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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Jan. 12, 2023


Supply Chain by the Numbers for Jan. 12, 2023


US Trade Deficit Down Big in November; Union Pacific Finally Delivers the Corn Feed; FedEx Cuts Back Sunday Deliveries Some More; DoorDash Releases Cheap Parcel Pick-Up Service


$61.5 Billion

That was the level of the US trade deficit in November, in numbers from the Commerce Department last week. That was down 21% from the same metric in November 2021. The percentage decline in the trade gap was the largest since February 2009. Behind the big drop? Imports tumbled 6.4% to $313.4 billion, with goods dropping 7.5% to $254.9 billion. Consumer goods imports were the lowest since December 2020. That even as a strong US dollar in effect makes imports into the US less expensive. The politically sensitive trade deficit in goods with China was also way down, coming in at about $21.3 billion, down from $32.4 billion last year. However, the full year deficit with China will still come in about $375 billion.





That is how many rail cars full of corn feed Union Pacific delivered this to chicken and beef processing giant Foster Farms, after the rail carrier was ordered to do so by the Surface Transportation Board, which regulates rail carriers. In a strange dispute, Foster Farms said millions of chickens could die without the feed, and that it was already giving corn bought for cows to its chickens, as cows can last longer without it. California-based Foster Farms has asked for regulatory intervention for the second time in six months, saying delayed shipments from Union Pacific have dwindled its corn inventory. Union Pacific said weather problems across the country have affected its service but that it was able to deliver the five trains to Foster Farms in the past week. Foster Farms said only one of the five trains arrived as scheduled, and it could face corn shortages again as soon as next week. “While Foster Farms concedes that weather played a part, it also believes this failure is indicative of systemic problems within UP that will persist,” Foster Farms said in a filing with the STB. Foster Farms says it is seeking alternative sources of corn as well as trucks to alleviate the shortage, but that these are insufficient because about 400 trucks are needed to transport the volume of corn that one train can carry.




That how much of the US population that FedEx will service on its Sunday deliveries, cutting back as the parcel carrier grapples with faltering ecommerce demand. In July, FedEx announced that it would slash coverage then to roughly 80% of U.S. residents from 95%. The company expects to halt the service in select areas beginning in mid-March, according to the unsigned Jan. 6 memo, which was sent to the contractors that make deliveries for its Ground unit. FedEx will decide next month which markets will be affected. FedEx said in a separate statement Jan. 10 that Sunday deliveries would continue primarily in “densely populated areas with proven customer demand.” The pull back is the latest step in FedEx’s effort to reduce costs, improve efficiency and deal with a decline of package volume as people return to shopping at retail stores following a surge of online purchases during the pandemic.




That is what food delivery business DoorDash will charge for a new service that has nothing to do with meals. For that fee, a "Dasher" will pick up any package a customer wants to mail and deliver it to a UPS, FedEx or USPS location. DoorDash said it expects high demand for the service this month on the heels of the holiday season, when customers are returning a high volume of merchandise to retailers. The company dubbed the new feature the "ultimate life hack for returning packages" in a press release announcing its launch. Once in the DoorDash app or on the website, customers select which carrier service — USPS, UPS or FedEx — they're using. Customers must provide their own labels or QR codes on the boxes DoorDash will pick up, but the service saves consumers a trip to a parcel shipper.

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