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SEATTLE: August 25, 2016. Amazon has launched Amazon Vehicles, a platform for U.S. customers to research for cars, participate in an online community – and order parts.

Amazon Vehicles 3Buyers can now view specifications, images, videos and customer reviews for thousands of new and classic car models on Amazon.com, including everything from the 2016 Jeep Wrangler and 2014 Tesla Model S to the 2000 Chevrolet Corvette and 1965 Ford Mustang.

"Our goal is to support customers during one of the most important, research-intensive purchases in their lives by helping them make informed decisions every step of the way," said Adam Goetsch, director of Automotive at Amazon.com. "Amazon Vehicles is a great resource for customers who are interested in car information or looking for a broad selection of parts and accessories – all enhanced by the ability to tap into the knowledge, opinions, and experiences of other car owners within the Amazon customer community," he added.

Customers can now view comprehensive data and reviews for thousands of new and classic car models; browse thousands of customer reviews; add information about their current car for shopping parts and accessories; and then shop for them from the Amazon Automotive store for delivery based on the company's existing shipping options.

WASHINGTON, DC: August 17, 2016. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have published new standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks that would lower CO2 emissions by 1.1 billion tonnes and save vehicle owners fuel costs of about US$170 billion.

The EPA said the program is the result of four years of extensive testing and research and covers model years between 2018 and 2027 for trailers, semi-trucks, large pickup trucks, vans, and all types of buses and work trucks.

According to the agency, the buyer of a new truck/trailer in 2027 could recoup the extra cost of the technology in less than two years through fuel savings. In total, the program is expected to produce US$230 billion in net benefits to society over the lifetime of the new vehicles.

Lowes Smart WayNon-profit group Ceres, which directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk that represents over 120 institutional investors with collective assets of more than US$14 trillion, said it welcomed the new standards.

Carol Lee Rawn, director of the Ceres transportation program said: "This is great news for the trucking industry and companies that are concerned about reducing their shipping costs. Because these vehicles are so large, even small improvements in fuel economy yield significant cost-savings through reduced oil use."

U.S. retailer Lowe's (right) is the only EPA shipper partner to receive six 'SmartWay' awards for environmental excellence in supply chains.

Rawn said the final standards are stronger than originally proposed and noted the Obama Administration has done more to reduce America's oil dependence than any other.

"Vehicles covered under the new rules comprise just 5 percent of those on the road, but consume 20 percent of U.S. transportation fuel. Transportation just overtook electricity as the largest source of U.S. emissions and trucking is the fastest growing source of emissions in the sector," she added.

According to Ceres, in April this year several U.S. natural food producers and their parent companies and retailers - including Annie's, General Mills, and Patagonia - cited this research when they encouraged federal agencies to adopt more ambitious standards.

In June Volkswagen reached an agreement with the U.S., the State of California and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to spend up to US$14.7 billion to settle allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers.

OEGSTGEEST, Netherlands: August 08, 2016. The Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) says reported cargo theft in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region was 93 percent higher in the second quarter (Q2) of 2016 compared to the same period last year.

TAPA said the reported value of losses for the first six months of 2016 was €27.31 million.

TAPA theftsDuring Q2, companies recorded cargo losses in 18 countries throughout EMEA including 21 major thefts with a loss value of €100,000 or more. The UK accounted for eight of the total number including the biggest single loss of €3,1 million following a violent robbery in Northamptonshire. Other incidents included the theft of €3 million in watches from two safes in Paris and €1 million worth of hazelnuts from a warehouse in Piedmont, Northern Italy.

The association said 91.4 percent of all reported crimes in the period occurred in just six countries: the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Russia and Italy.

Of the 598 new cargo crimes in Q2, 527 were thefts or attempted thefts involving trucks with most taking place at unsecured parking locations - often when drivers are required to take mandatory rest breaks. There were also 21 cases of truck hijackings, 10 in South Africa and six in Italy.

TAPA said it had received information on losses in 18 product categories with seven averaging at least one theft a week in Q2:

• Furniture/Household Appliances with 42 incidents or 7.0 percent of the Q2 total
• Clothing & Footwear - 34 or 5.7 percent
• Cosmetics & Hygiene – 32 or 5.4 percent
• Tools/Building Materials – 23 or 3.9 percent
• Tobacco – 22 or 3.7 percent
• Car Parts – 18 or 3 percent
• Tyres – 14 or 2.3 percent

Chairman of TAPA EMEA Thorsten Neumann commented: "These figures should be a great cause for concern for all manufacturers and logistics service providers because they clearly show the escalation of cargo crime.

"People wrongly assume that our crime data relates entirely to incidents suffered by TAPA EMEA members. In fact, very few of these losses were suffered by our members because of the risk management strategies they have put in place, including adoption of the TAPA Security Standards," he added.

BRUSSELS: July 20, 2016. The European Commission (EC) has fined truck manufacturers Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF over €2.9 billion for 14 years of price fixing while they passed on the costs of emissions' compliance to customers.

The EC said MAN escaped a fine because it was the whistleblower - and added that an ongoing investigation into truck manufacturer Scania is not covered by the current settlement.

According to the Commission, between 1997 and 2004 senior managers from the other five manufacturers met at trade fairs to fix the factory price of trucks weighing from six to over 16 tonnes, the timing for introducing new emissions technologies, and the passing on to customers of any related costs.

Daimler truckThe EC said that after 2004, the cartel was organised via the truck producers' German subsidiaries, with participants exchanging information electronically.

"We have today put down a marker by imposing record fines for a serious infringement. In all, there are over 30 million trucks on European roads, which account for around three quarters of inland transport of goods in Europe and play a vital role for the European economy," said EC commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager. "It is not acceptable that MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF, which together account for around nine out of every 10 medium and heavy trucks produced in Europe, were part of a cartel instead of competing with each other," she added.

Daimler received the highest fine of just over €1.0 billion followed by DAF (€752.6 million), Volvo/Renault (€670.4 million) and Iveco (€494.6 million).

Jos Dings, executive director at NGO watchdog Transport & Environment (T&E) commented: "This is a big fine, but not at all extreme if you look at the enormous scale of this cartel – all trucks sold in Europe over 14 years. After this verdict truck makers need to change, but so too do regulators by creating competition on environmental performance. Introducing fuel economy standards is one key way of doing that."

T&E said the EC's verdict showed the collusion by the truck manufacturers was not just immoral but illegal: "Unfortunately none of the €2.93 billion settlement fine has actually been dedicated towards remediation of environmental damage," added Dings. "The fine could have well been directed towards research and development of cleaner, more energy efficient vehicles, or the accelerated electrification of transport."

Established in 1990, T&E represents around 50 organizations across Europe working for sustainable transport policies. It has observer status at ICAO via the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation, and is a member of the Clean Shipping Coalition that has similar status at the International Maritime Organisation.

LONDON: Britain's Road Haulage Association (RHA) has urged trucking companies operating between the port of Dover and France to obtain UK Border Force (UKBF) accreditation to avoid fines of £2,000 per illegal migrant found in their trailers.

The RHA was reacting to news that penalties imposed on truck drivers and their companies have tripled in the past three years from nearly 1,000 to over 3,300 in 2014/2015.

The UKBF code of practice requires trucking companies to train their drivers, provide basic protection for vehicles and carry out checks. "Hauliers and drivers have to do the best they can in the face of an escalating crisis with migrants," said the RHA.

port of doverAccording to the association, the security requirements are well known to established cross-Channel trucking companies and are similar to what many firms would normally do to ensure their trailers are sealed. The RHA added it "very rarely receives complaints from members relating specifically to the UKBF code of practice".

"The broader issue of migrants is a complete nightmare for our members", declared RHA chief executive Richard Burnett. "We again call on the French government to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that migrants are separated from lorries in the Calais area; and we call on the UK government to support that more strongly in its dealings with the French government. For several weeks we have been calling on the French to deploy their military and the need for them to do so is now clear to everyone."

Burnett said it is impossible for drivers to prevent 5,000 determined migrants getting into their trucks whether they are following the UKBF code of practice or not.

"We need urgent action to protect drivers, their vehicles and their loads when moving through the Calais are and we are simply not getting that," he added.

"The authorities are failing in their duty of care towards our industry and the result is chaos in Calais, losses for transport companies that are simply trying to do their job, drivers increasingly refusing to do the work, the UK supply chain incurring massive costs that will drive up the price of food and goods in the shops, and massive disruption in Kent due to queuing lorries," Burnett concluded.

Meanwhile the trade association that represents companies responsible for handling much of the UK's visible trade has given a cautious welcome to the proposed use of Manston Airport in Kent as a truck park as an alternative to the M20 highway.

 

Robert Keen, director general of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) said: "It's only a short term fix, and will increase fuel costs, but we understand that this is a site where 2,000 lorries can be held."

Keen added that his association was still insisting British and French governments "fulfil their obligations to let trade move unhindered before serious damage is done to this strategic freight route".

BRUSSELS: May 30, 2016. IKEA, Nestlé, Philips, DB Schenker, Deutsche Post DHL, Mercadona, Colruyt and Kingfisher are among 19 global brands that have told European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker his regime must introduce fuel efficiency standards for new trucks and trailers by 2020.

The companies say the move would save businesses billions of euros, lead to cheaper goods, protect the environment and boost energy independence.

Road transport currently accounts for one-fifth of Europe’s carbon emissions, and while trucks make up less than 5.0 percent of all road vehicles, they are responsible for 25 percent of road transport’s fuel use and carbon emissions.

Nestle milk Meeting the EU’s 2030 climate targets as well as the more challenging targets of the Paris climate deal will require major efforts in the road freight sector said the companies in a letter to Juncker.

Bart Vandewaetere, Nestlé’s assistant-vice president Relations with European Institutions noted: “Nestlé is working, together with our supply chain partners, to cut transport fuel consumption and GHG emissions by another 10 percent by 2020 (versus 2014), on top of already made reductions. We do this by efficiency optimizations such as routing, avoiding of empty runs and using at maximum the available vehicle capacities. Increasing the fuel efficiency of trucks will give the transport industry the required boost to further reduce overall CO2-emissions after 2020, when most of the other options have been fully exploited.”

Nestlé’ (right) is currently celebrating its 150 anniversary in the historic district of Vevey, Switzerland where Henri Nestlé invented his ‘farine lactée’ and established his first production plant.

In the letter to Juncker the company said it costs €35,000 per year to fuel tractor-trailers – costs which are then passed on to consumers through higher-priced products. Nestlé and the other members of the group argue that a 35 percent improvement in efficiency would save businesses up to €10,000 per year, per truck, while reducing annual carbon emissions by 37 million tonnes by 2030. “This would help big shippers, freight forwarders and hauliers to scale up their voluntary emissions reduction commitments and help the EU meet its ambitious climate goals,” they said.

Ewald Kaiser, CEO of DB Schenker Region Europe and board member for Land Transport pointed out: “Political framework decisions should provide balanced incentives for best-in-class performers in order to drive innovation.”

William Todts, freight director at sustainable transport group Transport & Environment added: [EC] “Commissioner Cañete has said truck CO2 standards are essential and he’s right. More fuel-efficient trucks will save hauliers money, boost the economy and protect the environment. It’s time for the Juncker Commission to follow the example of the U.S., China and Japan and set ambitious truck fuel economy standards.”

HOOFDORP, the Netherlands: As part of a new 'Move More By Road' initiative, TNT is to invest €185 million in its European road network over the next four years in a bid to improve performance, productivity and service.

The investment will cover automation equipment, facilities, planning tools and trailers for hubs in France, Germany, the UK, Benelux, Spain, Poland and Sweden.

TNT CEO and employeesThe announcement coincided with the company reporting nine-month income of €4.9 billion – down year-on-year by 4.9 percent; a 52.5 percent increase in operating income to €183 million; and a 101.7 percent drop in net cash from operations to minus €35 million for the period. Profit after tax fell from minus €153 million to minus €55 million.

Revenue for the third quarter ending September 30 was €1.64 billion, down 2.0 percent from last year, and profit for the period fell from €3 million to minus €56 million. Despite a €50 million provision against an expected fine by the French Competition Commission, the company said it ended the quarter with €414 million in net cash – up from €346 in Q3 2013.

Commenting on the third quarter TNT CEO Tex Gunning (front, right) said that despite limited visibility on European trading conditions, every company segment made a positive contribution "apart from Europe Other & Americas where performance was broadly flat". He said TNT continued to make progress on its 'Deliver!' cost- saving program that had saved €28m during the quarter and is expected to save €120 million by the end of 2014.

As part of its 'Outlook' productivity improvement strategy that now includes the road network investment, in September the company announced a re-branding exercise from 'Yes We Can' to 'The People Network'. Gunning explained: "We have a clear strategy to focus on our greatest strengths: our people, their human approach to serving customers and our unique network. Customers are not barcodes and we are not robots. We all relate to what drives our customers: business growth with a personal touch. Taking time to understand what customers really need distinguishes us from others."

MONTREAL: April 05, 2016. Dicom Transportation Group, a provider of expedited transport and logistics services, is to launch a Canada/U.S. cross border ground parcel service in mid-2016.

The new service will link Ontario and Quebec with 12 U.S. states from Maine to Virginia. The company said other Canadian provinces would be served via existing Dicom partners.

The move follows a string of acquisitions last year by Dicom and private equity company Wind Point Partners based in Chicago. Wind Point acquired Dicom in February 2014 with former RoadRunner president Scott Dobak as CEO.

DICOMIn June 2015 Dicom purchased Orbis Logistics for final mile distribution in the Southeast and Midwest U.S.; the following month it bought Los Angeles-based Extra Express for final mile delivery on the West Coast; in September it added Rhode Island-based parcel delivery company Eastern Connection to its portfolio; in October the company acquired Modern Forwarding based in Windsor, Ontario to boost its Customs clearance and U.S.-Canada cross-border business; and in February this year it bought Advanced Distribution with extensive cross‐dock facilities and dedicated truck fleet to provide final mile delivery throughout the U.S. Mid-West.

Konrad Salaber, a principal at Wind Point noted: "Advanced represents our largest add‐on acquisition to date and significantly expands Dicom's scope of service. With more than 50 facilities, 2,500 dedicated delivery providers, and well over C$400 million in annual sales, Dicom is emerging as one of North America's leading transportation and logistics companies."

Commenting on the impending Canada/U.S. transborder operation, Dicom chief commercial officer Ken Nadler added: "The new service will create efficiencies and value for cross border shippers in need of fast and reliable ground parcel transportation. As part of the Dicom standard service, we will reach points in two days that other carriers view as a more expensive upgrade."

ATLANTA: United Parcel Service (UPS) has been authorized by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) to transmit hazardous material information electronically, by phone, or fax starting in June this year.

The new permit only affects UPS small package domestic shipments using tractor-trailer operations between its facilities and the customer. UPS Freight and other services will still be required to carry hard-copy documents for hazardous materials.Propane PERC UPS

"We made it a priority to cut red tape and improve efficiency and moved expeditiously with this special permit," said PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman. "Sharing hazmat information electronically will improve transportation efficiency without sacrificing public safety."

Sam Elkind, UPS corporate regulated goods manager added. "This new procedure not only creates new efficiencies, but will also reduce overall paperwork and streamline the reporting process if an accident or emergency situation occurs."

In a related move, UPS is to spend $70 million to set up an initial 50 U.S. fueling stations to support the introduction of 1,000 new propane-powered trucks. The new fleet will replace gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles in rural areas of Louisiana and Oklahoma and each will be able to travel 200 miles on a single tank of propane.

With operations beginning by mid-2014 and completed early next year, the new fleet is expected to travel more than 25 million miles and replace the consumption of 3.5 million gallons of gasoline and diesel a year. UPS says it is benefitting from propane price stability resulting from increased natural gas production in the U.S.

The company currently operates 3,150 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles in the U.S. including all -electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, CNG, LNG, propane, biomethane, and lightweight fuel-saving composite body vehicles.

GREENWICH, CT: XPO Logistics is to acquire Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Con-way for US$3.0 billion including US$290 million in net debt.

All of the company's divisions - Con-way Freight, Menlo Logistics, Con-way Truckload and Con-way Multimodal - will be rebranded as XPO Logistics.

The transaction is expected to close in October 2015, subject to regulatory approvals and a successful completion of the stock offer. As a result, XPO said it would increase annual operating profit by up to US$210 million over the next two years from "cost savings and operational improvements".

Con-way truckCon-way - which began as an intercity trucking company in Portland, OR in 1929 - is expected to produce 2015 revenue of US$5.7 billion, an EBITDA of US$528 million, and make XPO the second largest less-than-truckload (LTL) provider in North America while simultaneously expanding its contract logistics services.

Morgan Stanley is providing US$2.0 billion in support of the planned purchase.

XPO chairman and CEO Bradley Jacobs said the purchase was an "opportunistic" positioning for his company in North America's US$35 billion less-than-truckload market. "LTL is a non-commoditized, high-value-add business that's used by nearly all of our customers. Con-way is a premier platform that we will run with a fresh set of eyes as part of our broader offering. Importantly, we'll gain strategic ownership of assets that will benefit our company and our customers during periods of tight capacity."

Jacobs said the acquisition would double XPO's pro-forma EBITDA in 2015 to US$1.1 billion and increase revenue to US$15 billion. He added: "Another crown jewel in this transaction is Con-way's subsidiary, Menlo Logistics. Menlo serves blue chip contract logistics customers in verticals such as high tech, healthcare and retail, which complement the verticals we serve at XPO."

The company said Con-way's truckload fleet would grow XPO's global ground transportation network to 19,000-owned tractors and 46,000-owned trailers, 10,000 trucks contracted through independent owner operators, and access to more than 50,000 independent carriers.

GLAND, Switzerland: A report from the WWF says the growing demand for renewable energy could put pressure on the supply of critical materials required in the production of a renewable energy infrastructure.

The WWF concludes it is possible for renewable energy to fuel the world if supply chain bottlenecks can be overcome by applying the right technologies.

DHL-WIn a nod to the reverse logistics industry, WWF's Global Climate & Energy Initiative leader Samantha Smith comments: "Energy conservation and energy efficiency as well as substantive enhancement of recycling and reuse of key materials are the bedrock conditions required to ensure the world has abundant supply of these minerals."

WWF Global Energy Policy director Stephan Singer adds the growing demand for mobile phones, flat screen TVs, computers and batteries is leading to increased competition for the same materials used in the renewables sector.

To avoid a growing supply chain bottleneck, Singer says major economies need to promote material recycling and drive substantial technological development to ensure critical materials remain available.

The WWF reports says recycling and reuse is the best way to avoid the most critical supply bottlenecks of raw materials such as lithium and cobalt – currently used in electric vehicles.

Ecofys director of Science Kornelis Blok, responsible for the research, adds: "The report provides important guidance to technology and system suppliers. It may help them to make the right choices in making their products future-proof."

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