The unofficial end of summer is here and, like many of us, you’re probably wondering where the last couple of months went. It always feels like this part of the year flies by, which means the same is true of the news that impacts our industry.
Knowing this, we keep an eye on the supply chain so that you don’t have to. In a week where everyone is playing catch up, our recap of the news and views from August will get you back up to speed.
Order Fulfillment in Review: August 2016
Here are the fulfillment headlines you might have missed as summer came to a close:
- Hanjin Shipping started August with the news that it would have one month to get its affairs in order to avoid receivership, with a deadline of September 4th to arrange payments to creditors. Fast forward to this week and the embattled ocean freight company is still scrambling to find the appropriate funds, with a bankruptcy filing and $14 billion worth of cargo stranded at sea.
- The National Retail Federation reported the official start of imports ramping up for peak season, with back-to-school inventory and early holiday stock driving an increase in inbound cargo. Global Port Tracker forecasts 1.64 million TEUs for the month of August, up slightly on July’s figures and signifying the opening stages of the holiday shopping season.
- Sadly, with the ongoing downturn in US rail freight, the fact that August’s figures are”only down by 1% if you exclude coal carloads” is seen as something of a positive. Road freight figures offered no more cause for celebration, falling for a second successive month with tonnage down 2.1% in July.
- Hiring in the transport logistics sector posted a second successive month of robust growth, with nearly 15,000 new positions added in August. This follows on from an increase of 11,700 jobs in July, which is being received with cautious optimism around the supply chain despite the financial difficulties being faced in the shipping sector.
- Macy’s was forced to announce the imminent closure of 100 stores – approximately one-seventh of its bricks and mortar retail base – due to falling profits and increased competition from online retailers.
- Taking another step towards the inevitability of self-driving freight vehicles appearing on our roads before the decade is out, Uber acquired the automated truck startup OTTO for $680 million.
- In other acquisition news important for the fulfillment sector, Walmart bought online retail platform Jet.com for a cool $3.3 billion. The move is widely being seen as an acqui-hire scenario, with the big box retailer eager to bring the e-commerce expertise of former Amazon exec Marc Lore into the fold. Currently fourth in the U.S. online shopping stakes, Walmart has big ambitions to make up ground and become a direct threat to Amazon.com’s online dominance.
That’s it for another month. We hope you’ll be able to keep up with all the fulfillment news and analysis that September throws up, but we’ll be back in October with another round-up if you can’t!