UPS van in snow holiday peak season feature

Heavy Volume, Weather Compounding Holiday Peak Strain

| Mike O'Brien

Heading in the home stretch of the holiday peak season in an extraordinary year, and past the cutoffs for Christmas delivery by ground at major parcel carriers, transit time performance is holding up well even though expected delays reports are popping up. Vaccine delivery and heavy weather are compounding matters.

FedEx robot sort arm

FedEx Express Adds Robotic Arms to Help Handle Ecommerce Surge

| Mike O'Brien

This month, FedEx Express installed four robotic arms inside a sortation hub in its hometown of Memphis, in response to demands placed on its services in the midst of the massive pandemic-influenced surge in ecommerce orders. Yaskawa America supplied the robotic arms and Plus One provided the software system.

Locus robots feature

Locus Robotics Raises $40 Million in New Funding Round

| Mike O'Brien

Locus Robotics, makers of autonomous mobile robots for carriers and 3PLs like UPS, DHL, Ceva Logistics, Taylored Services and ShipMonk, has raised more than $40 million in a Series D funding led Zebra Ventures, along with existing investors like Scale Venture Partners.

Amazon Air Could Reach Parity with UPS By 2027 or 2028, Study Finds

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon Air is projected to have 200 cargo jets in its fleet by 2027 or 2028, bringing it close to parity with UPS if the latter doesn’t expand significantly, according to a study from DePaul University. The study said Amazon Air has grown to 42 planes since its launch in 2016, with plans to expand to 70 by 2021, putting it on par with DHL.

Political Battle Over USPS Future, Fed Bailout Continues as Mail Declines

| Mike O'Brien

While the USPS gets tossed around like a political football and threatens insolvency without more federal aid, the agency continues to report poor results as already lower mail rates have fallen through the floor due to coronavirus. Meantime, Trump ally, donor and fundraiser Louis DeJoy will be the new Postmaster General.

Coronavirus: Amazon, Whole Foods, Instacart Walkouts, Workers Sick

| Mike O'Brien

While ecommerce was initially thought to be a boon during the coronavirus crisis, with stores and malls in lockdown, execution is proving to be anything but as a growing chorus of drivers and facility associates complain about the danger of exposure. Workers at Amazon, Instacart and Whole Foods staged protest walkouts.

Package Lockers See Strong Adoption in Europe and Asia

| Daniela Forte

While automated package lockers are being used by some major retailers here, they’ve seen greater adoption in other countries, having solved space and retail delivery issues for several years. Here is a look at how they’re being used in some European countries and Japan as a last-mile solution for retailers and a convenience for consumers.

Uncertainty the Watchword Heading Into UPU Congress

| Mike O'Brien

With a showdown looming over international postal rates at a Sept. 24 congress of the Universal Postal Union, uncertainty reigns in terms of the United States’ continued participation in the organization, leaving merchants wondering about parcel shipping rates heading into peak season. Consolidators are making contingency plans.

Blockchain Needs Open Source Standards to Succeed: FedEx Exec

| Mike O'Brien

In order for blockchain to succeed on a global scale in the transportation of goods, an open source standard will be required, according to a FedEx executive who heads up a blockchain alliance working toward that goal. The first standard of the Blockchain in Transport Alliance, on shipment location tracking, was published in March.

Stamps.com Stuns by Parting Ways with USPS, Looks to Other Carriers

| Mike O'Brien

In a bold and unexpected move, Stamps.com, which built its business through an exclusive shipping partnership with the U.S. Postal Service, is now severing that relationship as it seeks to offer its ecommerce customers more options, while keeping a sharp eye on Amazon logistics. See what the CEO had to say and how analysts reacted.