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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- March 25, 2021

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for March, 25, 2021

Stimulus Funds to Bailout Teamster Pensions; Amazon Cameras will be Watching Delivery Drivers; eTruck Maker TuSimple Losing Big Money; Grounded Ship Blocking Suez Canal


$86 Billion

Rather incredibly, that is the amount of money in the new $1.9 trillion stimulus packaged that is targeted to bail out underwater truck driver pension funds. That money will go to qualifying multiemployer plans to cover retiree benefits through 2051. More than 50 Teamsters pension plans are now eligible for that assistance, according to the union. The pension fund in the worst shape is the Central States fund, which was 19.5% funded as of Jan. 1, 2020, the most recent period for which figures are available, with just $11.44 billion in assets and $58.51 billion in liabilities, and which is projected to become insolvent in 2025. The new money is not just good news for members of the Teamsters union – it will also dramatically reduce the amount freight carriers might have had to pony up to recapitalize pension funds. For example, the money could benefit UPS, which withdrew from the Central Stares fund in 2007 but as of the end of last year potentially retained some liability if the fund became insolvent. Companies including Anheuser-Busch InBev, Conagra and Marathon Oil also contribute to the plan, whose participants also include truck drivers, package delivery drivers and warehouse workers.




That is the percent of time Amazon delivery drivers will be monitored by in-cab cameras from a company called Netradyne, part of a broad effort by Amazon to track the behavior of its drivers. As first reported by Vice, Amazon delivery drivers in the US now have to sign "biometric consent" forms to continue working for the retailing giant. Exactly what information is being collected seems to vary based on what surveillance equipment has been installed in any given van, but Amazon's privacy policy covers a wide range of data. The data that drivers must consent to be collected includes photographs used to verify their identity; vehicle location and movements (including "miles driven, speed, acceleration, braking, turns, following distance”); "potential traffic violations" (like speeding, failure to stop at stop signs, and undone seatbelts); and "potentially risky driver behavior, such as distracted driving or drowsy driving." The last two are identified by AI-cameras seeing drivers checking their phones or yawning. The systems can then provide real-time feedback, such as telling drivers to take a break or keep their eyes on the road – or to terminate the drivers with repeat violations.



$1.8 Million

That was how much revenue autonomous truck maker TuSimple had in 2020, as details about its financial performance were released last week as the start-up prepares for an initial public offering (IPO). With that tiny revenue, TuSimple lost $177.9 million last year, bringing its total losses to more than $300 million over the past three years, as the company races to be the first to launch fully autonomous long-haul trucks in the US. The company, which was founded in 2015, now has a workforce of about 800 and raised hundreds of millions of dollars from investors. TuSimple actually made its paltry sales revenue by hauling freight, not from selling its self-driving technology. It said its technology will be commercially ready in 2024. The company has customer reservations for 5,700 trucks, but those orders can be easily cancelled and therefore really don't mean much. The company's strong ties to Chinese investors have caught the attention of regulators who scrutinize foreign investments in the US. TuSimple maintains split operations in California and China.




That's how many vessels, from container ships full of consumer goods to oil tanlers at last count were in line waiting to traverse the Suez Canal, now blocked by a listing boat that ran agound Tuesday. Efforts to free the ship using dredgers, digging and the aid of high tides have yet to push the container vessel aside. Evergreen Marine Corp., a major Taiwan-based shipping company that operates the grounded Ever Given , said in a statement that the ship had been overcome by strong winds as it entered the canal from the Red Sea but that none of its containers had sunk. About a quarter mile long (400 meters) and weighing in at 200,000 tons, the ship's sheer size is overwhelming efforts to dig it out. Bloomberg reported that a contract was given to SMIT Salvage BV, a legendary Dutch firm whose employees parachute themselves from one ship wreckage to the next. "The best chance for returning shipping to normal may not come until Sunday or Monday when the tide will reach a peak.” says one salvage expert."

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