AEB News Brief

News on supply chain, global trade and logistics

Trending today: The U.S. warns of cyber-espionage risks, blockchain is coming to global freight logistics, and BMW says the global trade war is forcing it to raise the price of two SUVs in China.

AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief
AEB 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. 

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 (IIoT) 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 IIoT 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.

AEB news brief
AEB news brief
AEB news brief

July 26, 2018

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told CNBC on Wednesday that he expects a stalemate on Brexit. Instead, he thinks there could be a second referendum on whether the U.K. should leave the European Union – and he believes it is more likely now than it was a few months ago. Blair said that Europe is also looking at the reforms and changes it needs to make, which may also impact sentiment in the U.K. over Brexit. (CNBC)

A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that "after initial tests, 12 of the world's biggest companies, including Walmart and Nestle, are building a blockchain to remake how the industry tracks food worldwide." (Forbes)

Global express delivery and logistics services provider DHL said this week it has opened up a new Charleston, S.C.-based service center facility, which it said is almost triple the size of its previous facility in the area and is designed to handle the company’s projected growth through 2025. (Supply Chain Management Review)

The Trump administration is offering up to $12 billion in aid to farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs stemming from President Donald Trump's widening trade feud with other countries. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Tuesday the emergency aid package will use existing funding to mitigate the estimated $11 billion impact of "illegal tariffs" other countries have imposed on US agriculture exports. The exports have been a prime target of China and other countries that have retaliated against the series of tariffs Trump has imposed in recent months. (CNN.com)

Japan-based tech conglomerate Hitachi and telecommunication giant KDDI are testing a blockchain-based system that can settle retail payments validated using shoppers' fingerprints. (CoinDesk)



The news brief
The news brief
The news brief

July 20, 2018

Breweries across northern Europe are fretting about shortages of beer, slaughterhouses could risk having to shut down and U.K. consumers may find it harder to buy a popular breakfast food, And it’s all because of a shortage of carbon dioxide on the continent. (Bloomberg)

Amazon is the latest company adding electric vehicles to its fleet. The e-commerce juggernaut has ordered 100 of Mercedes-Benz's eVito transit vans, which Mercedes says will hit the market next year. While the vans' range might seem limited (150 - 100 Km, depending on the use conditions; 62 miles - 92 miles) that covers a lot of ground in a city environment. A full charge will take six hours, and Amazon's eVito deployment will take place by the end of next year, according to a statement from Mercedes. (engadget)

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in June, and the overall economy grew for the 110th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business. (IndustryWeek)

Tesco, Target and CVS Health have all agreed to join a program that aims at cutting carbon emissions, reducing deforestation and boost water security across their supply chains, according to Business Green. By joining the CDP supply chain program the retailers are aiming to become more sustainable. According to new research, emissions in retail supply chains can be up to seven times greater than other firms, Business Green reports. (Suppy&DemandChainExecutive)

UPS has opened a new 30,000-square-meter, advanced technology package sorting and delivery hub outside Paris in Corbeil-Essonnes/Évry. The new Paris Hub facility facilitates cross-border trade and enhances package delivery service in the Île-de-France area. (SupplyChainDigital)


The news brief
The news brief
The news brief

June 28, 2018

The global trade war is about to get worse, as the rules-based system of international commerce is poised to revert to an environment where the strong impose their will upon the weak, according to an internal memo circulated among European Union governments. (Bloomberg)

The growth in online retail has spawned an adjacent industry in logistics as retailers become increasingly reliant on distribution and transport networks to deliver products to customers, according to an analysis by Allied Irish Banks, or AIB,  one of the Big Four commercial banks in Ireland. (IrishTimes)

Cascend Securities analyst Eric Ross wrote  that Apple Inc.'s iPhone supply chain was "healthy and growing again." He said that it's too early in the iPhone production cycle for the supply chain to be fully ramped ahead of the new iPhone launch, but suppliers are "starting to build select parts." (MarketWatch)

Digitization of the automotive industry is a topic that has been high up on most OEM and tier one supplier agendas for some time. However, the digital age is transforming at such breakneck speed that there is the continual fear of being left behind, or even worse, of deciding on investing heavily in a technology that rapidly becomes obsolete. (AutomotiveLogistics)

Walmart has been recognized as having the best supply chain management in a survey of manufacturers. The report by Kantar Retail named Walmart, Kroger and Costco as the top three retailers with the best supply chain management. (SupplyChainDigital)

AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief

June 22, 2018

The supply chain is in a period of unprecedented change. This has been stimulated by a number of global factors, including a volatile political and economic environment, increasing urbanisation in Europe, a dramatic change in consumer behaviour, a shortage of logistics, the growth in automation and a considerable shift toward digitalisation. We are largely unprepared for the rapid pace of these changes. However, understanding and embracing these trends will be critical for the development of the logistics industry. (The Telegraph)

The Trump administration’s China tariffs spared some finished goods like smartphones and washing machines, while charges on parts and components could drive up costs in the U.S. supply chain. The president’s move to target $50 billion worth of Chinese imports for additional duties of 25 percent includes parts for planes, printed circuit boards, light emitting diodes and optical fibers, according to a list by the Office of the United States Trade Representative. (Bloomberg)

Machine learning makes it possible to discover patterns in supply chain data by relying on algorithms that quickly pinpoint the most influential factors to a supply networks’ success, while constantly learning in the process. Discovering new patterns in supply chain data has the potential to revolutionize any business. (Forbes)

Nestlé and XPO Logistics are to work together to create the ‘digital warehouse of the future’, which will be situated in the UK. The companies are co-creating a 638,000-square-foot distribution center at the new SEGRO East Midlands Gateway Logistics Park in Leicestershire, UK. The facility, a digital warehouse of the future, will be occupied predominantly by Nestlé for its consumer-packaged goods and will function as a testbed environment for XPO technology prototypes prior to global release. (SupplyChainDigital)

When it comes to the state of the somewhat inexorable truck driver shortage, one thing clearly remains certain: not much has materially changed in terms of truly lowering the average turnover rate. Yes, carriers are aggressively, and smartly, raising driver sign-on bonuses, increasing pay, and providing financial aid options for potential drivers to attend driver training schools to get them their CDL licenses, among other things. But, still, as millennials are wont to say, “the struggle is real,” and there is no real sign of it abating. (Logistics Management)


AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief

June 13, 2018

Home Depot Inc.  plans to spend $1.2 billion over the next five years to speed up delivery of goods to homes and job sites as the rise of online shopping resets consumer expectations. The home improvement retailer will add 170 distribution facilities across the U.S. so that it can reach 90% of the U.S. population in one day or less, said Mark Holifield, the company’s executive vice president of supply chain and product development (The Wall Street Journal)

Apple is reported to have asked its supply chain to manufacture nearly 20 percent fewer components for 2018 edition of iPhones as compared to last year’s devices. A report in Japan-based publication Nikkei Asian Review has claimed that the decision was taken to avoid smartphone shipment delays that were caused last year due to the unsatisfactory quality of the parts available for the 3D depth sensing feature. (digit)

Škoda Auto is deploying a fully autonomous transport robot from this month to move parts around its component plant in Vrchlabí in the Czech Republic. Use of the robot is part of the carmaker’s digitalisation of production processes under its 2025 Strategy, which embraces industry 4.0 technology. (Automotive Logistics)

Ireland has most to lose from a global trade war, according to a report by German think tank Bertelsmann Stiftung. The Republic was ranked first of 42 industrialised and emerging states in the group’s latest globalisation index, which ranks states on the basis of their levels of economic, social and technological integration with the rest of the world. (The Irish Times)

Motor carriers are scrambling to buy heavy-duty trucks as a vigorous economy creates huge demands to haul goods. Sales of big rigs more than doubled in May, rising to 35,600, or up 110 percent over the same month a year earlier, according to ACT Research. (Trucks.com)

AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief

June 7, 2018

In its growth from a startup online bookseller to the “we-sell-everything” titan among retailers, Amazon has the retail world in a panic. As the marketplace where sellers have created overnight businesses into full livelihoods because everyone wants to buy there, Amazon’s every move can have far-reaching effects. As it has grown so rapidly, more and more of its supply chain infrastructure costs are being passed along to sellers. (SupplyChainBrain)

The countdown to Britain's planned departure from the EU is under way - here are the key dates and parliamentary battles on the road to Brexit. (BBC)

Cainiao Network said it’s leading a group that will invest $1.5 billion to build a logistics center at Hong Kong International Airport. Alibaba Group’s logistics arm will lead the project via its joint venture with China National Aviation Corp. (Group) Ltd. and YTO Express. (Alizila)

DHL is expanding its global innovation footprint to the Americas region by breaking ground for its new Americas Innovation Center in Rosemont, Illinois. The new Americas Innovation Center will house DHL’s logistic innovations and robotics, and will offer customers and partners a look into the latest technology trends in robotics and automation, artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles, the Internet of Things, and virtual reality. (Postal and Parcel Technology)

Daimler AG unveiled an all-electric big rig truck it promises to have in production in 2021, as the German automaker mounts a major challenge to European and American rivals, including new entrants like Tesla Inc. (Reuters)

AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief

June 5, 2018

President Donald Trump’s zeal for tariffs has yet to derail the global economic outlook. While Trump has sown confusion and frustration among fellow political leaders, economists at most Wall Street banks are barely chang-ing their forecasts for solid global growth this year as they estimate only modest fallout from a skirmish over commerce. (Bloomberg)

Apple is looking to tighten its hold over the supply of parts that manufacturers use for its products, according to a new report from Digitimes citing supply chain sources. Right now, ‘non-key’ components like screws are sourced autonomously by third-party partners with Apple approving supplier lists and quality assurance at the end. The new report says Apple will directly set pricing and order volumes of downstream parts, in a move that gives Apple even more control over how its products are made and will likely squeeze the profitability of supply chain partners. (9to5Mac)

Many companies send their employees to leading supply chain conferences. Yet outside the Logistics Service Provider industry, widespread training within a supply chain organization remains rare. But that is what Campbell Soup has done, they have put in place a comprehensive internal supply chain training program. (Forbes)

Traditional manufacturing methodologies have formed large monolithic production centers in regions with low-cost labor, where consumer goods are manufactured tens of thousands of miles from consumers. Additive man-ufacturing has begun reducing the dependency on these types of production paradigms by bringing production closer to consumption and shipping data rather than product which collapses the entire supply chain. (EBN)

Managing a supply chain isn't easy, and that's the case even when you're running a small business. By the time that you start to look at larger national and international companies, the supply chain starts to look less like a chain and more like a web, full of interconnectivity and riddled with inefficiency. Supply chain management is such big business now that all sorts of specialists are starting to crop up who make it their mission to iron out these inefficiencies and to save companies money. (INC.)


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

May 23, 2018

A group representing the vast majority of the world’s ship owners said world trade is at risk if issues surrounding new fuel rules aren’t resolved quickly, providing the starkest warning yet as to the potential impact of regulations that are due to enter into force in less than two years’ time. (Bloomberg)

As we continue to move through a period of significant political and economic change, it’s clear that digital technology is having a huge effect on both our personal and professional lives. That fact is no more relevant than in logistics, where our new digital environment is having a transformative influence on the way it operates. (InformationAge)

When you call for an Uber, the app shows you a picture of the driver, gives you a description of the car, and includes a map so you can see where your ride is. Plus, you can communicate directly with the driver, in case they need help finding you. This kind of visibility is coming to the global supply chain as well, allowing sellers and buyers to track their containers, pallets, boxes, and even individual high-value items as they move around the world. (CIO)

Slow and steady perhaps best defined the development of commercial robotics in the past. While it took decades to implement 1.2 million robots, it will only take us around 3more years to reach 2.6 million. Still, when talking logistics, there are routine challenges faced within the warehouse environment that can be transformed by robotics breakthroughs. Demands for improved productivity and operational efficiency along the supply chain continue to increase, while the global availability of qualified staff is decreasing. (SupplyChainDigital)

Australia-based logistics property developer Goodman plans to build a warehouse with robots receiving, sorting and storing goods, at a site in Tuen Mun it won this month, the company said on Wednesday. (South China Morning Post)

AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief

May 22, 2018

Soon, when Starbucks customers order their morning joe or buy a bag of roasted coffee, they may be able to learn exactly where the beans come from and the name of the farmer who cultivated them. Starbucks says over 380,000 farmers sold it their beans last year but now the companywants coffee cravers to learn the details of that sourcing through a two-year pilot program tracing the process from bean to cup. The pilot will start with growers in Costa Rica, Rwanda and Colombia. (ThirtyK)

Modern supply chains are a complex and fragile web of interconnected processes ferrying goods and services around the world. But there’s a problem: cyber-criminals and state-sponsored hackers have discovered that the supply chain is full of weaknesses ripe for exploitation. (Information Age)

DHL Supply Chain announced its latest end-to-end supply chain visibility platform MySupplyChain. Thesecure platform integrates data from DHL Supply Chain applications and providescustomers with complete supply chain visibility at any time through a single login. Starting in June, MySupplyChain will be available to applicable customers in North America with further rollouts to follow. (Supply @ Demand Chain Executive)

FTA Ireland is pressing Governmental, associated agencies and negotiators to consider theimpact of a potential “no deal” result for the ongoing Brexit negotiations. According to Aidan Flynn, the FTAI’s General Manager, the outcome could bring Ireland’s supply chain to a halt, which could cripple business across the country. (Fleet Transport)

FedEx is sure that blockchain technology will revolutionize the logistics industry, and they don’t want to be left behind. Thelogistics giant is actively testing ways to use blockchain to track high-cost,mission-critical cargo. In a growing trend of companies researching blockchain tech for business uses, FedEx joins the joins others like Samsung in supply chain applications. (CCN)

AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief

May 18, 2018

How much does a royal wedding cost?Since you asked, nobody out-side the royal family really knows but, as the nuptials of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle draw near, the British media has felt obliged to speculate. (SupplyManagement)

BMW board member Ian Robertson has warned that any future trade agreement between the UK and EU needs to avoid adding bureaucracy and additional admin costs that would be particularly burdensome for small companies further down the industry supply chain. (JustAuto)

Walmart's first-quarter earning stopped Wall Street estimates, but the retailer was unable to avoid the sting of a crisis that's hurting several industries: rising transportation costs.. (BusinessInsider)

Conglomerates fell out of fashion because so many of them destroyed shareholder value: Companies boosted their toplines by deploying great wads of capital, but failed to earn a sufficient return. AP Moller-Maersk A/S is in danger of delivering another salient lesson for investors: Breaking up a conglomerate doesn’t necessarily create value either. (Bloomberg)

Amazon is showing signs that it’s thinking seriously about launching commercial activity in Israel, meaning that Israeli shoppers will be able to get locally-made products through it, as opposed to only things made abroad – and one day, they may be able to order food from the local Amazon site as well. (Haaretz)

AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief

May 17, 2018

Amazon.com Inc is bringing its grocery store without checkout lines to Chicago and San Francisco, the company said in a statement this week, confirming reports it will expand the concept beyond its pilot in Seattle. Known as Amazon Go, the store is fashioned after small grocery shops with a crucial difference: it has no cashiers. (SupplyChainBrain)

Scientists have created the first nano drone capable of flying itself without a human operator, breaking ground on new ways to miniaturize artificial intelligence (AI) and limit processing power. Six researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Bologna figured out a way to maximize the drone's bite-sized power and memory limitations using DroNet, "a lightweight residual convolutional neural network (CNN) architecture," according to a paper they released earlier this month. (TechRepublic)

As part of its fight to keep brick-and-mortar shopping relevant and convenient, Target is testing a new approach to supply chain management, one that would replenish inventory much faster than is currently possible. It would also allow stores to reduce the amount of space they need for storage of merchandise while at the same time keeping shelves stocked and ready for business. (Forbes)

U.S. crop handler Bartlett and Company, which exports American grain to Mexico, will merge with logistics provider Savage Companies, the firms said on Wednesday, in the latest round of consolidation to hit the struggling agriculture sector. (Reuters)

China’s trade delegation is in Washington this week, and for the last few days, Beijing has been telegraphing its negotiating position. In advance of these crucial talks, according to Chinese trade observers, China’s vice premier and top economic aide, Liu He, will offer market-opening moves and agree to step up purchases of American goods. (WashingtonPost)


AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief
AEB News Brief

May 11,2018

Alibaba has long enjoyed a lucrative return from its massive online shopping network. But their extraordinary profitability is no longer a foregone conclusion as the Chinese e-commerce giant re-invests huge sums of money on new initiatives in the face of intensifying competition. (Forbes)

Established U.S. logistics firms say digital-friendly freight startups lack the scale and customer relationships to threaten their share of the market. One executive said large-scale shipper customers are looking for more than just good technology. (WSJ)

Two subcommittees in the U.S. House of Representatives combined for a hearing on how blockchain technologies are used in supply chain and other industries. They found its date security aspects encouraging but some lawmakers also expressed concern for its lack of industry-accepted standards. (CoinTelegraph)

Freight-hauling firms slowed their roll in ordering new trucks last month, as backlogs at equipment factories spiked following record demand for new vehicles in the first quarter. The order backlog reached an estimated 205,000 units at the end of April, according to preliminary estimates released last week by transportation analysis firm ACT Research. (SupplyChainBrain)

The Apple supply chain could suffer if a trade war erupts between the US and China, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. chairman Morris Chang said on Sunday. In an interview with the Financial Times, Chang said that the escalating threat of higher tariffs between the two nations would adversely affect companies like his in the global supply chain. (TaipeiTimes)

Based in Stuttgart, Germany, AEB is a global enterprise with over 5,000 customers in Europe, Asia, and North America. For more of our insights on news and trends in supply chain and logistics, sign up for our monthly newsletter.

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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