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This Week in Logistics News (July 15 – 21)

Seven years ago, I wrote that Cyberdyne Systems’ Skynet division was working on teleportation capabilities that will eliminate the need to wait for products to ship entirely. While still in the early stages of development, the emerging technology will instantly transport an item once it is picked at a warehouse or store to your living room. According to Dr. Myles Dyson, Chief Scientist at Cyberdyne, the technology will be live by late 2017, or “Judgement Day” as they have named the project timeline. This of course was an April Fool’s Day intro referencing Terminator 2. However, the largest supercomputer in the world for AI training has just been unveiled. But here’s the kicker: there are eight more on the way. By next year, we will be looking at an interconnected galaxy of supercomputers that promises to revolutionize the AI landscape. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that Judgement Day is coming. And now on to this week’s logistics news.

UPS pilots will walk out if UPS Teamsters strike
Nestle adding sustainability attribute to DiGiorno brand
Women making strides in transportation, supply chain
Canadian west coast port strike back on – and then off, for now
Tesla has built ‘first Cybertruck’ at Giga Texas
Chip companies, top US officials discuss China policy
Amazon says its carbon emissions fell for the first time last year

UPS has announced that it has begun “business continuity” training to prepare nonunion employees to handle packages in the event a Teamsters union strike disrupts operations. “Over the coming weeks, many of our U.S. employees will participate in training that would help them safely serve our customers if there is a labor disruption. This “temporary plan’ has no effect on current operations,” UPS said. The training is “aligned with our ongoing commitment to safety and business continuity,” the company said. UPS has been preparing contingencies for some time. As far back as last year, it directed managers not to schedule paid time off during July and August 2023, periods when they could be pressed into service to move parcels if there was a strike. As of the end of the first quarter, UPS moved about 18.6 million parcels each day in the U.S. It is estimated that management contingency efforts could move about 4 million of those parcels. The balance would be subject to possible diversion to competitors. The two sides are less than two weeks shy of the July 31 date when the current five-year contract expires. The Teamsters have warned they will strike August 1 if a contract isn’t agreed to and ratified by the 340,000 rank-and-file members.

Nestle USA, a business unit of Nestle SA, is investing in regenerative agriculture practices across its DiGiorno supply chain to reduce the company’s overall carbon footprint. Nearly two thirds of the company’s carbon emissions come from ingredient sourcing, which is largely based in agricultural practices, according to the company. The investment will impact over 100,000 acres of wheat-producing farmland, which is nearly double the amount of acreage used to grow the wheat sourced for DiGiorno products. Nestle has partnerships with ADM and Ardent Mills, the two primary wheat flour suppliers for DiGiorno products, to support wheat farms in Kansas, Missouri, North Dakota and Indiana. The initiative supports Nestle’s plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, starting with the goal of sourcing 20 percent of ingredients from regenerative farmland by 2025 and 50 percent of ingredients from the same by 2030.

Women make up 12 percent of commercial drivers nationwide, according to the 2023 Women in Trucking Index, released this month. The annual report from the non-profit group Women in Trucking measures the percentage of women represented in roles across the transportation industry, including corporate management, boards of directors, management and supervisory roles, as well as operations, technicians, human resources/talent management, safety, and professional drivers. According to WIT, the number of women drivers has been growing in recent years, in line with overall industry demand to recruit more drivers to the field. “Women generally possess strong multi-tasking and [organizational] skills, and typically are safe drivers,” WIT wrote in a statement announcing the 2023 survey results. “For these reasons, along with the need for more professional truck drivers, there has been a significant increase in the number of female drivers for the past five years.” The 2023 survey also found that nearly 44% of dispatchers are women, indicating the important role women are playing across the industry, WIT said. Other statistics from this year’s survey include: About 32 percent of women are in C-Suite or executive positions; 37 percent are in supervisory leadership roles; and 28 percent serve on boards of directors.

The renewed strike at 30 Canadian ports has been called off, for now, after a see-saw of work and walk-outs. The past 36 hours have been a rollercoaster for anybody involved with cargo flowing through the ports in British Columbia, with the strike by longshoremen flipping between resumption and being called off. As of Wednesday afternoon, it is off, within hours of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) calling it on. It is unclear though, how the situation will evolve. The federal government has signaled that it wants to end the stand-off and is examining its options. The prime minister’s office convened a meeting of its crisis cabinet committee to discuss the situation. Port workers returned to the picket line on Tuesday afternoon, after ILWU members rejected a deal, brokered by a federal mediator, tentatively accepted last Thursday by the union and the British Columbia Marine Employers Association (BCMEA).

Tesla announced that it has built the “first Cybertruck” at Gigafactory Texas. So does that mean that the electric pickup truck is actually ahead of schedule? Tesla’s latest official comment on the timeline for the Cybertruck was that production would start “this summer” and is planning a delivery event “around the end of Q3,” which would mean around the end of September 2023. Electrek recently reported that Tesla told suppliers to be ready for Cybertruck release candidates in late August and production in early October. Now Tesla has announced on Twitter that the “first Cybertruck” has been “built” at Gigafactory Texas. As for the specs and pricing, Tesla hasn’t updated those since the launch of the prototype in 2019. Elon Musk has linked an update on that only at the delivery event, which means deliveries will likely be only for employees and Tesla insiders.

U.S. chip company executives met with top Biden administration officials on Monday to discuss China policy, the State Department and sources said, as the most powerful semiconductor lobby group urged a halt to more curbs under consideration. Secretary of State Antony Blinken talked with chip company chief executives about the industry and supply chains after his recent trip to China, a department spokesperson told reporters. The chip industry is keen to protect its profits in China as the Biden administration considers another round of restrictions on chip exports to China. Last year, China accounted for $180 billion in semiconductor purchases, more than a third the worldwide total of $555.9 billion and the largest single market, according to Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). Discussions with government officials also included speeding up disbursement of government money put aside for semiconductor firms in the CHIPS Act and making sure U.S. policy does not shut the chip firms out of the lucrative Chinese market.

Amazon’s carbon emissions ticked lower for the first time since the company began reporting the figure, thanks to increased purchases of renewable electricity and a big slowdown in the retailer’s sales growth. The Seattle-based giant emitted 71.27 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2022, down 0.4 percent from the previous year, Amazon said in its annual sustainability report, published on Tuesday. The company achieved the improvement by using more solar and wind to power its operations and benefited from a decrease in emissions from construction and third-party transportation. Amazon in recent years has been the biggest corporate buyer of renewable electricity, using power purchase agreements to fund development of new solar and wind farms across the globe. Emissions related to electricity purchases fell 29 percent last year.  The company has pledged to wipe out or offset its contribution to the greenhouse gas emissions warming the planet by 2040 and invited other companies making similar commitments to join what it calls the Climate Pledge. Emissions are up by about 40% since Amazon set the target in 2019, fueled in part by supercharged sales during the pandemic.

That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend, and the song of the week, You Could Be Mine by Guns n’ Roses.

The post This Week in Logistics News (July 15 – 21) appeared first on Logistics Viewpoints.

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