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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- July 8, 2020 -

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for July 8, 2020

Walmart Launching Amazon Prime Challenger; Plan for West Coast Electric Truck Charging Stations; Depressing Economic Forecast from the CBO; Chinese Rampant IP Theft



That is the annual fee Walmart will supposedly charge for a new service to be called Walmart Plus – designed obviously as a direct counter to hugely popular Amazon Prime service (which has an annual fee of $119). However, the reports this week say there could be tiered pricing for Walmart Plus, with different services for each. Walmart Plus appears to be a rebranding of Walmart's $98 Grocery Unlimited program launched last year and quickly expanded to 1,400 additional stores in September of 2019. However, the Walmart Plus landing page depicts groceries alongside tech, beauty, and sports products. So it appears that Walmart Plus will include many products that Walmart carries. Vox also reported that the service will include early access to product deals and discounts on fuel at Walmart gas stations. Walmart Plus will reportedly include same-day delivery of groceries and other products, reserved deliver slots and limited access to Walmart's new Express two-hour delivery offering. In 2015, Walmart launched ShippingPass, an unlimited online shipping service that cost $50 per year and promised deliveries in three days or less. Two years later, Walmart dropped its membership fee and switched to a 2-day free shipping program on orders of $35 or more.



That is how many electric truck charging stations should be built along Interstate 5 running from California to Washington state, according to a group of utilities and some government organizations called the West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative, in a report issued last week. Those 27 sites would be completed by 2025, and would at first only serve medium duty trucks. By 2030, half of those sites would be upgraded to charge heavy duty electric trucks, which the reports says won't see much adoption until 2025-2030. The number of stations needed was determined based on the assumption that medium duty will have an average range of 90 to 120 miles. The heavy duty electric trucks should have a much longer range of 230 to 325 miles. The recommended distance between stops for charging for medium duty electric trucks is 50 miles, and heavy duty trucks electric trucks is 100 miles. The report notes that despite the great apparent interest in electric trucks by shippers and carriers, to make electric trucks work in practice sufficient on the road charging infrastructure must be built, presenting a chick-and-egg scenario for shippers and carriers. The report estimates the cost of the stations at $850 million.



That was the rather sobering estimate of the expected year-over-year fall in US gross domestic product in Q4, according to a fresh forecast from the Congressional Budget Office. It added that although the economy is likely to grow 4.8% next year, it won't return to its pre-pandemic size until mid-2022. The growth in 2021 will likely be followed by a long, slow recovery similar to the pace of the previous decade-long economic expansion, when growth averaged around weak 2% a year, the CBO said. Unemployment is expected to average very high 6.1% per year through 2030. But the agency acknowledged that the projections are highly uncertain, given incomplete knowledge about the severity of the pandemic and the prospects for developing treatments or a vaccine.




That's about how many cases involving potential Chinese theft of American intellectual property the FBI is currently investigating, according to Director Christopher Wray at a conference on the subject last week. Wray said cases have been piling up since 2018, ever since the DOJ launched the China Initiative campaign to counter and investigate Beijing's economic espionage. The Director added that the Beijing government has shown "they're willing to steal their way up the economic ladder at [the US'] expense." US officials said all Chinese theft operations are happening based on an well-established plan handed down from the Beijing government, with areas of interest to target, which the Sino government sees critical to becoming self-sufficient. "They're not just targeting defense-sector companies. The Chinese have targeted companies producing everything from proprietary rice and corn seeds to software for wind turbines to high-end medical devices," Wray added. "And they're not just targeting innovation and R&D. They're going after cost and pricing data, internal strategy documents, bulk PII; really just about anything that can give them a competitive advantage.” Wow.

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