Here we are closing out the last full week of August. To me, the end of summer feels like the end of a year (more so than December). It must be due to the school year beginning each September. Afterall, this was the case for the vast majority of my youth. I know it is coming when the nights start to get cooler, the sun sets sooner, and it becomes a lot easier to find shade in the early evening. Also, pool temperatures start to get cooler. But the upside is that next week begins a new year – well at least for students. A new grade, new classmates, school supplies, and maybe even some new clothes. And kids know it is coming as well. You can sense the anticipation and excitement for something new.
My colleague Chris Cunnane watches aggregate retail sales very closely and the National Retail Federation keeps tabs on seasonal retail sales. So, hopefully Chris will have some statistical insights for us this year as well. And now for this week’s logistics news.
Walmart is adding Wing drone deliveries to limited Superstores this year
Jungheinrich acquires all shares in robotics company Magazino
ABB Robotics Opens New Packaging and Logistics Headquarters
Dollar General Opens 1st Dual Distribution Center
UPS workers approve 5-year contract
Chinese e-commerce giants JD.com, Alibaba lock horns in logistics
Wing is expanding drone deliveries to a pair of Texas-area Walmart Superstores later this year. The Alphabet-owned drone firm says the two offerings will cover a combined 60,000 homes in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The first location is 8555 Preston Road in Frisco, Texas, a suburb Wing has served since 2021. That spot is expected to get up and running “in coming weeks.” The Alphabet X graduate already manages 11 drone hubs in the region. An additional Supercenter location will go online before the end of year.
Jungheinrich is fully taking over Magazino, a Munich-based robotics specialist. In addition to its shareholding, which has existed since 2020 and was increased to 21.7 percent in 2022, Jungheinrich is acquiring all shares held by the founders as well as the previous co-shareholders, a.o. Cellcom, Fiege Logistik, and Körber. Founded in 2014, Magazino employs around 130 people. For Jungheinrich, the merger is an ideal addition as part of the expansion of its business with automated and autonomous vehicles. Going forward, Magazino’s software and development expertise will be even more closely integrated into Jungheinrich’s product development. Magazino gains access to Jungheinrich’s international sales and service network and becomes part of a broad portfolio of intralogistics products and solutions.
ABB has opened a new facility in Alpharetta, Georgia, to serve as the company’s dedicated center for robotic automation in the logistics and packaging industries. This new facility is part of ABB Robotics’ $22 million investment in the U.S. More than 70 jobs will be created at the site. According to the International Federation of Robotics, North America is the second largest market for new robot installations with 41,000 robots installed across the U.S. in 2022.
As part of its nationwide supply chain expansion plans, Dollar General has opened its first ground-up dual distribution center combining the efficiencies of traditional and DG Fresh supply chain functionalities. The new facility in Blair, Neb., measures roughly 1 million square feet and will support more than 1,000 Dollar General stores at full capacity. The new facility represents an approximately $140 million investment and It is expected to create more than 400 new career opportunities.
The union representing 340,000 UPS workers said Tuesday that its members voted to approve the tentative contract agreement reached last month, putting a final seal on contentious labor negotiations that threatened to disrupt package deliveries for millions of businesses and households nationwide. The Teamsters said in a statement that 86% of the votes casts were in favor of ratifying the national contract. After negotiations broke down in early July, Atlanta-based UPS reached a tentative contract agreement with the Teamsters just days before an Aug. 1 deadline. It came as large and small businesses were working on contingency plans in the event of a strike, which would have spiked shipping prices and scrambled supply chains.
Delivery has emerged as the new battleground for China’s e-commerce giants, as they jostle to win local consumers with faster and cheaper shipping services, in a sign of an intensifying competition in the sector amid weak consumer spending. JD.com, the Beijing-based e-commerce company founded by Richard Liu Qiangdong, on Wednesday lowered its free-shipping minimum order to 59 yuan (US$8.2) from 99 yuan. It marked the first time in eight years that the company has updated its free-shipping policy after a hike in the minimum qualifying amount in 2016.
That’s all for this week. Enjoy the video Cruel Summer by Bananarama (if you look closely in the video from the 1980s, gas prices are $1.48 a gallon, and there is a payphone on the sidewalk).