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This Week in Logistics News (March 2 – 8)

By March 8, 2024Uncategorized

Spring Forward! This weekend is Daylight Savings, or as the parent of any young child calls it, “one of the worst weekends ever.” Daylight savings (DST) is the practice of advancing clocks to make better use of the longer daylight available during summer, so that darkness falls at a later clock time. It is a common myth in the United States that DST was first implemented for the benefit of farmers, to give children more time to work in the field before they had to go to school. In reality, farmers have been one of the strongest lobbying groups against DST since it was first implemented. The factors that influence farming schedules, such as morning dew and dairy cattle’s readiness to be milked, are ultimately dictated by the sun, so the time change introduces unnecessary challenges. DST was actually first implemented in the US with the Standard Time Act of 1918, a wartime measure for seven months during World War I in the interest of adding more daylight hours to conserve energy resources. Year-round DST, or “War Time”, was implemented again during World War II. After the war, local jurisdictions were free to choose if and when to observe DST until the Uniform Time Act which standardized DST in 1966. Permanent DST was enacted for the winter of 1974. And now on to this week’s logistics news.

Houthis make first fatal attack on merchant ship
China calls out US for “protectionism” over EVs
SEC approves weakened climate disclosure rule
Pepsi uses technology and finance for sustainability
Target revamps loyalty card program
Renewable fuel for ocean-going vessels act introduced in US Senate
Seoul Semiconductor files patent lawsuit against Amazon with European Court

Two Filipino seafarers are among the dead after a Houthi ballistic missile struck a commercial ship in the Gulf of Aden, marking the first fatal attack by the Iran-backed militant group in its ongoing assaults in the Red Sea. At least three crew members were killed and four others injured in the attack Wednesday on the M/V True Confidence, a Barbados-flagged, Liberian-owned bulk carrier, US Central Command said in a statement. The ship has since been abandoned and coalition warships are now in the area assessing the situation. The deadly strike marks a significant escalation of the Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping, which began in October in response to the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. The Houthis said in a statement that the strike was “accurate” and caused a fire to break out on the ship.

China charged the US with engaging in protectionist trade measures amid signs that Washington is prepared to step up efforts to keep Chinese electric vehicles from penetrating the American market. The US Commerce Department said last month it will investigate potential data and cybersecurity risks posed by Chinese electric vehicles and other internet-connected cars. Chinese auto companies currently have a very limited presence in the US because of a 27.5 percent tariff imposed by former President Donald Trump. The Biden administration is considering hiking those duties even higher, but officials are worried that tariffs alone won’t be enough to keep Chinese cars out of the country. The concern is that Chinese shipments will simply re-route through third countries or that Chinese firms will set up operations in places like Mexico that have advantaged access to the US market. China will continue to monitor the situation and take “forceful” measures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests when necessary, the Commerce ministry said.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday approved a rule that will require some public companies to report their greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, after last-minute revisions that weakened the directive in the face of strong pushback from companies. The rule was one of the most anticipated in recent years from the nation’s top financial regulator, drawing more than 24,000 comments from companies, auditors, legislators and trade groups over a two-year process. It brings the U.S. closer to the European Union and California, which moved ahead earlier with corporate climate disclosure rules. The SEC rule passed 3-2, with three Democratic commissioners supporting it and two Republicans opposed. Since the SEC proposed a rule two years ago, experts had said it was likely to face litigation almost immediately. SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, one of the Democrats, acknowledged that was a factor the agency considered as it worked toward a final rule.

Sustainability continues to be top of mind as companies look at innovative ways to reduce plastics and be more environmentally friendly. Well, did you know Gatorade now comes in tablets that can be dropped into personal water bottles? That product, launched in spring 2023, reduces the amount of plastic the company uses in its manufacturing as customers switch from bottles to tablets. It’s an innovation that will be copied across the $91.5 billion food and beverage company’s carbonated soft drinks, water, teas and other beverages over time, said PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta. Tablets and powders are just one example of how environmental considerations are being folded into the company’s overarching business strategy, which it calls “PepsiCo Positive.” According to Laguarta:

“It’s clearly a consumer opportunity that we are increasing in capacity. And we’re going to give it even more priority, because it is at the center of a consumer trend but also a positive choice. As we eliminate plastic, we eliminate a lot of the emissions that come from moving liquids around. PepsiCo Positive is not a sustainability program. PepsiCo Positive is a company transformation program.”

Target unveiled several updates to its loyalty programs on Tuesday, including a new paid membership program that some see as an answer to Amazon Prime and Walmart Plus. The changes will bring the Target Redcard and Shipt membership programs under the Target Circle umbrella. Target’s new paid membership program is called Target Circle 360 and will offer unlimited free same-day deliveries through Shipt on orders of more than $35. It will be available at the promotional rate of $49 a year through May 18. It will then go up to $99 a year, though holders of the Target Circle Card will be able to continue to get the $49 rate. It will also offer access to the Shipt marketplace, which offers same-day delivery from more than 100 retailers. Target Circle 360 is similar to a Shipt membership, which costs $99 a year. But members will also have access to free two-day shipping at Target and will receive other benefits of being a Target Circle member when they shop in stores and online. The new features launch on April 7.

A bill in the U.S. Senate would help international shipping companies increase their use of low-carbon fuels. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio says the legislation allows biodiesel producers to generate RIN credits on ocean-going vessels. He tells Brownfield this would help the international shipping industry meet its carbon reduction goals. The Renewable Fuel for Ocean-Going Vessels Act designates renewable fuel used in ocean-going vessels as an “additional renewable fuel” (similar to jet fuel) under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Refiners and blenders are currently required to retire RINs from any biodiesel and renewable diesel used in vessels with Class 3 engines operating in international waters, including the Great Lakes. Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs for Clean Fuels Alliance America, says the bill will open new markets to American clean fuel producers and their farmer partners.

Seoul Semiconductor has filed a patent lawsuit against online retail giant Amazon with the newly created European Unified Patent Court. The South Korean light-emitting diode manufacturer said in a statement Tuesday that the lawsuit aims to stop the distribution of products allegedly infringing on its patent rights throughout Europe. The European Unified Patent Court, a common patent court established in June 2023, can enforce patent rights simultaneously in 17 European Union countries with a single injunction, Seoul Semiconductor said. The company said it had obtained 15 individual court injunctions for patent infringement against multiple companies in the past five years in the U.S., Germany, France and the Netherlands. Amazon wasn’t immediately available for comment on Seoul Semiconductor’s legal action.

That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend and the song of the week, This Time Tomorrow by the Kinks.

The post This Week in Logistics News (March 2 – 8) appeared first on Logistics Viewpoints.

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