AEB News Brief

News on supply chain, global trade and logistics

Trending today: Amazon files plans for mobile warehouses that deliver packages with drones and BMW says the trade war is starting to sting.

News brief
News brief

We hope you enjoy our selection of reporting  from around the globe. You can follow us on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn to get our updates and alerts. 

If Amazon follows through on a pair of patent applications, future fulfillment centers could be transported on their rounds by trains, ships or trucks and deliver their goods with autonomous drones flying out from the tops of shipping containers. Their concept calls for putting all the hardware for a fulfillment center, including a robotic arm and a squadron of drones, inside shipping containers (also known as intermodal vehicles). The standard-size containers are designed to be easily transferred from ships to trains to tractor-trailer trucks. (GeekWire)

American manufacturers, including Apple, have begun to feel the squeeze from U.S. tariffs imposed by China. Suppose, then, that Apple heeds U.S. President Donald Trump’s call this month to shift production of consumer electronics back home, according to the “solution” he proposed in a September 8 tweet. If Apple scales back contracts in Asia, at least a half-dozen core suppliers and assemblers in tech hardware hub Taiwan would face a loss in orders, analysts forecast. But those corporate heavyweights might be able to retain Apple’s business by moving their China-based production back home to Taiwan, if not to the U.S., and using automation for lower costs. (Forbes)

The Volvo Group has developed a system where autonomous electric vehicles are coordinated as they travel between logistics centers. The system consists of autonomous electric vehicles that are wirelessly connected to a transport control center. The control center monitors parameters such as each vehicle’s location, load and battery charge, using this data to ensure that the overall fleet logistics as well as goods and vehicle flow are as efficient as possible. (MaritimeExecutive)

German auto giant BMW on Tuesday lowered its earnings and revenue guidance for the full year 2018, hurt largely by emissions-related costs, product recalls and ongoing global trade war. Automotive segment revenues are now expected to be slightly lower than the previous year. Earlier, BMW expected slight year-on-year increase in automotive segment revenues. The EBIT margin in the automotive segment is now expected to be at least 7 percent, compared to the prior outlook of 8 percent to 10 percent. (Nasdaq)

AEB news brief
AEB news brief

September 20, 2018

German pharmaceuticals firm Merck KGaA’s health-care division plans to deploy artificial intelligence and predictive analytics throughout its entire supply chain by the end of 2019, said Alessandro de Luca, chief information officer for the division. (WSJ)

Tesla Semi is still accumulating orders for its upcoming all-electric truck. We learn that Walmart, who already ordered a few Tesla Semi trucks last year, added 30 more electric trucks to its order this week.  The retail giant was amongst the first to place a reservation for the electric truck after the unveiling in November 2017. (Electrik)

Adidas and Carbon have partnered together to create the Futurecraft 4D sneaker, made solely from 3D printing. According to Tech Crunch, the secret behind the shoe's success is Carbon's cloud-based software tool. By using a primitive CAD and defining certain mechanical properties, the product gets manufactured right before your eyes. (Supply & Demand Chain Executive)

China has threatened to hit back at the United States if Washington ramps up the trade war between the two countries after Donald Trump declared he was ready to slap extra tariffs on virtually all Chinese imports. (Express)

According to a recent Forbes Insights survey of more than 400 senior transportation-focused executives, 65% believe the logistics, supply chain and transportation sector is experiencing nothing short of a tectonic shift. Though there are several drivers behind this shift, one of the most powerful is the advancement of behind-the-scenes technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and increasingly, blockchain. (Forbes)

The AEB News Brief
The AEB News Brief
The AEB News Brief

September 6, 2018

Few industries or business functions are experiencing as much disruption as logistics, supply chain and transportation. In fact, according to a recent Forbes Insights survey of more than 400 senior transportation-focused executives, 65% say tectonic shifts in these areas are driving an era of profound transformation. (Forbes)

Over the next 12 months Microsoft will work with its U.S. suppliers to implement this new paid parental leave policy. It will require that suppliers offer their employees a minimum of 12 weeks paid parental leave, up to $1,000 per week. (SupplyChainDigital)

Walmart has a new online delivery team — but they aren’t employees and they don’t work for a major delivery company. The discount giant announced that it is testing a crowd-sourced delivery platform service, called Spark Delivery, to get online grocery orders to customers faster. (ChainStoreAge)

The numbers are not looking good for a president who has made reducing the U.S. trade deficit one of his main economic goals. Worse still, signs are emerging that President Donald Trump’s trade wars are starting to hit economic growth, not just at home but around the world. (TIME)

As relations between the U.S. and Chinadeteriorate, small suppliers are being caught in the middle. Auto-parts makers were already grappling with spikes in the cost of steel and aluminum, and now the trade war is threatening to upend an industry that’s become increasingly dependent on the U.S. China’s exports of auto parts to the U.S. increased almost 18 percent between 2012 and 2017 to hit $17.6 billion last year, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department. (Bloomberg)

AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief

August 28, 2018

As Tesla struggles with its cash balances, extremely negative press, and CEO Elon Musk’s erratic tweets, it is at a crossroads and, in order to reach its potential, need a strategic partner? (marketwatch)

Whatever the ultimate outcome of the global trade war, businesses must look to dynamic supply chain strategies to address an ever-changing landscape. Here’s a look at the impact this issue may have on industrial companies, along with suggestions for appropriate mitigation strategies. (

As battery technology improves and other advantages become more apparent, commercial electric vehicle sales could top 100,000 units by 2035, according to ACT Research. ACT’s study says advances in battery technology coupled with government policy, environmental considerations, and increased potential for cost savings will eventually boost the electric truck market by a significant amount in the next two decades. (

UPS has filed a U.S. patent application for a technology that would use blockchain and its shared distributed ledgers to more efficiently track and manage packages shipped within its network as well as those handed off to other carriers worldwide. (

A Brexit “no-deal” impact paper for financial services has been listed among the first batch of official assessments due to be published on Thursday, at a time when banks and insurers have been warning about the risks of a disorderly exit from the EU. (

AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief

August 10, 2018

The US intelligence community has issued a new warning about cyber-espionage risks posed by attacks made via the technology supply chain. A report said China, Russia and Iran were the most capable and active states involved in such economic subterfuge. Software supply chain infiltration had already threatened critical infrastructure, it warned, and was poised to imperil other sectors. (BBC)

Kerry Logistics Network, a Hong Kong-listed firm owned by Robert Kuok, Malaysia’s wealthiest man, has become a beneficiary of the ongoing trade war between the world’s two largest economies, as customers shift part of their production lines from mainland China to such destinations as northern Malaysia’s Penang to skirt US tariffs. (South China Morning Post)

The global freight business doesn’t see much innovation. Now that major shipping companies are developing blockchain logistics platforms, that could be changing. Blockchain logistics solutions could make global shipping a far more efficient system. Numerous blockchain logistics projects are under-way, but it is difficult to know how the industry will evolve. (CRYPTO DISRUPT)

In the latest sign of the complex fallout from Donald Trump’s trade war, BMW says it will raise the price in China of two SUVs manufactured in South Carolina, potentially dampening demand for the vehicles. Reuters reports that the price increases will impact the X5 and X6 SUV models, and will be between 4 and 7%. That’s less than the recent 25% increase in Chinese tariffs on imported U.S.-made cars, meaning the tariffs will cut into BMW’s profit margin on the vehicles. BMW had already warned that it wouldn’t be able to “completely absorb” the cost of higher tariffs. (Fortune)

The Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) is set to make a sizeable contribution to the global economy by 2023, according to a new global study launched today by Inmarsat. Organisations across the global supply chain expect IoT to be increasing their annual revenues by 10% within five years. The report said that the Industrial Internet of Things is set to revolutionise how businesses function in the next few years.

About the author
Mike Towle
Mike Towle has been involved in content creation for more than three decades. A former reporter, he’s worked in all forms of international media – digital, print and video. He’s driven to find the best way to tell every story and then publish it in a mode that finds its perfect audience.

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