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Smith Out, Subramaniam In As Head of FedEx

| Mike O'Brien

Fred Smith, who started what became FedEx in the early 1970s and built it into a global shipping and logistics powerhouse, is stepping down as CEO, to be replaced by president and COO Raj Subramaniam, with Smith staying on as executive chairman. Industry observers expect a status quo transition, but wonder if that’s good enough.

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Narvar Offers Ecommerce Returns Home Pickup

| Mike O'Brien

Narvar is letting retailers offer customers the convenience of home pickup of returns within one to 10 days for a convenience fee, a service that was piloted at 70 companies in Q4. The home pickup service is currently offered in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston, with plans to expand to about 100 more markets.

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Carriers Come Through for Christmas

| Mike O'Brien

After a hairy 2020 peak season, with capacity at a premium and late parcel orders piling up, on-time performance by the big three carriers was strong, helped by a lot of early shopping from consumers based on earlier promotions, as well as improved levels of in-store activity.

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Cyber Monday Online Sales Dip 1.4%

| Mike O'Brien

Like its holiday twin Black Friday, Cyber Monday in the U.S. saw ecommerce sales reverse course for the first time in memory, according to Adobe Digital Insights, dropping 1.4% from 2020. Consumers en masse have heeded warnings about stock-outs on digital shelves amid supply chain-fueled inventory shortages by shopping earlier.

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Walmart Q3 Ecommerce Sales Up 8%, Says Holiday Prep in Good Place

| Mike O'Brien

Walmart reported its ecommerce sales in the U.S. increased 8% in the third quarter, and have gained a total of 87% since the same period in 2019, an incredible jump since pre-pandemic days as the retail giant continues to expand digitally, while declaring itself ready for the holidays.

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Beans.ai Raises $17M to Help Optimize the Final Foot

| Mike O'Brien

Beans.ai, a routing optimization provider that enables FedEx Ground and others to direct drivers to exact locations like apartment units, and provides other details like parking locations and delivery rules, has come out of stealth mode with a $17 million investment.

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LaserShip Acquires OnTrac for $1.3B, Looks Nationally

| Mike O'Brien

Regional carrier LaserShip is acquiring competitor OnTrac for $1.3 billion deal, in one fell swoop changing the equation in last-mile parcel delivery by giving the combined entity coverage of three-quarters of the continental U.S. as ecommerce demand continues to soar.

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USPS Delays Parcel Service Slowdown

| Mike O'Brien

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has decided to temporarily suspend a planned reduction in service level standards for First Class package delivery until after the peak holiday season, a week after the Postal Regulatory Commission which oversees it said the plan “lacked demonstrable evidence.”

Why Yesterday’s Carrier Strategy Has Expired

| Mike O'Brien

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic-driven spike in ecommerce, a nagging labor shortage and supply chain issues have put capacity at a premium and left shippers struggling to keep up. This report explores ways today’s retail and ecommerce shippers must pursue a carrier strategy that would have seemed unthinkable just two years ago.

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Amazon Surpasses FedEx in Parcel Volume

| Mike O'Brien

For the first time, Amazon Logistics surpassed a major carrier in domestic parcel volume, edging out FedEx in 2020, according to Pitney Bowes annual shipping index, although FedEx had substantially more revenue. Pitney Bowes is also predicting domestic parcel volume will nearly double between 2020 and 2026.