Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Sept. 20, 2019 -

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Sept. 20, 2019

Amazon Going Big Time Green; Owner-Operators in Jeopardy in California; US Manufactring Surprisingly Up in August; Wing, FexEx and Walgreen's to Pilot Drone Deliveries



That is the share of all its energy use that will come from renewable sources by 2034, according a major new plan from It expects to get to zero net emissions by 2030. In what he is calling the “Climate Pledge,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also promised to measure and report the company’s emissions on a regular basis, implement decarbonization strategies and alter its business strategies to offset remaining emissions. The plan calls for other companies to join Amazon in pledging to have net zero carbon emissions by 2040 - a decade ahead of the Paris accord’s goal. As part of the announcement, Amazon has agreed to purchase 100,000 electric delivery vans from vehicle manufacturer Rivian. Bezos said the first electric delivery vans will be on the road by 2021, and he estimates 100,000 vehicles will be deployed by 2024. Amazon has invested $440 million in Rivian, the announcement said. All this after Amazon was criticized for years by environmentalists for its lack of focus on sustainability.



That is about how many own-operators run their trucks in California – and could potentially be impacted by a soon to be law in the state aimed at forcing truck and Uber drivers to be made full-time employees of their companies. The change potentially will raise shipping costs. The state’s Senate and Assembly this week passed legislation that seeks to force companies to reclassify certain contract workers as employees, and governor Gavin Newsom has said he will sign it. The measure is aimed at putting into law a state court ruling last year involving package-delivery workers. The bill is aimed at big ride share companies like Uber and Lyft, but experts say it would go beyond those businesses to affect industries like trucking that use contract workers. The independent owner-operator model is especially prevalent in port trucking operations, where companies say drivers have the ability to make more money than they might as employees. The California measure “effectively prohibits an owner-operator from working directly for a motor carrier,” said Joe Rajkovacz, director of governmental affairs and communications for the Western States Trucking Association



That, surprisingly, was the level of US manufacturing output in August, according to the latest monthly reading this week from the Federal Reserve, up sharply from the 104.7 level seen in July. The index uses 2012 output as the baseline score of 100. Given other signs of slowing US manufacturing, this latest jump is a welcome sign, though while output was up month over month it was down 0.4% versus August 2018. Manufacturing capacity utilization rose a bit to 75.7%, but down from 77% last August and the average since 1972 of 78.3%. At 105.2, the August output number is just 5.2% above the 2012 baseline, meaning average annual growth since then of well less than 1%.



That is the current roundtrip range in miles of the package delivery drone from Wing, the drone focused division of Google’s parent company ABC. That’s news because Wing announced today that it would be partnering with FedEx and the drugstore chain Walgreens to bring autonomous drone deliveries to the US in October. The pilot program will be launched in Christiansburg, Virginia, under which people expecting packages from FedEx will be able to choose to get their deliveries made via drone, assuming that they live in certain areas that Wing has designated it can safely deliver parcels in. Similarly, Walgreens customers will be able to order products, such as non-prescription medicine, and have them delivered by drone. The drones will travel about 60 miles per hour, and can carry around 3 pounds of payload. Wing’s drones don’t actually land on the ground when they make deliveries; instead, they hover about 23 feet off the ground, lowering their packages down through a winch cable system. Wing won’t be charging for the delivery service itself during the trial. The drones may finally really be coming.

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