Tag Archives: logistics

Whole Foods stock rockets 28% on $13.7 billion Amazon takeover deal

Shares of Whole Foods Market rocketed 28 percent on Friday after Amazon said it plans to acquire the grocery store chain for $42 a share, in a deal valued at $13.7 billion.

Amazon’s offer represents a 27 percent premium to Whole Foods’ closing price on Thursday. With Whole Foods shares trading around Amazon’s offer price, investors appear to be speculating that another suitor could make a play for the grocery chain.

Whole Foods has been under pressure from activist investor Jana Partners and money manager Neuberger Berman, which have called on Whole Foods to sell itself. The investors have criticized Whole Foods for its poor performance, and have suggested the chain could be merged with another grocer.

“This partnership presents an opportunity to maximize value for Whole Foods Market’s shareholders, while at the same time extending our mission and bringing the highest quality, experience, convenience and innovation to our customers,” John Mackey, Whole Foods’ CEO, said in a statement.

Mackey will remain CEO of the grocery store chain after the deal closes, and the store will continue to operate under the Whole Foods brand.

Amazon has long been pushing to expand its online grocery business, seeing it as an emerging opportunity. Currently, very few people purchase their groceries online even as more shoppers switch to buying other goods that way.

Some analysts had seen Wal-Mart being best positioned to compete in the next phase of growth in online shopping because it was going to be able to use its vast footprint of stores to help distribute products ordered online. Also, Wal-Mart has been successful with its so-called click-and-collect model, where shoppers order online but stop by the store to pickup their orders.

Meanwhile, Whole Foods has been seen as a laggard in the online shift. Their stores tend to be in urban markets where there was an overlap with Amazon Fresh and Prime Now.

News that the e-commerce giants buying grocery store Whole Foods sent grocery stocks reeling on Friday.

Kroger sank nearly 16 percent before the bell. Supervalu dropped 11.5 percent while Costco dropped 6.5 percent. Sprouts Farmers sank 9.2 percent.

“This is an earthquake rattling through the grocery sector as well as the retail world,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, told CNBC in an email. “We can only imagine the technological innovation that Amazon will bring to the purchasing experience for the consumer. Now, we can see in hindsight that its recent dithering around the brick-and-mortar experience, as an experiment, was only a rumbling of the seismic event in the offing.”

Shares of Amazon were up about 3 percent following the news. The deal is expected to close in the second half year.

Jana Partners did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Story by Sarah Whitten at Cnbc.com

Wal-Mart Asks Employees to Deliver Packages on Their Way Home

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is testing a program that sends store employees to deliver online orders at the end of their shifts, a new push by the world’s biggest retailer to use its large physical footprint to match Amazon.com Inc.’s convenient options for web purchases.

Workers can opt in to earn extra money by making deliveries using their own cars. They’re assigned packages based on where they live so the route aligns with their commute home, the company said June 1 in a blog post. Wal-Mart didn’t specify how the employees will be compensated. The test began at three locations in Arkansas and New Jersey.

Wal-Mart ranks No. 3 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America.

Wal-Mart is tapping into its 4,700 U.S. stores and more than a million retail employees as it seeks to redefine itself in an age of e-commerce dominated by Amazon, which offers delivery of some products in as little as an hour in some cities. Online spending will increase by 16% this year — more than four times the pace of overall retail — to reach $462 billion, according to EMarketer Inc.

About 90% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Wal-Mart, and the company is using those locations as shipping hubs to compete with Amazon on the last mile of delivery — the most expensive part of getting goods to customers. By using existing workers in their own cars, Wal-Mart could create a vast network with little upfront cost, similar to how Uber Technologies Inc. created a ride-hailing service without owning any cars.

“Imagine all the routes our associates drive to and from work and the houses they pass along the way,” said Marc Lore, who took over Wal-Mart’s e-commerce operation last year after the retailer purchased his startup, Jet.com, for $3.3 billion. “This test could be a game-changer.”

Many online orders in tests have been delivered overnight using store employees, Lore said, showing how the initiative could also be used to narrow delivery times.

The lines between internet and brick-and-mortar commerce are blurring as retailers — including Amazon — try to accommodate a variety of shopping preferences. Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart offers free two-day delivery on millions of items to compete with Amazon’s standard delivery time. It also lets customers buy groceries online and pick them up at stores and offers discounts to online shoppers who pick up items at stores rather than having them delivered.

Amazon, meanwhile, has stepped up its experimentation with physical locations. It’s slowly opening physical bookstores in big cities around the U.S., which double as showrooms for Amazon gadgets such as its Kindle readers and Echo voice-activated speakers. The company opened two drive-in grocery pickup kiosks in its hometown of Seattle earlier this month, its first attempt to match the click-and-collect options rolled out by Wal-Mart and other big-box competitors.

By Spencer Soper @ Bloomberg News in association with Transport Topics

Will Autonomous Ships Be Great ?

Doing away with sailors will make the high seas safer and cleaner. It sounds like a ghost story: A huge cargo vessel sails up and down the Norwegian coast, silently going about its business, without a captain or crew in sight. But if all goes as planned, it’s actually the future of shipping. Last week, Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, a Norwegian maritime technology firm, and Yara ASA, a fertilizer manufacturer, announced a partnership to build the world’s first fully autonomous cargo containership.

Manned voyages will start in 2018, and in 2020 the Yara Birkeland will set sail all on its own. It’s the beginning of a revolution that should transform one of the world’s oldest and most conservative industries — and make global shipping safer, faster and cleaner than ever.
The commercial rationale for autonomous shims has long been clear. The U.S. Coast Guard has estimated that human error accounts for up to 96% of all marine casualties. A recent surge in piracy is a grim reminder that crews remain vulnerable (and valuable) targets for international criminals. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the industry is facing a chronic shortage of skilled workers who want a career at sea. By one consultant’s estimate, moreover, carrying sailors accounts for 44% of a ship’s costs.

That’s not just salaries: Crew quarters, air-conditioning units, a bridge (which typically requires heavy ballast to ensure a ship’s balance) and other amenities take up weight and space that otherwise might be used for cargo. And that dead weight contributes to a bigger problem: Maritime shipping accounts for about 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. All this explains why eliminating a crew and its costs has been a longtime goal for companies and governments around the world.

The most advanced effort so far has come from Rolls-Royce Holdings, which rolled out a virtual reality prototype of an autonomous ship in 2014. According to the company, the ship will be 5% lighter, and burn up to 15% less fuel, than a comparable vessel with humans aboard.

That effort has been the subject of considerable skepticism — especially from seafarer unions who doubt that technology can replace experienced sailors, and note that the International Maritime Organization, the United Nations agency that oversees shipping, prohibits crewless operations. But what seemed impossible three years ago quickly is becoming reality. Most of the sensor technology for autonomous ships now is commercially available, and crucial collision-avoidance tools have been around in various forms since the early 1990s.

The Yara Birkeland is a modest but important step forward. Although it can be operated remotely by a pilot, it will be able to cruise on its own, using an array of sensors, cameras and navigation tools guided by sophisticated algorithms. Back on shore, an operations center will monitor its progress.

When it launches next year, with a fully electric power plant, the ship will transport fertilizer from Yara’s factory to ports about 16 miles away, thereby replacing 40,000 shipments a year that once had been carried by polluting diesel trucks. That short route will give the ship’s owners — along with regulators and other autonomous shipping aspirants — a first chance to see such a vessel in operation.

Such trips may soon become routine. Norway has designated the waters off of Trondheim as a test site for autonomous ships of all kinds, from container vessels to tugs. Earlier this year, Rolls-Royce announced that it expects autonomous containerships in international waters within 15 years. Other groups are working to do it sooner: One U.K. organization plans to have a solar-powered autonomous research vessel cross the Atlantic in 2019. Lloyd’s Register, the 250-year-old ship-classification group, already has issued guidance for crewless operations.

All this could potentially have enormous benefits for the shipping industry. Vast amounts of real-time data from the ships will allow fleet owners to optimize their routes — and profits — based on factors such as maintenance schedules, weather patterns, fuel prices and cargoes. Eventually, fleet owners might find themselves competing with the likes of Amazon.com and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. — major shippers with the big data operations and deep pockets necessary to integrate autonomous ships into their logistics operations.

For those companies, “all hands on deck” already means fingers on a keyboard or a joystick. Within a decade or two, the maritime shipping industry may well be thinking the same way.

Story by Adam Minter at Bloomberg News , published by Transport Topics

Exactly What Does Congestion Cost The Trucking Industry

Arlington, VA – Traffic congestion on the U.S. National Highway System (NHS) added over $63.4 billion in operational costs to the trucking industry in 2015, according to research released today by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).  Utilizing a variety of data sources including its unique truck GPS database, ATRI calculated delay on the NHS totaling more than 996 million hours of lost productivity, which equates to 362,243 commercial truck drivers sitting idle for a working year.

ATRI’s analysis also documented the states, metropolitan areas, and counties that were most impacted by these delays and subsequent cost increases.  The top 10 states experienced costs of over $2 billion each, with Florida and Texas leading with over $5 billion each.

As expected, traffic congestion tended to be most severe in urban areas, with 88 percent of the congestion costs concentrated on only 17 percent of the network mileage, and 91 percent of the total congestion cost occurring in metropolitan areas.  This concentration of congestion has been well-documented in ongoing work by ATRI which annually identifies the worst truck bottlenecks in the U.S.

The analysis also demonstrates the impact of congestion costs on a per-truck basis, with an average increased cost of $22,676 for trucks that travel 100,000 miles annually.

As part of this analysis, ATRI has updated its congestion cost database with 2015 data to provide granular cost information to transportation planning officials on the hours of delay and associated cost by major jurisdiction type and road level.

“Congestion-related costs continue to rise and impact our supply chains. A five minute delay for each UPS vehicle, every day, costs UPS $105 million annually in additional operating costs. ATRI’s report quantifies this drain on the economy which must be addressed through targeted infrastructure investments,” said Rich McArdle, President of UPS Freight.

Click here to request the full report.

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Article By ATRI a non for profit Research Organization

Featured Customer Profile : Angelo’s Recycled Materials

In 1907, Emilio Iafrate decided to take a journey that would ultimately open the door to his family’s legacy in the United States. His son Angelo would go on to start numerous construction related companies throughout the United States.

In 1997, Angelo expanded the family business to Florida opening a new branch called Angelo’s Recycled Materials (Angelo’s RM). Angelo’s Recycled Materials has since expanded to 9 locations throughout central Florida and employs 250 people.

Angelo’s has been a ReedTMS client, primarily working with Joe Cleary, for over a year now. We have helped them on various projects including moving concrete blocks from Tampa International Airport to their Lutz facility, hauling barrier wall which was repurposed into road base for the I-75 expansion project, and moving light posts out of MacDill Airforce Base.

Angelo’s RM features the largest privately owned class 3 landfill with borrow pit, multiple material recovery facilities, and innovative concreate processing facilities. They are a fully integrated solid waste company offering the collection, recycling, and disposal of construction/demolition debris and CLIII materials.  They also provide construction industries with recycled materials that preserve natural resources and reduce cost to these projects.

Outside of large commercial projects, Angelo also deals with many private projects. These projects range from tire recycling, wood waste recycling, asbestos disposal, pateo layout, garden layout, draining, and pipe bedding.

If a consumer ever needs something recycled they can locate one of Angelo’s 500 recycle dumpster cans located throughout central Florida, or call 727-248-9131 to rent a Rolloff service. Angelo’s Rolloff service provides collection and hauling services for your construction, demolition, and recycling needs. These come in 20,30, or 40 yard containers. Angelo’s RM also offers tractor trailers with 60 yard & 100 yard capacities.

For more information about Angelo’s Recycled Materials please contact Karl Stubbs at kstubbs@angelosrm.com or via phone 727-581-1544

Story by: Andy Patel

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Diesel hits lowest price since June 2009

With a 2.4-cent drop this week, the country’s average diesel price hit its lowest point since June 1, 2009.refueling

The average price of a gallon of on-highway diesel is now $2.493. Prices dropped in all regions during the week with the most significant decrease coming in New England, where prices dropped 4 cents.

The most expensive diesel can be found in California at $2.848 per gallon, followed by the Central Atlantic region at $2.662 per gallon. The nation’s cheapest diesel is in the Gulf Coast region at $2.34 per gallon, followed by the Midwest at $2.447 per gallon.

Prices in other regions across the U.S. are as follows:

•New England – $2.613 •Lower Atlantic – $2.448 •Rocky Mountain – $2.522 •West Coast less California – $2.55