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WASHINGTON DC: August 19, 2019. U.S. business leaders have decided maximizing shareholder value, to the potential detriment of all else, is no longer the core objective of American companies.

A new statement of purpose published by the US Business Roundtable and signed by 181 CEOs says corporations should exist for the benefit of all stakeholders – customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders.

According to analysis of federal data by America’s largest labour federation, the AFL-CIO, last year the country’s CEOs earned an average US$14.5 million compared to an average US$39,888 for rank-and-file workers.

Now the CEOs want to “promote an economy that serves all Americans”, rather than just a few, by declaring a commitment to: “Delivering value to our customers. We will further the tradition of American companies leading the way in meeting or exceeding customer expectations.

Southwest Airlines pilots“Investing in our employees. This starts with compensating them fairly and providing important benefits. It also includes supporting them through training and education that help develop new skills for a rapidly changing world. We foster diversity and inclusion, dignity and respect.

“Dealing fairly and ethically with our suppliers. We are dedicated to serving as good partners to the other companies, large and small, that help us meet our missions.

“Supporting the communities in which we work. We respect the people in our communities and protect the environment by embracing sustainable practices across our businesses.

“Generating long-term value for shareholders, who provide the capital that allows companies to invest, grow and innovate. We are committed to transparency and effective engagement with shareholders.”

It didn’t take 50 years for Herb Kelleher, the legendary co-founder, CEO and executive chairman of Southwest Airlines who passed away earlier this year, to come to a similar conclusion. When Southwest took to the air in 1971, he famously declared happy employees come first because they make happy returning customers and subsequently happy shareholders.

This month Southwest declared its 172nd consecutive quarterly dividend after a second quarter record net profit of US$741 million by putting employees not shareholders first. Be interesting to see how many employees turn up at any of the memorial services of the signatories to this latest corporate governance iteration from the Business Roundtable.

For Southwest current and former staff, the convention centre in Dallas wasn’t big enough – it could only hold 5,000 of them.

Pictured: Southwest has launched a career programme called ‘Destination 225°’ to become a qualified candidate for future Southwest First Officer positions.

DUBLIN: August 14, 2019. A survey of its members by the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (Ibec), representing 70 percent of the country’s private sector, suggests only half understand the term ‘Circular Economy’ and only 39 percent know of EU initiatives to drive sustainable change.

Conducted by Ibec in association with Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 49 percent of survey respondents agree a more circular economy presents a long-term business opportunity. However, only 10 percent of companies have a specific budget in place and 39 percent say the necessary funding would be a major challenge.

Circle Economy Ireland reportThe circular economy starts at the design phase of a product’s life with the aim of keeping resources in use for a long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them while in use, and finally recovering or regenerating products and materials at the end of each service life.

“There is an emerging consensus globally across business and society of the need to ensure that how we do business and live our lives is more sustainable,” said Ibec head of Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Neil Walker. “Our survey highlights the necessity for an education drive across business, policymakers and wider society of the merits and potential benefits of the circular economy.”

Walker added that new legislation is expected to have an impact on business in Ireland including improved waste management, reduced use of hazardous substances and improved design and re-usability of goods and services.

“The circular economy is the next industrial revolution and defines the future of commercial activity in Ireland and across the world,” declared EPA Programme manager Mary Frances Rochford. “Many world-class Irish companies already recognise this new reality and have adapted their operating models. These companies have reduced costs by cutting wastage and emissions; and have also generated new revenue streams by re-examining how materials move through their business and market. Those who fail to adapt are not only missing new growth opportunities but will also find that legislative developments will put pressure on current wasteful practices.”

Ibec is the largest business lobby group and largest lobbying organisation in Ireland representing business of all sizes spanning every sector of the economy.

ATLANTA: August 15, 2019. UPS Ventures has announced an unspecified minority stake in Chinese-backed autonomous driving technology company TuSimple.

TuSimple is helping UPS better understand the application of Level 4 Autonomous trucking which means the vehicle’s onboard computer is in complete control, despite the presence of a driver.

UPS has been providing truckloads for TuSimple to carry between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona since May this year (pictured), with a driver and engineer in the vehicle. During its peak shipping season, UPS contracts with third-party trucking companies and TuSimple says it can cut such costs by an average 30 percent.

According to the American Trucking Association the shortage of drivers in the US could reach 175,000 by 2024.

“While fully autonomous, driverless vehicles still have development and regulatory work ahead, we are excited by the advances in braking and other technologies that companies like TuSimple are mastering,” declared UPS Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer Scott Price. “All of these technologies offer significant safety and other benefits that will be realized long before the full vision of autonomous vehicles is brought to fruition – and UPS will be there, as a leader implementing these new technologies in our fleet.”

TuSimple self driving truckFounded in 2015, TuSimple is developing technology that allows shipping companies to operate self-driving Class 8 tractor-trailers – those that exceed 33,000 pounds and typically have three or more axles.

In May the U.S. Postal Service awarded the company a contract to perform five round trips hauling USPS trailers more than 1,000 miles between the Postal Service’s Phoenix and Dallas distribution centres. Long-haul routes with short turnaround times, such as this 22 hour journey, are well suited for self- driving trucks because they are normally accomplished with driving teams of two, says TruSimple.

“It is exciting to think that before many people will ride in a robo-taxi, their mail and packages may be carried in a self-driving truck,” commented company founder Xiaodi Hou.

In a related announcement, the latest Cass Information Freight Index has reported a 5.9 percent drop in US freight shipments in July – the eighth month of consecutive declines.

“With the -5.9 percent drop in July, following the -5.3 percent drop in June, and the -6.0 percent drop in May, we repeat our message from last two months: the shipments index has gone from ‘warning of a potential slowdown’ to ‘signaling an economic contraction,’” said report author David Broughton.

“The weakness in spot market pricing for many transportation services, especially trucking, is consistent with the negative Cass Shipments Index and, along with airfreight and railroad volume data, strengthens our concerns about the economy and the risk of ongoing trade policy disputes.

“Weakness in commodity prices, and the decline in interest rates, have joined the chorus of signals calling for an economic contraction,” he added.

The Cass Freight Index accurately measures trends in North American shipping activity based on US$28 billion in paid freight expenses for the Cass customer base of hundreds of large shippers.

Cass report

LILLESTRØM, Norway: June 05, 2019. Six Nordic companies that have formed the Zero Emission Energy Distribution at Sea (ZEEDS) initiative, are proposing an ecosystem of offshore clean energy hubs supplying green ammonia as a zero-emission fuel.

Smart technology provider Wärtsilä is leading the effort joined by engineering experts Aker Solutions; multinational energy major Equinor; engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) leader Kvaerner; ferry and logistics specialist DFDS and shipowner Grieg Star.

The energy hubs would be strategically located close to Northern Europe's busiest shipping corridors capable of producing, storing and distributing renewable fuels to vessels in transit. “Fuel stations placed in a highly-trafficked area such as outside Bornholm or in Skagerak would become the infrastructure,” explained Kvaerner's Kenneth Simonsen, senior vice-president Strategy and M&A. “The entire scheme applies known technologies but combined in new ways in a new environment,” he added.

DFDS Felixstowe“It could of course be scaled up to serve global trade lanes supplying the world fleet. The vision was to look beyond just ships, noted Wartsila's Andrea Morgante, vice president, Strategy and Business Development. “We realised there was a lot of value to be captured in the logistics chain.”

The fuel hubs would be gravity-based structures in shallow regions and potentially semi-submersible floaters in deeper water, with the bunkering buoys either cemented to the seabed or floating in deep water.

ZEEDS' focus on green ammonia as a viable zero-emission fuel is because it can be used on existing LNG-powered vessels without major modifications. But Margaret Mistry, Strategy & Innovation Manager at Equinor, said the proposal is “fuel agnostic” because multiple energy sources including hydrogen could work. Data calculations show each hub could produce enough ammonia to supply 65 vessels per day.

Chief business process officer Matt Duke of Grieg Star noted: “Knowing what technologies and fuel types will become available in the short to medium term is key for us, so we can utilise them to deliver on our commitment to sustainable shipping in an environmentally and financially productive way. It'll be a problem for our children and grandchildren if we don't address decarbonisation. We have to get cracking.”

DFDS project manager Innovation and Technology Sif Lundsberg concluded: “I don't see black shipping in 2050. We need to change.”

MIAMI: May 07, 2019. Event organiser Messe München has confirmed Miami is the future home of the bi-annual Air Cargo Forum (ACF) on behalf of The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), which will continue to provide support with industry expertise.

MIA Convention Center“With the air cargo forum Miami, we are enriching our cluster of topics of international transport logistic and air cargo exhibitions – and our customers will receive more planning certainty and can leverage synergies in our global network,” said Board member Gerhard Gerritzen.

The Messe Munchen expo network includes airfreight events in Munich, Shanghai, Mumbai, Johannesburg, Istanbul and now also Miami.

“We have won an internationally leading trade fair partner with Messe München. Together with the content expertise of TIACA, we are creating a basis for strong development in the future for the air cargo forum Miami,” added Steven Polmans, TIACA vice chairman. “We especially see great potential in a multimodal expansion. Miami is the North American gateway to the whole world, and the ACF is a mandatory date for all those who want to benefit from this international connectivity.”

The next ACF will take place at the Miami Beach Convention Center from November 10 to 12, 2020.

PORTO, Portugal: May 27, 2019. Logistics incubator Maersk Growth, part of A.P. Moller-Maersk, has invested US$1.5 million in fashion logistics startup HUUB, following an initial €2.5 investment from Portuguese venture capital company Pathena last year.

HUUB’s platform integrates with e-commerce sites to provide production follow-up, picking, storage, stock management, order fulfillment, packing, and shipping. The company’s algorithms also analyse sales to prevent understocking.

HUUB staff “We were looking for ‘smart money’ that means we wanted to ensure that, besides having the financial capabilities, our new partner could also bring value to the company,” said co-founder and CEO Luis Roque. “Maersk Growth undoubtedly represents the biggest player in this industry, and we are sure that they will continue to be a fundamental partner in HUUB’s growth.”

With the new funding, HUUB says it plans to triple the number of brands in its portfolio, expand its European logistics operations and hire more employees to further develop its commercial strategies and technology.

“We have been following HUUB and were impressed with its solution to the supply chain for fashion brands and its fast growth both in terms of customers and revenue,” said Maersk Growth partner Tobias Elmquist. “Leveraging Maersk’s industry expertise and global network we look forward to supporting HUUBs plans to further accelerate business growth.”

HUUB plans to close 2019 with a revenue of €3.5 million, a growth of around 200 percent year-on-year. The startup has also seen a 47 percent increase in brands in the first half of the year over the whole of 2018.

“Ever since we lead last year’s investment round, we knew that there would be an opportunity to strengthen this seed with a relevant strategic partner,” said Vítor Dinis, managing partner and CFO of Pathena. “Maersk Growth is exactly that player, which not only brings financial support but also the global structure needed to accompany HUUB’s global growth.”

Kerry cold chain jvHONG KONG: May 07, 2019. Kerry Logistics is looking to capitalise on China’s fast-growing niche-food market with the launch of its Kerry Cold Chain Solution (Kerry Cold Chain).

Kerry Cold Chain is a joint venture company formed with Shanghai Zhizhen Logistics Co Ltd (‘Zhizhen Logistics’) in which Kerry Logistics holds the majority interest. It provides comprehensive integrated cold chain logistics solutions from upstream to downstream.

Using self-owned cold chain facilities and partnering with local expertise, Kerry Cold Chain will handle a wide range of food products, from raw ingredients to dairy product additives.

Edwardo Erni, Managing Director - China and North Asia of Kerry Logistics, said, “The market for food-related cold chain logistics in mainland China is immense with enormous growth potential. There is also ample room for technological growth to reach international standards.

"Intending to fill a gap in the market, we welcome the collaboration with Zhizhen Logistics, which marks an important strategic step for Kerry Logistics to extend its footprint in the domestic cold chain logistics market, enhancing our service offerings and competitiveness.”

Kerry Cold Chain currently operates more than 1 million sq ft of ambient and cold chain facilities in China, including a temperature-controlled facility of over 50,000 sq ft in Shanghai featuring automated storage and retrieval systems.

Founded in 2008, Zhizhen Logistics serves the logistics needs of both domestic and international customers from locations across China including Beijing, Tianjin, Wuhan, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. It commands a 90% market share for imported food essences in the Shanghai region.

With a wealth of experience in cold chain logistics, Kerry Logistics offers seamless F&B solutions with complete cold chain integrity to food chain stores and restaurants in Hong Kong as well as hypermarkets and frozen food retailers in Taiwan.

The Group also runs cold chain facilities of 70,000 sq ft in Oceania, serving supermarket chains, convenience stores, independent retailers, and food importers.

LONDON: May 17, 2019. UK-based restaurant food delivery company Deliveroo says Amazon is leading a new US$575 million funding round, alongside existing investors T. Rowe Price, Fidelity Management and Research and Greenoaks.

Founded in 2013 by William Shu and Greg Orlowski, the company says it has now raised US$1.53 billion to deliver food from 80,000 restaurants to consumers in 14 countries.

Deliveroo food companyDeliveroo says the new money will enable it to offer more work for an estimated 60,000 freelance riders and help restaurants to grow their businesses by reaching new customers.

"We're impressed with Deliveroo's approach, and their dedication to providing customers with an ever-increasing selection of great restaurants along with convenient delivery options," said Doug Gurr, Amazon UK Country manager. "Will and his team have built an innovative technology and service, and we're excited to see what they do next."

Deliveroo operates in over 500 towns and cities in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, UAE, Kuwait and the UK.

"Amazon has been an inspiration to me personally and to the company, and we look forward to working with such a customer-obsessed organisation,” declared founder and CEO Will Shu. "This new investment will help [us] to grow and to offer customers even more choice, tailored to their personal tastes, offer restaurants greater opportunities to grow and expand their businesses, and to create more flexible, well-paid work for riders.”

Deliveroo says the top ten dishes delivered on behalf of restuarants and fast-food outlets in 2018 were: 1) Pad Thaï from Thaï at Home, Paris; 2) Cheeseburger from Five Guys, London; 3) Sushi Lovers Poke Bowl from CALI-POKE, Dubai; 4) Burrito from Boojum, Dublin; 5) Bubble Tea from Tenren's Tea, Hong Kong; 6) Grilled Chicken Burrito from Guzman Y Gomez, Sydney; 7) Burrito from Gonzalez & Co, Barcelona; 8) Beef Burger from Tommi's Burger Joint, Berlin; 9) Poke Bowl from Temakery, Amsterdam; and 10) 2 Hot Wings® from KFC, Brighton.

SEATTLE: May 01, 2019. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced an initial release in Northern Virginia of its Amazon Managed Blockchain (AMB) offering for customers to create and manage scalable blockchain networks.

The company claims customers who want multiple parties to execute transactions and maintain a cryptographically verifiable record of them without the need for a trusted, central authority, can now setup a blockchain network over multiple AWS accounts using open source frameworks like Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum.

Amazon says its new AMB service is designed for customers in the finance, logistics, retail and energy sectors that need to execute contracts and share data with an immutable record of the transactions without each blockchain member providing hardware, install software, create and manage certificates for access control, and configure network settings.

Amazon blockchain“Customers want to use blockchain frameworks like Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum to create blockchain networks so they can conduct business quickly, with an immutable record of transactions, but without the need for a centralized authority. However, they find these frameworks difficult to install, configure, and manage,” explained Rahul Pathak, AMB general manager. “Amazon Managed Blockchain takes care of provisioning nodes, setting up the network, managing certificates and security, and scaling the network. Customers can now get a functioning blockchain network set up quickly and easily, so they can focus on application development instead of keeping a blockchain network up and running.”

In addition to making it easy to set up and manage, AMB also provides simple APIs that allow customers to vote on memberships in their networks and to scale up or down more easily.

“Blockchain is far more than just Bitcoin or cryptocurrency. It’s changing the way companies do business and giving us a new way to solve complex business problems,” said Andy Daudelin, AT&T Business vice president Alliances Business Development who’s company includes AMB in its blockchain suite.

“Transparency in supply chains is increasingly important to consumers, who want to know what is in their food and where it comes from,” added Armin Nehzat, Digital Technology manager, Nestlé Oceania. “With [AMB] we are able to set up our Hyperledger Fabric network and easily invite our partners to collaborate in our supply chain transparency efforts. Amazon Managed Blockchain will enable our customers to track their products on the blockchain from the farm all the way through to consumption.”

DHL drone service in ChinaBONN/ GUANGZHOU: May 16, 2019. DHL Express and drone manufacturer EHang have partnered to launch a fully automated Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) delivery solution for last-mile delivery in urban areas of China.

The EHang Falcon smart drone, which can carry up to five kilos per flight, takes off and lands on intelligent cabinets that were developed for the fully autonomous loading and offloading of shipments.

The drone operates an eight kilometres route between a customer’s facility and a DHL service center in Liaobu, Dongguan, Guangdong Province. The company claims it is the first international express company to provide such a service in China.

The result is a cut in delivery time from 40 minutes to eight and an 80 percent reduction in costs plus carbon emissions compared to a truck.

“Together with DHL we are very glad to bring the first smart drone delivery service route to China in Guangzhou; this marks a new beginning in building air logistics for smart cities,” declared EHang founder H Huazhi. “Riding on today’s launch, we expect smart drone delivery as an innovative logistics solution to be expanded and realized in more areas, and we look forward to working with DHL in building the eco-system for a multi-dimensional urban air transport system.”

ANTWERP: May 02, 2019. Thousands of industry professionals will gather at the Antwerp Expo in the Port of Antwerp next week when AntwerpXL 2019, the inaugural event for the breakbulk, RoRo and heavy lift industries, opens its doors.

Over 100 companies, including Boeckmans, Wallenius Wilhelmsen (WW), Fast Lines Belgium and MSC Belgium, will use the event’s platform to showcase market-leading products and services, launch new technologies and make major announcements to a captive international audience.

Roll It CargoWW Solutions will highlight its global terminal network and handling capacities for breakbulk cargo, including storage, loading and discharge capabilities via rail, barge, RoRo and LoLo. The company will also highlight its deep-sea solutions for breakbulk and project cargo; a fleet of 120 vessels, all able to accommodate cargo stretching up to 6.5 metres tall and weighing up to 400 tonnes.

Both Central Oceans and Rollit Cargo (pictured) will show a range of services to facilitate the transport of oversized, complicated and project related cargoes. Atlas Shipping Services is also exhibiting at the event, along with its three business partners, United Cargo Management, Vision Log – Centaurea Group and Peter Rathmann & Co.

All four organisations will demonstrate how they handle projects, heavy lift shipments, breakbulk and full charters in different types of machineries. In addition, Caribbean Line & Soreidom will showcase its expertise in logistics and the transport of dry-bulk products, project cargo, heavy-lift and transports for exporters and industrial companies.

MSC Belgium will highlights its recent investment into project cargo and RoRo shipments. The company now owns two large ConRo vessels as part of its fleet. At AntwerpXL, it will discuss how these vessels, which are more environmentally friendly than others operating between Antwerp and West Africa, have a ramp capacity of 350 tonnes and a deck height of up to six metres.

AntwerpXL will also host a range of entirely service-led industry organisations, including a new legal flat monthly service from LMA Legal, whereby clients can obtain legal advice on any matter related to their daily breakbulk business.

Over 40 major names will deliver in-depth presentations, Q&A sessions and debates on the Main Deck Stage, covering innovation, digitisation and lessons from disruptors in the breakbulk, maritime and project cargo industry.

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