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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Sept. 3, 2021

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Sept. 3, 2021

Big Electric Truck Trial in California; ISM Purchasing Managers Strong in August; Amazon Air Continues to Expand; Walmart Hiring Big in Its DCs



That’s how many heavy duty electric trucks that will be part of a program in California that will see the largest deployment of e-trucks thus far in the US. Two of the largest US carriers, Schneider and NFI, are participating in the program. The first step will be the construction of critical battery charging infrastructure, an effort that has already started. The new trucks - 50 from Daimler Trucks North America and 50 from Volvo Trucks North America — will be delivered beginning next year and into 2023. They will operate in drayage and regional haul applications. The project is known as Joint Electric Truck Scaling Initiative. The California Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission, together, put in $26.98 million to get the program off the ground. The South Coast Air Quality Management District added $5.43 million, while additional project partners added another $41.37 million. eTrucks are surely coming – and soon.


That is how many cargo flights a day Amazon Air is now flying on average daily, according the latest update to the on-going research coming out of Professor Joseph Schwieterman, from the Chaddick Institute at DePaul University. That is in part the result of the opening of an 800,000 square foot air hub at the Cincinnati airport in August. The report says these are signs Amazon is positioning itself as a provider of delivery services to third parties, in competition with UPS and FedEx, and “could change the landscape of a sector long dominated by FedEx, UPS, and USPS.” For its own parcels, Amazon flight activity has increased 17% over the past six months, the report noted. Since February, Amazon Air has added services to and from seven additional airports, bringing the total number of airports seeing regular Amazon flights up to 42.




That was the strong reading for the US Purchasing Managers Index for August, as released this week as usual by the Institute for Supply Management. That was up 0.4 percentage point from July, and puts the index well above the 50 mark that separates US manufacturing expansion from contraction. It also indicates expansion in the overall economy for the 15th month in a row after the last monthly contraction in April 2020. The New Orders Index registered a robust 66.7, increasing 1.8 percentage points from the July reading of 64.9, in a good sign for future manufacturing activity. And while the Prices Index registered a high 79.4, meaning 79.4% of companies report higher costs for raw materials, components and other inputs, it was down 6.3 percentage points compared to the July and was the first reading below 80 since December 2020, hopefully indicating supply chain inflation has peaked.




That is how many workers Walmart is planning to add for this year’s Christmas season in its logistics operations alone, according to the company this week. And these are not temporary positions – Walmart says the new hires will be permanent positions aimed at supporting Walmart not only through peak season but beyond. The full- and part-time jobs include order pickers, forklift operators, technicians and supervisory roles at more than 250 Walmart and Sam’s Club distribution centers. Last year, Walmart also hired 20,000 workers at ecommerce facilities, including pop-up online fulfillment sites, but they were seasonal positions. Walmart said the average wage for its distribution workers is $20.37 an hour, with all jobs starting at at least $15 per hour.

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