Executives including FedEx Corp. Chief Executive Fred Smith and retired U.S. generals associated with a Washington group that lobbies to reduce America s oil dependence plan to meet with politicians in the nation s capital on Thursday to discuss recommendations for speeding introduction of driverless cars.The proposals aren t likely to gain immediate traction on Capitol Hill, where Republican lawmakers are at loggerheads with the Obama administration on a variety of fronts during a presidential election year.The Obama administration earlier this year proposed spending nearly $4 billion over a decade to accelerate acceptance of driverless cars on U.S. roads and curb traffic fatalities and travel delays.U.S. regulators are expected this summer to release guidelines for preferred rules for driverless cars, in part to coax local governments to avoid pursuing different policies that could subject autonomous vehicles to different decrees when they cross state lines.That would essentially prohibit the kinds of autonomous vehicles Google envisions, as well as driverless taxi efforts under way at ride-hailing companies Lyft Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc.FedEx s Mr. Smith, an advocate for alternative fuels in the shipping company s vehicles, expressed concerns over regulatory patchworks.Currently, the same tax credit disappears once a company sells 200,000 electric vehicles.
Apple is expanding rapidly in Silicon Valley because it needs more space to house its fast-growing research and development workforce, possibly for the long-rumored Apple Car.One of its new secret facilities is a former FedEx distribution center in Santa Clara that Apple leased last year.Funding for the extension may come down to a vote later this year and environmental studies and other permits must be acquired before plans are finalized.An official for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority told the Business Journal that Apple's work at the facility is "a bump we're going to have to negotiate.Although Apple doesn't own the site, it's reportedly entered into a long-term lease and has started to spend millions to improve the location, including installing an "regenerative thermal oxidizer" and other industrial tools.Permits filed last summer show that Apple plans to run a "Cathode/Anode Operation" out of the site.Apple has said that it supports commuting alternatives to cars, and has a 34% participation goal for public transport participation at its new "spaceship" headquarters.The new Cupertino campus will have a "mass transit shuttle link" that transports employees to BART, Caltrain, and other light rail stops.
View photosMoreA prototype of Google's own self-driving vehicle is seen during a media preview of Google's current autonomous vehicles in Mountain View, California September 29, 2015.REUTERS/Elijah NouvelageWASHINGTON Reuters - A group seeking to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil on Thursday called on policymakers to remove regulatory hurdles in order to accelerate the deployment of self-driving cars, as well as revise tax incentives to boost sales of less expensive electric vehicles.The influential group Securing America's Future Energy SAFE and its leadership council chaired by FedEx Corp President, Chairman and CEO Frederick Smith and retired U.S. Marine Corps Commandant James Conway, unveiled a report seeking broad commercialization of autonomous cars "once they are as safe as today s cars."SAFE has been pushing U.S. policymakers since 2006 to boost fuel efficiency standards, increase U.S. energy production and encourage alternative fuel vehicles in a bid to cut oil use in half by 2040.The group of business and military leaders helped prompt then-President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress in 2007 to approve the first increase in passenger car fuel economy standards in more than two decades.The SAFE report was released at an event that included John Krafcik, the CEO of Alphabet Inc's Google Self-Driving Car program.
Hunt for strategic warehouse space to get the goods to its customers as fast as possible.Amazon.com has spoiled them for anything less.Within six months, ThredUp's chief executive officer, James Reinhart, had signed leases on two additional warehouses.Space close to population centers has become an especially hot commodity as startups compete for space with such shippers as FedEx and traditional retailers like Macy s pursue the dream of same-day delivery.The dynamic has helped turn a mundane corner of real estate into a hot property.We do tours with our capital partners, and after the third one their eyes start to glaze over.Problems ranged from lack of Internet access to a dearth of public transportation for workers.In the current building boom, developers are doing a better job of matching new supply to existing demand, said Sam Chandan, president of Chandan Economics, a provider of real estate data and analysis.
USPS could use blockchain technology to profit from its position as a trusted third party, says the Postal Inspector General's office.Its latest report suggests that USPS could take advantage of blockchain technology—the operating system behind Bitcoin—to fast-track its emergence in allied businesses that the OIG has been touting to the agency for years.OIG has long been a proponent of retail banking in Post Offices, though such a move would require Congressional approval.USPS already has a big business in money transfers, however, and OIG sees that revenue stream flowing more freely using the peer-to-peer transactional abilities of blockchain.A Postcoin system, says the watchdog agency, could process transactions faster across a global network of 600,000 post offices and keep the money transfer business relevant in a digital wallet age.High-value mailpieces tagged with sensors could create and process transactions, quicken customs clearance, and integrate more smoothly with delivery partners like FedEx.
Amazon has a month to respond to the accusation.Amazon has a history of violating the Hazardous Materials Regulations, the FAA said in a release, explaining that between February 2013 and September 2015 the e-commerce giant was found to have breached regulations 24 other times.Commenting in relation to the FAA s proposed fine, Amazon told Reuters it ships tens of millions of products every day and have developed sophisticated technologies to detect potential shipping hazards and use any defects as an opportunity for continuous improvement, adding, We will continue to partner with the FAA in this area.For example, a UPS Boeing 747 aircraft leaving Dubai was brought down soon after take off by a lithium-battery fire that started in its cargo hold.The FAA s proposed fine comes as Amazon works to build its own end-to-end delivery network, enabling it to rely less heavily on services operated by the likes of UPS and FedEx as it seeks to boost reliability and cut costs.Its plan includes a recent deal with the Air Transport Services Group to use 20 Boeing 767 cargo planes for moving packages big and small across the U.S. Another part of the plan includes the use of its own drones for so-called last mile delivery to customers homes, a venture that depends to a great extent on regulations laid down by none other than the FAA.
U.S. aviation regulators are seeking a $350,000 fine against Amazon.com Inc., the Seattle-based online retailer, for allegedly sending hazardous shipments as air cargo.E-commerce giant Amazon, which has made two deals this year in an attempt to create its own air-shipping network, was charged Monday with improperly sending a caustic chemical that leaked and came in contact with nine workers at a United Parcel Service Inc. facility, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a press release.From February 2013 to September 2015 alone, Amazon was found to have violated the hazardous materials regulations 24 other times.Amazon also failed to include emergency response information on the package and didn t train employees on handling hazardous materials.Amazon takes seriously safety on the cargo airlines it uses and is working with the FAA on the issue, it said in an e-mailed statement.We ship tens of millions of products every day and have developed sophisticated technologies to detect potential shipping hazards and use any defects as an opportunity for continuous improvement, the company said in the statement.Companies hit by FAA fines can negotiate with the agency and penalties are sometimes reduced.The FAA s action comes a month after Amazon agreed to take as much as a 30 percent stake in Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. As part of the deal, Atlas will acquire and operate 20 Boeing Co. 767-300 freighters for Amazon, according to a May 5 statement.In March, Amazon announced it would work with Air Transport Services Group Inc. to operate another 20 Boeing 767 freighters.The retailer is moving swiftly to build up its delivery system in an attempt to reduce its dependence on UPS and FedEx Corp. as it expands its Prime membership service that delivers some orders in as little as one day.Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky downplayed Amazon s ambitions in an earnings call in January, saying the company wants to supplement the two shippers, not replace them.Documents reviewed by Bloomberg News reveal the company may be planning a bolder strategy to create a global delivery network to control the flow of goods from factories to customers doorsteps.At the same time, Amazon is developing drones capable of short-distance, rapid deliveries of small items.According to previous press releases on its website, the FAA has opened enforcement actions against Amazon for shipping flammable paint and other items without proper packaging and marking in at least four previous cases since 2014.
Online shoppers who are already pushing retailers to give more for less are about to get even more demanding, a new survey shows.In its latest survey of over 1,000 U.S. consumers, supply chain consulting firm AlixPartners LLP found that consumers expect to wait an average of 4.8 days for delivery, down from 5.5 days in 2012.The survey results underscore the big and growing role that shipping holds in the competition for e-commerce, a factor that is pressuring margins for retailers as they cope with the high cost of delivering goods to homes in a timely manner.Consumers increasingly make their buying decisions based on convenience when shopping across more categories—pushing retailers to upgrade their supply chains and delivery networks to accommodate the changing demands.But delivering products individually to many consumers homes, instead of in batches to retail stores, drives logistics costs up for store operators even as consumers demand to pay less for better service.United Parcel Service Inc. UPS -0.84 % and FedEx Corp. FDX -0.27 % have both raised prices for such bulky items, which don t easily move through their distribution centers, while other carriers such as XPO Logistics Inc. XPO -0.93 % and Schneider National have invested in white glove services to help retailers deliver, and even install, oversize items.
REUTERS/Mike Segar/File PhotoWASHINGTON Reuters - The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said on Monday it is proposing a $350,000 civil fine against Amazon.com Inc for shipping a product that allegedly violated hazardous materials regulations and injured several UPS workers who handled the package.The penalty is largest fine the FAA has proposed imposing on Amazon, which the agency said has had a series of hazardous materials violations.LIQUID FIRE," a corrosive drain cleaner for transportation by air from Louisville, Kentucky, to Boulder, Colorado.The FAA said that from February 2013 to September 2015, the government found Amazon had violated the hazardous materials regulations 24 other times.Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.In April 2014, Amazon paid a $91,000 fine to the FAA after its employees improperly shipped a package in 2013 containing flammable liquid adhesive by air on Federal Express from Whitestown, Ind., to Boulder, Colo.FedEx employees in Boulder discovered a gallon container of the adhesive was leaking and not properly labeled and without proper shipping papers, the FAA said.
Image caption Amazon has repeatedly been accused of breaching regulationsOnline retailer Amazon is facing a $350,000 £247,000 fine for allegedly shipping hazardous chemicals that injured delivery workers.The US Federal Aviation Administration FAA proposed the fine, accusing the firm of breaching rules by sending a corrosive drain cleaner by air.From February 2013 to September 2015 alone, Amazon was found to have violated the Hazardous Materials Regulations 24 times.FinesIt was not clear how many times Amazon had paid fines or admitted responsibility because the FAA does not announce fines of less than $50,000, a spokesman for the authority told Reuters.FedEx employees in Boulder discovered a gallon container of adhesive was leaking, not properly labelled and without proper shipping papers, the FAA said.According to Reuters, Amazon declined to answer questions about the incident or previous fines but said: "We ship tens of millions of products every day and have developed sophisticated technologies to detect potential shipping hazards and use any defects as an opportunity for continuous improvement.
How much control will Amazon have over its supply chain in the future?In an epic note published Wednesday, analysts at Deutsche Bank examine, among other things, the potential that lies in Amazon's growing supply-chain control.Deutsche Bank outlines what it calls a "blue-sky" scenario in which Amazon could reverse the entire logistics footprint it has built so far, opting to go deeper down the chain on the sourcing side.That is a way to say the company could get control of products nearly to the factory-floor level in Asia.Deutsche Bank adds that this new chain could increase private-label opportunities for Amazon and greatly reduce the amount of time products spend in the company's supply chain.Here are the steps Deutsche Bank lays out below for Amazon to create its entirely new supply chain:Amazon leases ships to speed up the sourcing of goods from China Amazon sets up a mega-fulfillment centers near several ports in China or in other APAC regions where factories spring up in the future that can manage sorting of goods into location-specific pallets — at a freight-consolidation facility The ships serve as "active sortation centers" while moving product across the Pacific and Atlantic, potentially taking advantage of the "anticipatory package shipping" patent from 2013, but on boats vs. trucks whereby Amazon predicts demand in every coastal population center and has inventory-in-transit As orders come in, Amazon sorts items on the ships and in smaller sortation centers on the other side of coasts — i.e., "freight deconsolidation" facilities, the orders are labeled and loaded directly into trailers eliminating intermediate storage, solving one of the biggest inefficiencies in today's logistics supply chain Orders are routed using self-driving trailers to local sortation centers or drop off points for Amazon's own carrier, USPS, UPS, and FedEx for last mile deliveryAnd here's what this might look like:Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.NOW WATCH: Switzerland spent $12 billion to build the world's longest and deepest train tunnel Loading video...
It's been over two years since Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos first revealed his plan to launch a drone delivery service called Prime Air within the next 4 to 5 years.There's still plenty of tests and regulations to deal with to get the program fully up and running.According to a note published by Deutsche Bank on Wednesday, delivery automation, using drones and robots, present the "biggest cost reduction" opportunity for Amazon, with an estimated 80% cost savings coming to last-mile shipping.To illustrate this point, Deutsche Bank gave the following cost samples for a typical shoe-box delivery today:- Premium ground like UPS or FedEx: $6 to $6.50- Mid-tier carriers like OnTrac: $4 to $5- USPS for last mile alone: $2- Robots/drones: less than $0.05 per mile of delivery, fully baked for maintenance"Robots and drones would reduce this to near-zero immediately, and allow for much faster delivery times," Deutsche Bank wrote in the note.The reduced shipping cost will directly benefit the customers.According to ARK Investment Management, Amazon will be able to charge just $1 to have a drone deliver a package in 30 minutes or less."Once the regulatory hurdles are cleared, Amazon is likely to ramp using robots and drones for delivery significantly," Deutsche Bank wrote.Of course, one issue that's not addressed in these estimates is the added cost that could result from drone-delivered packages that are lost, damaged or intercepted — which may or may not become an issue as drones take to the skies.BI Intelligence takes an in-depth look at the most important aspects, including market forecasts for commercial applications, regulatory process, and the leading players.
Amazon.com Inc. is slashing fees it charges merchants to sell USB cables, smartphone screen protectors and other small, flat items that can fit in envelopes, posing a potential threat to competing marketplaces owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., EBay Inc. and Wish.com that connect Chinese sellers with U.S. shoppers.The new rates will take effect July 1, according to an Amazon e-mail to marketplace sellers obtained by Bloomberg News.Merchants would pay $1.61 to ship three, flat, 1-ounce packages, 67 percent less than the current price, according to the e-mail.Most of the inventory comes from third-party merchants who give Amazon a cut of each sale for handling storage, packaging and delivery.Most items cost $10 or less, making low delivery costs essential for profitability.Amazon shoppers in the U.S. order tens of millions of units annually that fit the small and light dimensions, according to company documents reviewed by Bloomberg News.Amazon, through a spokesman, declined to comment.Amazon s program faces competition from marketplaces that help Chinese merchants ship directly to U.S. shoppers through the ePacket program, an agreement between the U.S.Postal Service and China Post that provides Chinese merchants cheap access to U.S. shoppers on small packages weighing as much as 4.4 pounds 1.7 kilograms .Amazon, FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. have criticized the program in statements to Congress, saying the rates are unfair to U.S. businesses that pay more to ship an item to a customer in their own country than a Chinese merchant pays to send the same item from overseas.
Credit: Martyn WilliamsThe U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has proposed fining Amazon $130,000 over two incidents in 2014 when it shipped or attempted to ship hazardous goods by air.The flight safety regulator says Amazon shipped the packages without warning labels, paperwork that specified the chemicals inside, or emergency response information.The proposed penalty comes two weeks after the FAA fined Amazon $350,000 over a similar incident that caused injuries to several UPS workers.The first of the two latest fines relates to a shipment made in May 2014, when Amazon sent two packages containing a rust-stain removing product from Illinois to Florida.The shipments were discovered by FedEx workers when they began to leak.Amazon has 30 days to respond to the allegations.
"Because of our close relationship with Amazon and close collaboration, we have a very clear and specific understanding of their needs across the FedEx portfolio during fiscal year 2017, and further, we expect them to be a significant customer for many years to come," Glenn said.Glenn also addressed Walmart, whose big bet on two-day delivery is the largest attempt yet by a major retailer to take on Amazon's Prime service.The new Walmart plan would rely on regional carriers to provide last-mile delivery and skip the need for national ones.But while Glenn agreed that FedEx could lose a small percentage of its business with Walmart, he said he still expected the overall partnership to grow - along with the rest of the e-commerce landscape."The fact of the matter is regional carriers simply don't have the scope and the scale to be able to compete with the networks that make up 95% of the e-commerce shipments in the US," Glenn said."Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.NOW WATCH: A powerful storm turned DC Metro escalators into waterfallsLoading video...
Despite all the rumors swirling about Amazon's in-house shipping network that could potentially rival FedEx or UPS, FedEx doesn't see it as a big threat at this point.During its earnings call on Wednesday, FedEx's executive VP Mike Glenn addressed investors' concerns around Amazon's growing shipping ambitions, stressing that relations between FedEx and Amazon continue to be "close.""Because of our close relationship with Amazon and close collaboration, we have a very clear and specific understanding of their needs across the FedEx portfolio during fiscal year 2017, and further we expect them to be a significant customer for many years to come," Glenn said.Glenn said that the two companies remain in close dialogue to better understand how they could help each other around shipments.Maintaining close ties with FedEx and UPS is key for Amazon, which is seeking to keep a lid on escalating shipping costs.Another big reason Amazon's own shipping network doesn't worry FedEx as much: the revenue coming from Amazon is small relative to FedEx's total sales."Having said that, it is important to remember that no single FedEx customer represents more than approximately 3% of total revenue," Glenn added.There have been multiple reports recently indicating that Amazon is growing its own shipping network, including its secret plan to build a global delivery network that would possibly reduce the need to go through DHL, FedEx, and UPS.Amazon has also gotten more directly involved in shipping by buying a portion of aircraft leasing network ATSG in March, and signing a leasing deal with Atlas Air in May."Shipping as a Fourth Pillar for Amazon will be either an obvious option or an obvious reality," RBC Capital's Mark Mahaney wrote in a recent note.Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his
personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.NOW WATCH: This 14-year-old makes up to $1,500 a night eating dinner in front of a webcam in South KoreaLoading video...
Boxes move along a conveyor belt at an Amazon.com Inc. fulfillment center.The Federal Aviation Administration said it would fine Amazon.com Inc. AMZN -0.73 % $130,000 for allegedly mishandling shipments of dangerous chemicals, marking three fines in less than two weeks the agency has penalized the retailer for violating rules related to shipping hazardous materials by air.Workers at a FedEx Corp. FDX -4.54 % sorting facility in Lake Wales, Fla., discovered that the product, called Rid O Rust Stain Preventer Acid, had leaked through one of the cardboard boxes.The next month, Amazon sent a box containing a 19-ounce container of Simple Air EZ Green,a flammable gas used to clean heating and air conditioning systems, by air from Whitestown, Ind., to Glendale, Calif., the FAA said.The agency proposed a fine of $78,000 for the May, 2014 incident and $52,000 for the later incident.The fine comes after the FAA levied a $350,000 fine on Amazon earlier this month for a similar alleged violation that also occurred in 2014.
Hank Uberol is uniting banks and regulators to send payments around the world in a more transparent way.The CEO of Earthport, speaking at WIRED Money, has created an API that allows its clients to connect to and send money to banks easily."The way money has traditionally been sent across borders is a patchwork of bank-to-bank, currency-to-currency relationships: one bank sends to another, which sends to another, which sends to another," the company says.Uberol likens his company's business model to one that solves the problems faced by emerging companies in different industries several decades ago."If you wanted to build a global manufacturing business where you wanted to have suppliers in one part of the world, manufacturers in another and customers in a third, you have to be a fairly large complex organisation," he says.When the firm was creating its platform, Uberol says it intended to focus on mid-sized banks and financial institutions as it thought larger ones would have their own systems in place.
On the heels of a recent proposed $350,000 fine against Amazon over the alleged improper shipment of hazardous materials comes another two notices from the FAA: a proposed fine of $78,000 and a proposed fine of $52,000, both likewise over the claimed violations of hazardous materials shipment regulations.The two packages are said to have held a combined total of six 1-gallon plastic jugs of the substance.The FAA claims Amazon gave these two boxes to FedEx for air shipment from Illinois to Florida, and that the contents were discovered when one of the containers began to leak through the cardboard box.Amazon is proposing a $78,000 fine in this instance.In both instances, the FAA says the packages did not adhere to the proper shipping requirements, including things like labels and proper shipping papers.As of yesterday, Amazon has been given 30 days to respond to the allegations.
While the company can t compete with the likes of Amazon, Microsoft and Google when it comes to the overall feature set of its nascent cloud platform, Backblaze decided to significantly undercut its competitors pricing when it first announced its B2 cloud storage service last September.Backblaze says more than 15,000 users signed up for the service since the private alpha launch last year.The company is currently using the sixth major revision of its storage servers, which also form the basis of the B2 service.Other features of Backblaze s storage service include the ability to have the company send you snapshots of your files by FedEx on a USB hard drive or flash drive depending on how much data you need to move .The main differentiator for B2 is its price, of course.Budman also noted that Backblaze is looking to open a second data center soon and that the company expects to open a third one around the end of the year.