding contracts to carriers that can provide service in a broader region and can expand or contract based on changes in mail volume. The program, known as Dynamic Route Optimization, or DRO, also introduces a new form of compensation: paying carriers on a mileage rate rather than a contract rate…more

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The surge in online-shopping returns has boosted the warehouse sector

January 4, 2019

The warehouse sector is booming as online shopping, particularly during the holiday season, boosts the amount of items returned to retailers every year. Warehouses have experienced surging demand since 2012 as e-commerce continues to grow. Construction in the sector is thriving. Now, “reverse logistics,” a fancy term for dealing with e-commerce returns, is the No. 1 new user of warehouse space in the United States, taking up to 700 million square feet nationally, according to commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE…more

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Holiday E-Commerce Returns Predicted to Reach $37 Billion

December 19, 2018

Industrial real estate experts CBRE projects that e-commerce return shipments could total as much as $37 billion this holiday season, and UPS reports that for the first time the single busiest day for returns will be Dec. 19 instead of a day in early January.  The upside should be significant for companies like UPS, which has grown a major reverse logistics capability through acquisition of third-party reverse logistics specialists and leveraging its enormous distribution network. As a result, it is well positioned to handle the demands of what it terms National Returns Day, which previously was in January…more

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Swiss National Postal Service and Telecom Leader to Build Blockchain Platform

December 7, 2018

Swiss Post and Swisscom will take advantage of their trusted reputation in Switzerland to create a blockchain platform for use by themselves and others that will be based on Hyperledger Fabric2.

Swiss Post is publicly owned and the country’s second largest employer. It already uses blockchain technology to record temperature data while transporting pharmaceuticals in the national postal network. It is also running an energy provision and billing pilot for power generating landlords to accurately charge their tenants in collaboration with Energie Wasser Bern…more

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Trump’s Postal Task Force Report Receives Tepid Response From Key Players

December 6, 2018

The Trump administration’s long-anticipated and significantly delayed task force recommendations for saving the U.S. Postal Service were more moderate that some of its sharpest critics had anticipated, but many in the mailing community wasted no time in pointing to what they saw as flaws in the report…more

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10% More Online Retailers Offer Free Returns in 2018, Report Says

December 5, 2018

eCommerce shipping has become an integral part of businesses large and small and competing in this environment means offering incentives such as free returns to ensure customer loyalty.  According to the 2018 State of Shipping report from Shippo, businesses are having to do more in order to keep up with the juggernaut that is Amazon in eCommerce. But the report reveals over 75% of retailers have identified shipping costs as their biggest challenge, which is a 7% increase from the previous year…..more

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Postal Task Force Releases Report

December 4, 2018

The U.S. Department of the Treasury today released the Task Force report on the United States Postal System. The report, United States Postal System: A Sustainable Path Forward, provides a series of recommendations to overhaul the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) business model in order to return it to sustainability without shifting additional costs to taxpayers….more

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Returns Fraud Remains a Serious Threat to Retail

November 27, 2018

Returns fraud continues to pose a serious threat to the retail industry, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). According to a recent study, 11% of retailers’ annual sales will be returned this year, and 8% of those returns are likely to be fraudulent.  And while the NRF surveyed loss prevention professionals at department stores, big-box stores, and other retailers, it seems likely that returns fraud would be at least as high if not higher for online sellers…more

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Forget Amazon: Starship Is A $10/Month Robot Postal Service Launching In San Francisco This Winter

October 31, 2018

Today in the British borough of Milton Keynes a new delivery service is launching, one that has the potential to outmaneuver Amazon in terms of convenience and efficiency.  Starship, named after the eponymous company, is a £7.99/month ($10/month) subscription service that delivers all your packages on demand using the company’s fleet of wheeled robots.  “A world’s first for on-the-ground autonomous package delivery,” is how Lex Bayer, Starship’s chief executive officer, described it to Forbes. “People will never have to worry about missing a package…more

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UPDATE 1-German regulator holds off approving any hike in letter postage

October 31, 2018

BERLIN/DUESSELDORF, Oct 31 (Reuters) – A German regulator said it was putting off a decision on any increases in the postage price of letters in Germany until at least early next year, which means Deutsche Post DHL cannot currently ask for approval to charge its customers more.  Shares in Deutsche Post fell as much as 5.3 percent to a two-year low at 27.04 euros after the news, underperforming a 1.3 percent rise by Germany’s DAX index.  “We have to take this step because Deutsche Post has not provided sufficient evidence of changes to its costs and savings as a consequence of restructuring,” Federal Networks Agency President Jochen Homann said in a statement on Wednesday. The regulator said current postage levels…more

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The World’s First Cross-border Parcel Delivery Platform Supporting Autonomous Collaborative Services

October 31, 2018

SINGAPORE, Oct. 31, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The world’s first blockchain-powered parcel network, ParcelX, registered trademark and brand under Global Parcel Network Ltd., will officially launch its service platform in beta version today. It is the world’s first and also the only cross-border functional parcel delivery platform to date that offers e-commerce and delivery service providers several autonomous collaborative services such as real-time sign-in and online interactivity.  According to data from McKinsey & Company, the Asia-Pacific region is the largest buyer of cross-border goods. Its market value is expected to grow from USD 71 billion in 2014 to USD 476 billion in 2020. China alone takes 34% of the global parcel volume. Its rising middle class, seeking high-quality and international products, is driving an explosion of e-retailers, logistics providers, and delivery brokers…more

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Hanergy’s higher endurance solar powered express delivery cars aim to “green” the industry

October 30, 2018

Hanergy Glory Solar Technology has successfully produced the latest solar powered electric express delivery cars (Solar Runner #1) to China’s top delivery companies, STO Express and ZJS Express.  Installed with 320W of the world’s most-efficient flexible and light-weighted thin-film solar module, and low-temperature resistant lithium battery compatible with thin-film solar, Solar Runner #1 can increase the efficiency of delivery companies by saving the cost and trouble of centralized charging, extending mileage by 50% and charging the battery with solar even under cold weathers.  Lu Tao, CEO of Hanergy Glory Solar Technology said, “We’re on a mission to improve China’s express delivery industry by bringing to an effective use our advanced thin film power technology. We’re committed to design innovative solar express delivery car solution that is cordless charging via solar power. We hope our contribution is directed towards creating a true green express delivery industry.”  “In the future, we hope to bring more mobile energy solutions to various…more

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Will Amazon pay more from the USPS parcel price increase?

October 30, 2018

USPS is proposing an increase to parcel rates, but will Amazon have to pay? Will there be more pressure to deliver a better customer experience? Ian Kerr (Postal Hub Podcast) and Marek Różycki (Last Mile Experts) discuss the rate rises.  Last week, we wrote about USPS’s planned letter rate increase. Let’s now look at the proposed increases to parcel rates.  While letter price increases are based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), parcel pricing is primarily adjusted according to market conditions.  USPS will maximize its margin opportunity in 2019 by closing its price gap with competitors while continuing to maintain its lowest-cost provider position, according to John Callan from Ursa Major Associates.  “No other service provider can offer system-wide residential delivery at a lower cost than USPS, and yet there is room to increase prices selectively to competitive advantage,” said Callan…more

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The Supply Side: Retail returns a $380 billion industry challenge

October 30, 2018

Retail returns remain a challenge for even the largest retailers like Walmart and Amazon. A recent report from Optoro, a Washington, D.C.-based provider of returns optimization software, found the impact on American brands and retailers is growing each year, with consumers returning about $380 billion in merchandise annually.  The growth of e-commerce is a big factor in rising return rates, which can be as high as 30% for large and small companies. Optoro notes companies specializing in apparel and accessories can have return rates as high as 40%. With more liberal return policies from retailers like Amazon, Zappos and Walmart, customers are more likely to shop online for items like clothing and shoes, knowing the return process is simple and often times free…more

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FarEye launches On-Demand for real-time logistics visibility in GCC

October 30, 2018

FarEye has designed an end-to-end platform to run distribution logistics and optimize goods movement.  FarEye, a global predictive logistics platform, is eyeing the distribution logistics industry in the Middle East with its technology solution that provides real-time visibility of the goods in the supply chain.  FarEye has designed an end-to-end platform to run distribution logistics and optimize goods movement.  FarEye’s On-Demand solution ensures that every received order gets…more

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Executives from Awok, Quiqup and Fetchr to talk last mile disruption at Leaders in Logistics

October 30, 2018

At Leaders in Logistics 2019, executives from Awok.com, the technology-driven fetchr and last mile disruptor Quiqup will discuss the entry to the region of e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and how this has resulted in increased consumer expectations for fast, free delivery.  The tremendous growth of the e-commerce market has resulted in a corresponding increase in direct-to-consumer deliveries over the last few years, putting strain on e-com platforms to manage last mile fulfilment affordably.  At Leaders in Logistics 2019, executives from Awok.com, the technology-driven fetchr and last mile disruptor Quiqup will discuss the entry to the region of e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and how…more

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Leaving the Universal Postal Union is the wrong move for the United States

October 29, 2018

The Oct. 29 editorial “We’ve got mail” agreed with the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Universal Postal Union but failed to consider the wider implications, which go well beyond terminal dues. The UPU sets standards for the global postal network, including for operations, automated payment systems, containerization and dangerous goods. As the UPU director general noted, the United States would lose access to global processing systems that make international mail possible. As an association that represents primarily U.S.-based outbound shippers, we have members who are concerned that export prices will increase. And uncertainty around rates and operational changes dampens exports because businesses don’t know what to plan for.  Finally, withdrawing from the UPU could prove harmful…more

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Coalition: USPS Needs ‘Breathing Room’ to Pursue Long-Term Reform

October 29, 2018

The unofficial motto of the U.S. Postal Service declares that it won’t be defeated by snow, rain, heat or gloom of night. Now, though, the organization faces a looming crisis that poses a far greater challenge to its survival than any natural phenomenon.  The danger is financial ruin, and the culprit is a law passed by Congress 12 years ago that seemed, to some at least, like a good idea at the time.  The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act required the Postal Service to prefund retiree health benefits for an unprecedented period of 75 years, to the tune of $5.5bn for the first decade, and between $2bn and $3bn for the remainder of the period. Thanks to congressional action taken three years earlier, the agency had built up an annual surplus of around $3bn, arising from civil service pension overpayments. The idea was to devote that money to prefunding the health benefits of potential retirees so that taxpayers wouldn’t be stuck with paying for future shortfalls.  All well and good, until the Great Recession hit in 2007, sending the Postal Service…more

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Pitney Bowes Chooses Deliv to Power Same Day Delivery for U.S. Businesses

October 29, 2018

MENLO PARK, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct 29, 2018–Deliv, a leader in same day delivery today announced that it has partnered with Pitney Bowes, Inc. (NYSE: PBI), a global technology company that provides commerce solutions in the areas of ecommerce, shipping, mailing, and data. Deliv is best known for powering same day delivery for thousands of retailers across the country. With integration into Pitney Bowes’ SendPro C-Series, Deliv is aggressively broadening its service footprint and is now embedded in thousands of small businesses in the U.S.  With increasing competition and ever-growing customer expectations…more

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UPS tests tricycles with extra oomph in Seattle

October 29, 2018

Curb space is at a premium in Seattle.  With the rise of e-commerce deliveries, on-demand food services and ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft, more vehicles are competing for limited parking spots and loading zones.  In an attempt to get around this problem — and growing traffic congestion — United Parcel Service has unveiled a new delivery method that uses electric-assisted tricycles to make deliveries in the Pike Place Market area on a one-year trial basis. The cargo trikes, which feature trailers with detachable containers, can hold up to 400 pounds and have 95 cubic feet of space.  Riders can reach speeds up to 20 mph, as…more

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Happy Returns Announces Full Stack Returns, The First Comprehensive Return Solution for Online Retailers

October 26, 2018

SANTA MONICA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct 26, 2018–Happy Returns today announced the general availability of Full Stack Returns, the first comprehensive return solution for online retailers. The solution includes the following components that together enable retailers to provide their customers a best-in-class post-purchase experience while reducing costs and maximizing revenue recaptured via exchanges:  Online Return & Exchange Flow – A retailer-branded online return flow that proactively recommends exchanges to shoppers based on the items being returned, the reason for the return, and availability of similar inventory. In-Person Returns & Exchanges at Return Bars – Accepting returns and offering exchanges at Happy Returns’ network…more

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How Walmart and Target Plan to Take on Amazon This Black Friday

October 26, 2018

Both Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT) showed strong growth in online sales in the second quarter. Walmart’s e-commerce sales increased 40% year over year, and Target grew digital sales 41%.  But the two still face a considerable challenge during the holiday shopping season from Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). Amazon has established itself as the first place most people search for products online thanks in large part to its Prime program, which offers unlimited two-day shipping.  Both Walmart and Target see fast and free shipping as a key way to differentiate themselves from other retailers when consumers are considering where to do their online holiday shopping. Here’s how each expects to compete this year…more

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Roadie emerging as a major solution to your last-mile delivery

October 26, 2018

It all began when a humble remodeling project stalled out. Marc Gorlin had ordered tile from a manufacturer, but it was smashed to bits when it reached his doorstep. There was a warehouse a few hours away that had a couple boxes of tile, but he had no practical way of getting the tile that day except for making the five-hour round-trip drive himself.  “I knew there had to be someone already making that trip who would be more than willing to throw my tile in his or her trunk for $20. From that problem, Roadie was born,” he tells FreightWaves.  Part of the power of crowdsourced tech is the elegance of the solution. Who doesn’t wish they’d invented the relatively “simple” idea of Airbnb or Uber? In the hyper-competitive age of online commerce, and the retail apocalypse, retailers from all over are struggling to meet high consumer expectations: free same-day and next-day delivery…more

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Package Investigation Puts Spotlight On Postal Service Screening

October 25, 2018

As the hunt intensifies to try to find who sent at least 10 potentially explosive devices to Democrats and critics of President Trump around the country, a second important question lingers: how exactly were the dangerous packages sent?  The FBI and the investigative arm of the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, both declined Thursday to confirm to NPR how the packages reached the destinations at which they were intercepted.  But a look at where they were intercepted indicates at least seven of the 10 were handled by the Postal Service. For instance, two of the package…more

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Amazon’s Q3 profit soars on growth in cloud computing and seller sales

October 25, 2018

Amazon’s own product sales only grew by 10% during the third quarter as other sellers accounted for 53% of unit sales on Amazon sites. But its Amazon Web Services cloud computing unit increased its revenue by 45% and contributed 72% of the e-retailer’s a record $2.88 billion in profit.   Amazon.com Inc. is not selling that much more of its own merchandise, but it’s making a lot of money from the growing sales by other merchants on its marketplaces and especially from its highly profitable Amazon Web Services cloud computing unit.  Amazon reported Thursday a record $2.883 billion in net income…more

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Send Word: Trump Is Right to Fight Some Global Rules

October 25, 2018

Last week, the Trump administration announced it was quitting the global treaty that governs mail delivery, calling it unfair to the U.S. Another episode of Trump vs. the World? Yes, but in this case probably justified—and therein lies a lesson.  President Trump’s frequent threats to tear up the pacts governing U.S. relations with the world are often met with a full-throated defense of the global rules-based order. Yet many of the pacts that make up that order have features that disadvantage the U.S., sometimes for reasons that have become obsolete…more

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eCommerce Fulfillment and Delivery: TForce and Advatix Join Hands to Help Companies Scale-up

October 25, 2018

TForce and Advatix have joined forces to help eCommerce companies expand their fulfillment and logistics operations. TForce is the largest last mile delivery company in the U.S., whereas Advatix is a fast-growing eCommerce Operations Consulting and Technology firm.  Advatix Inc. has helped several eCommerce companies transform their fulfillment and logistics operations at a rapid pace, reducing labor and logistics cost and speeding up growth. Manish Kapoor, founder and CEO of Advatix, explained about his team’s mission to help eCommerce companies and Omni-channel Retailers thrive, “Successful eCommerce operations are very different from the traditional ones. If not done right, labor and logistics costs climb up and service suffers. Companies that want to stay ahead of the curve are not afraid to ask for help. That is where our expert team comes in.”…more

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Trump signs bill to confront opioid crisis

October 25, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump pledged Wednesday to put an “extremely big dent” in the scourge of drug addiction in America as he signed legislation intended to help tackle the opioid crisis, the deadliest epidemic of overdoses in the country’s history.  Nearly 48,000 people died last year from overdoses involving opioids. Overall, U.S. drug overdose deaths have started to level off, but Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says it’s too soon to declare victory…more

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Canada: Postal union launches rotating walkout campaign

October 23, 2018

Canada Post letter carriers, workers at postal sorting stations, mail truck drivers and postal clerks walked off the job for 24 hours in four Canadian cities Monday—Halifax, Nova Scotia; Windsor, Ontario; Edmonton, Alberta; and Victoria, British Columbia.  The leadership of the 50,000-member Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) says it will call similar city-wide or regional one-day walkouts until a tentative contract settlement is reached with Canada Post, a government-owned, for-profit enterprise…more

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Walmart adding millions more items to two-day shipping program

October 22, 2018

Walmart’s two-day deliveries inventory is about to get a lot bigger.  The world’s largest retailer said Monday it’s adding millions more items to Walmart.com’s two-day shipping program starting next month, just ahead of the holiday shopping season. Walmart’s website offers over 75 million products, with millions of them already available for free two-day shipping, so long as a customer spends at least $35.  Walmart was able to significantly expand its two-day shipping program with the help of third-party merchants who list their items on Walmart.com…more

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The Logistics of Drones and the Future of Transport

October 22, 2018

The drone logistics and transportation market is projected to grow from USD 11.20 billion in 2022 to USD 29.06 billion by 2027. This continued growth signals a healthy market for an industry that has worked hard to find the balance between humans and technology while creating new jobs in various commercial applications such as monitoring, surveying & mapping, precision agriculture, aerial remote sensing, and product delivery. Whereas the future looks bright for the industry as a whole, it’s important to discuss the ramifications of what this technology means for the people working alongside of it.…more

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Samsung SDS and ABN AMRO to trial blockchain in shipping logistics

October 22, 2018

Samsung SDS and ABN AMRO will collaborate on a trial project that applies blockchain to shipping logistics, the companies have announced.  The South Korean IT services firm and Netherlands bank will connect their blockchain platforms Nexledger and Corda, respectively, with the project expected to be completed in February next year.  The collaboration aims to apply blockchain into goods departing from Asia that arrive in the port of Rotterdam.  The goal is to reduce transaction times for imports and exports, share related documents, and prevent fraud…more

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With Its Latest Move, JD.com Borrows a Page From Amazon’s Playbook

October 22, 2018

2018 has been a year to forget for JD.com (NASDAQ:JD). Shares of the Chinese e-commerce specialist have fallen 44% — the company has consistently missed earnings due to increased investments in its delivery network, and a scandal surrounding the arrest of CEO Richard Liu made the stock sink further in September.  However, there seems to be some good news on the horizon for the beaten-down stock. JD is beginning to unlock the value of its delivery infrastructure by opening its delivery network to packages shipped by businesses and consumers. The service will begin in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, and will eventually cover all of mainland China.  JD’s delivery network, which had 521 warehouses as of June 30, already reaches 99% of the population and can deliver more than 90% of orders in one day or less…more

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Ryder rolls out last-mile expansion plans

October 22, 2018

Freight transportation and logistics services provider Ryder System Inc. recently announced it has expanded its Ryder Last Mile service.  Ryder describes this service as a home delivery and white glove installation offering for big and bulky goods in 11 North American markets.  Through this expansion, Ryder is upping the square footage at its last-mile fulfillment facilities in Toronto, Atlanta, Ga., and Lathrop, Calif., with the expansion also including partnerships in eight “strategically located U.S. cities. What’s more, Ryder said that the company’s e-fulfillment network is now comprised of 136 facilities that cover 95% of the U.S. and Canada within a two-day window. And the company also noted that this expansion augments Ryder’s standing at the second-largest last-mile provider of big and bulky good…more

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Higher postal fees will cost Amazon more than $1 billion in 2019, estimates Credit Suisse

October 22, 2018

The proposed uptick in shipping and mailing fees at the U.S. Postal Service could cost Amazon more than $1 billion in 2019, according to Credit Suisse, which cut its near-term estimates for operating profit on the e-commerce behemoth.  “As we roll forward the sensitivity analysis to 2019, we arrive at a potential incremental Shipping Expense range of $400 million to $1.1 billion range with the assumption that 40 percent to 50 percent of U.S. packages are shipped via the Postal Service,” analyst Stephen Ju wrote Monday…more

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Holiday Shopping 2018 to Hit $134 Billion; Amazon’s Conversion Rates 3-5 Times Higher Than Walmart, Macy’s, Target, eBay

October 19, 2018

Last year Amazon achieved holiday shopping conversion rates of 5.6% on mobile and 17.8% on desktop, massively outperforming rivals such as Walmart, Target, eBay, and others.  This year, the company appears poised to do it again.  The holiday Thanksgiving weekend is one of the biggest shopping events of the year, and Amazon leads all retailers in both mobile and desktop shopping, according to a new report from Lotame and Jumpshot. Retail searches jumped 182% after Halloween, according to the companies, and that led to a 75% increase in traffic to deal sites and other retail outlets.  But conversion is where it’s at, and there Amazon excels, peaking two weeks before Christmas, with these conversion rates…more

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Retailers set to ban “serial returners,” survey finds

October 19, 2018

Following Amazon’s lead—and as a way to curb the high costs associated with reverse logistics processes—two-thirds of retailers say they would stop doing business with problem shoppers, ERP provider says.  Nearly two-thirds of U.S. retailers say they are considering banning shoppers who deliberately and regularly buy multiple items with the intent to return some, according to a survey released today by enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform provider Brightpearl. The news comes as retailers prepare for the holiday peak shopping season and as many report an uptick in so-called “serial returners” over the last 12 months…more

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Return to sender: International postal union warns of fallout if US leaves

October 19, 2018

GENEVA — No international letters, no international packages: A top official with a 192-country postal union says that’s what Americans can expect if the Trump administration goes through with plans to pull out of an international postal treaty over concerns about China.  Pascal Clivaz, deputy director-general of the Switzerland-based Universal Postal Union, says the agency reached out quickly to U.S. officials after receiving a letter from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week announcing Washington’s plan to pull out of the union in a year if the treaty isn’t renegotiated. The U.S. says it’s willing to renegotiate. But the threat is the latest sign of U.S. President Donald Trump’s go-it-alone approach to many issues, from the environment to trade to the Iran nuclear deal…more

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Trump exits pact offering cheap foreign postal deliveries

October 19, 2018

The Trump administration will begin withdrawing from a United Nations pact that offered low rates for foreign postal deliveries of small packages in the United States, the latest move to challenge practices it sees as unfairly advantageous to China.  White House officials said on Wednesday that the US would start the process of leaving the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a Switzerland-based organization that connects postal services worldwide.  The White House said the UPU enables foreign postal services to take advantage of cheap shipments to the US, creating an unfair cost advantage over US companies that ship goods, and hurting the US Postal Service…more

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USPS Realized Just 5 Percent of Projected Savings From Slowing Mail Delivery

October 18, 2018

The U.S. Postal Service realized just 5 percent of the savings it projected over a two-year period from a controversial decision to slow mail delivery to enable facility closures, according to a new audit.  Postal management told its regulatory body it would save $1.6 billion in fiscal years 2016 and 2017 by eliminating overnight delivery of regular, first-class mail and pushing back some of its two-day delivery to a three-day window, but the mailing agency’s inspector general found it did not even come close to reaching that estimate. USPS instead saw about $90 million in savings, about one-twentieth of its estimate…more

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Amazon Primes Recycling Pump, Betting Market Will Bounce Back (Corrected)

October 16, 2018

Amazon will invest $10 million in Closed Loop Partners, a $100 million fund focusing specifically on municipal recycling programs and technologies aimed at eliminating packaging waste.  “Amazon’s sheer size, reach, and growth projections represent a big statement about the future of how things will be manufactured, and really the future of the circular economy,” said Ron Gonen, CEO of Closed Loop Partners.  Amazon joins other large retail and consumer goods investors including 3M, Coca Cola Co., Procter & Gamble Co., and Unilever.  The move comes amid a prolonged price slump for recycled materials, prompted by China’s import ban of 24 types of waste and stricter 0.5 percent contamination standard for mixed paper—both of which went into effect earlier this year…more

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Controversial postal network reform takes shape

October 15, 2018

Swiss Post says it is moving ahead with its reform of the nationwide network of subsidiaries in an effort to reduce its deficit.  The companyexternal link said it been able to cut the number of postal offices to 1,114 from 1,400 over the past two years. Chief executive Thomas Baur said he was confident that the number could be reduced to about 800 by 2020.  Instead, Swiss Post plans to create an additional 300 so-called ‘access points’ over the next few years. In total there will be 4,200 service counters.  Officials said they are aware that the closure of postal offices is a sensitive issue, notably in rural areas of the country, but the reform was needed to cut financial losses.  However, the trade union Syndicom has criticised the restructuring plans as inacceptable, accusing the state-owned company of undermining the public service…more

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Department of Commerce and NRF data show slowing September retail sales

October 15, 2018

United States retail sales for the month of September posted slight sequential gains, the annual gains coming in higher, according to data issued today by the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF).  Commerce reported that September retail sales, at $509.0 billion, were up 0.1% compared to August and posted a 4.7% annual gain. And it said that total retail sales from July through August saw a 5.9% annual gain.  September retail trade sales headed up 4.4% annually, with gasoline stations up 11.4%, and non-store retailers, which include e-commerce sales, rose 11.4%…more

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U.S. Postal Service Proposes Significant Parcel Rate Hike

October 12, 2018

The U.S. Postal Service has proposed a 9 percent to 12 percent increase in fees for its parcel select service, which is used by Amazon.com and many other retailers, as well as United Parcel Service and FedEx. The service is the last and typically most expensive step in the shipping process that gets packages to customers’ doorsteps. The USPS is proposing a 9.3 percent increase on this service for packages weighing over one pound and a 12.3 percent increase on lighter packages. These changes, if approved by regulators, will go into effect on Jan. 27, 2019…more

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Global Reverse Logistics Market 2018 Key Players: H. Robinson, DB Schenker, The Deutsche Post, FedEx, United Parcel Service (UPS)

October 11, 2018

Reverse Logistics Market:  WiseGuyReports.com adds “Reverse Logistics Market 2018 Global Analysis, Growth, Trends and Opportunities Research Report Forecasting 2025” reports tits database.  Executive Summary  Reverse logistics is the process of moving goods from final destination and receiving returned products/ materials for proper disposal. Reverse logistics comprises of activities, which includes remanufacturing, redesigning, and refurbishing.  Reverse logistics is associated with the reuse of products/merchandise. It includes the process of planning, implementing, and controlling the cost-effective, efficient flow of raw materials, inventory, final goods, or reducing the energy and pollution from transportation. Reverse logistics strategy is gaining friction point in the supply chain management owing to the rise in mobile and online commerce…more

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New innovations highlight their potential at POST-EXPO 2018

October 10, 2018

Up-and-coming companies and those launching new products have taken the opportunity to showcase their offering to over 3,500 visitors from more than 100 countries at this year’s POST-EXPO…more

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US Mail Is #NotForSale: Postal Workers Nationwide Stand Together Against Trump’s Privatization Plan

October 9, 2018

As the United States Postal Service (USPS) closed on Monday for a national holiday celebrated by many municipalities as Indigenous Peoples Day, workers across the country held a day of action to protest President Donald Trump’s proposal to privatize the postal service.  Under the proposal—unveiled in June as part of a 32-point plan (pdf) to significantly reorganize the federal government—USPS would “transition to a model of private management and private or shared ownership.” The White House argued that “freeing USPS to more fully negotiate pay and benefits rather than prescribing participation in costly federal personnel benefit programs, and allowing it to follow private sector practices in compensation and labor relations, could further reduce costs.”…more

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POST-EXPO 2018 opens!

October 9, 2018

POST-EXPO 2018, the world’s leading postal, parcel and courier industry exhibition, opened its doors in Hamburg, Germany, today, for what promises to be the most exciting show yet.  More than 3,500 visitors from 100 different countries are expected to visit POST-EXPO 2018 over the next three days. The key industry event this year boasts more than 160 exhibitors and expert speakers from around the world, who are showcasing and discussing the latest and greatest technical innovations for the postal and parcel sectors…more

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An e-commerce pitfall: never-ending returns

October 8, 2018

With the limitless selection and convenience that e-commerce offers consumers, online retailers are selling more and more goods. But they are also taking a lot back.  What’s going on: Some of the biggest e-commerce businesses report staggering sales numbers — but huge pieces of that revenue often get erased in refunds to customers and shipping costs for returns…more

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The Supply Side: Blockchain implications on reverse logistics

October 8, 2018

As online retail continues to grow so does the need for better reverse logistics to handle customer returns. A recent report from Cerasis found the costs of reverse logistics exceed $750 billion per year, with up to 30% of all products ordered online being returned.  The return process varies widely across retailers, but overall product returns are burdensome to consumers who are forced to pay the shipping costs, or for the retailer who is picking up the charges, only to then try and charge the supplier.  The report from Cerasis, a transportation and logistics firm, looks at how applying blockchain technology to reverse logistics might reduce costs and better streamline the customer experience…more

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Report: Shipping options influence Gen Z consumers

October 3, 2018

E-commerce retailers risk losing Gen Z customers by not providing sufficient shipping options, according to a new report from Neopost Shipping.  Sixty per cent of survey respondents in the Gen Z demographic said they would close a shopping cart if shipping costs were too high, and 29 per cent said they would do so because of inconvenient or slow shipping.  “There is a clear opportunity for businesses who are looking to capture the savvy Gen Z customer to meet these needs and ensure they aren’t missing out on a large chunk of their target market,” Neopost Shipping senior vice president of Americas Matthew Mullen said…more

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Thiel-Backed Startup to Sell 5,000 Warehouse Robots to XPO  

October 3, 2018

XPO Logistics Inc. will buy 5,000 warehouse robots from a Singapore startup backed by billionaire Peter Thiel as part of a deal that makes XPO the only logistics provider to use the technology in North America, the U.K. and eight other European countries.  The GreyOrange Pte. robots — flattish, rectangular units that move about the floor much like an extra-large Roomba vacuum cleaner — can roll under storage racks weighing as much as 3,500 pounds (1,600 kilograms), lift them and carry them to warehouse workers who pull off items to be shipped. Butler, as the robot is called, helps workers minimize walk time and manual errors, said XPO, the logistics company founded by billionaire Bradley Jacobs…more

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Blockchain could be a $7 billion market and a major boost to Amazon, Microsoft, Bank of America says  

October 2, 2018

Blockchain adoption will eventually be a multi billion-dollar opportunity for tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft, according to new estimates from Bank of America.  Based on the analysis, the entire total addressable market for blockchain will eventually hit $7 billion, though the analysts did not “attempt to put a time stamp” on it, as the technology is not yet widely adopted.  The potential beneficiaries could marry blockchain with existing cloud computing operations and improve supply chain operations, according to Bank of America research analyst Kash Rangan.  “Amazon will benefit from incremental cloud services demand from Blockchain implementation, while improved supply chain tracking should make Amazon’s retail operations more efficient,” Rangan said in a note to clients Tuesday. The estimates assume that 2 percent of servers will be used to run blockchain, at $5,500 per server, per year…more

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Congress must step up to save the US Postal Service as we know it

October 2, 2018

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night keeps the U.S. Postal Service from delivering the mail, but if Congress doesn’t act soon, financial insolvency just might.  President Trump’s focus on the postal system and the rates it charges packagers attracted national media attention – and kicked off a presidential task force charged with coming up with recommendations for putting the Postal Service on firmer financial footing.  But then the national spotlight dimmed.  The presidential task force report (originally due in August) has been delayed, reportedly until after the mid-term elections. Yet the fiscal plight of the U.S. Postal Service continues to fester…more

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