Today's Top Supply Chain and Logistics News From WSJ
By Paul Page
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FedEx Corp.'s new order for regional cargo planes is a testament to the impact online commerce is having on distribution channels. FedEx will buy up to 50 turboprop planes from ATR in a deal valued at $1.3 billion at list price, the WSJ's Robert Wall reports, giving the European aircraft maker a foundation for what it hopes will be a growing market for smaller freighters. Such aircraft don't usually command much investment in express networks, but FedEx suggests the cargo version of the ATR 72-600 plane will fill an important role in a changing delivery market. The new design allows FedEx to carry larger and heavier shipments than usual in the regional service, a boost for freight business and for the bigger goods that online sales are pushing into distribution networks. The new turboprops will help FedEx sell customers on moving goods by air, an option that's faster but more expensive than using a truck but cheaper than adding more distribution centers.
Sophisticated logistics is helping build a new business in a rarely-touched corner of the food market: Leftovers. A series of startups with names like ReFED, Spoiler Alert and FoodMaven are pushing into U.S. distribution channels they say waste billions of dollars in food every year, the WSJ's Heather Haddon writes, and they're working with companies from wholesale suppliers to restaurants to get the food moving in new and potentially profitable directions. That includes convincing industrial distributors like Sysco Corp., Aramark Corp. and Sodexo SA to add nodes to their supply chains. The key is to move fast when companies end up with excess supplies, find new markets for food that might otherwise be thrown out and get the goods sold and delivered in good condition. They're helped by attempts by big grocers and restaurant chains to cut the food waste, which the startups say means better managing inventory even after it's arrived.
Chinese and U.S. companies are striking new business deals as President Donald Trump arrives in China, but a bigger agreement on trade may be more elusive. The deals, valued at an estimated total of $9 billion, are designed to set a positive tone for Mr. Trump's visit, the WSJ's Eva Dou and Jeremy Page write, even though China's trade surplus with the U.S. remains large and is likely to grow sharply this year. Among the new deals are agreements by General Electric Co., DowDuPont Inc. and others with Chinese counterparts. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the deal show how the U.S. and China can "productively" increase trade. Still, the skew toward export contracts reflects the Trump administration's difficult progress on more fundamental China trade issues, such as barriers to entry for U.S. companies to key Chinese sectors. The White House is working on broader complaints about China's trade practices, and groups including agriculture exporters say they worry that a strong U.S. push could trigger retaliatory tariffs.
ECONOMY & TRADE
Pacific rim countries are trying to revive the region's sweeping trade deal, even if the pact's biggest member won't take part. Trade negotiators led by Japan are meeting in Vietnam this week seeking a revised version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, looking past Mr. Trump's move to withdraw the U.S. from TPP. They're seeking to do that by essentially carving the U.S. out of the agreement, the WSJ's Ben Otto reports, by suspending clauses that the U.S. had backed in negotiations under former President Barack Obama. A new deal would bring together nations with a combined GDP of more than $10 trillion. It is a far cry from what the pact would have been with the U.S., but experts say it would still wield strategic significance and would leave the door open for the U.S. to join later. It could also send the strongest message yet that the countries reject Mr. Trump's call for bilateral deals rather than multi-nation agreements.
IN OTHER NEWS
China's imports soared 17.2% in October while exports rose 6.1%. (WSJ)
Total SA is buying French utility Engie SA's liquefied-natural gas business in a deal that would make it the second-largest LNG player among Western firms. (WSJ)
Sales at Sears Holdings Corp.'s remaining stores plunged 17% in the third quarter. (WSJ)
OPEC doesn't expect global demand for oil to peak before 2040, although the cartel expects demand growth to slow soon. (WSJ)
Amazon.com Inc. is adding a third fulfillment center in the Baltimore area, at a site that includes FedEx Corp. and Under Armour Inc. operations. (Baltimore Sun)
General Mills Inc. will place a distribution center in a logistics park under development near Joliet, Ill. (Kankakee Daily-Journal)
Best Buy Co. is building a 550,000-square-foot distribution center southwest of Houston. (Houston Chronicle)
British online grocer Ocado Group PLC says adding 1,000 robots to its warehouses dramatically reduced order fulfillment times. (Bloomberg)
Ford Motor Co. will work with China's Anhui Zotye Automobile Co. to make and sell electric vehicles in China. (Hong Kong Standard)
China gave conditional approval to Maersk Line's acquisition of German container lineHamburg Sud. (Reuters)
Mediterranean Shipping Co. says its new megaships will have record capacity surpassing 23,000 20-foot equivalent units. (Splash 24/7)
The East Coast dockworkers union will talk with port employers about extending their contract beyond the customary five years. (Journal of Commerce)
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross divested his interests in tanker operator Diamond S Shipping and is selling his stake in Navigator Holdings. (>> Center Bancorp, Inc.)
A report says delays in new tanker deliveries will keep crude shipping rates from falling next year. (Lloyd's List)
United Parcel Service Inc. joined a group seeking to guide development of blockchain technology in shipping. (DC Velocity)
Brazilian load-matching business CargoX raised $20 million in a new funding round led by Goldman Sachs. (TechCrunch)
Restaurant delivery company Postmates is adding groceries to its service. (The Verge)
Two officers of an MSC container ship were arrested in Italy on suspicion of involvement in the death of the ship's captain. (Maritime-Executive)
Paul Page is deputy editor of WSJ Logistics Report. Follow him at @PaulPage, and follow the entire WSJ Logistics Report team: @brianjbaskin , @jensmithWSJ and @EEPhillips_WSJ. Follow the WSJ Logistics Report on Twitter at @WSJLogistics.
Write to Paul Page at firstname.lastname@example.org