USPS letter carrier

USPS: Laying Down the Law; $10B Loan Approved; New Loyalty Program

| Mike O'Brien

USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy doubled down on the need for greater efficiency and performance, while enacting new measures. Also, the USPS reached an agreement in principle to receive a $10 billion loan from the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the CARES act, and created for the first time a loyalty program.

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.

MCM CommerceChat Podcast

How Will USPS Policy Changes Impact Shippers and the Agency Itself?

| Mike O'Brien

What do major changes at USPS mean for thousands of businesses that rely on it daily for parcel delivery, as well as giants like UPS, FedEx and Amazon? How will these changes affect SLAs and CSAT? We discuss these issues with Cathy Roberson, founder and president of Logistics Trends and Insights on our latest MCM podcast.

FedEx Beats Q4 Expectations, Driven by Massive Surge in Ecommerce

| Mike O'Brien

FedEx surprised to the upside in Q4, its laser focus on ecommerce capabilities in recent years paying off in terms of responsiveness to massive online buying, even as service stumbles were reported in a couple states. It seemed none the worse for having parted ways with Amazon in 2019 to seek more profitable customer relationships.

FedEx Follows Suit with COVID-19-Related Peak Surcharges for Shippers

| Mike O'Brien

It took FedEx less than a week to react to UPS’s new COVID-19-related peak surcharges by rolling out its own new fee schedule to cover additional volume-related costs, with a couple wrinkles separating the two plans and no end date specified, again impacting large-volume shippers. The new charges went into effect June 8, with no end date.

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.

UPS Adds Surcharges to Address COVID-Related Peak Season

| Mike O'Brien

UPS, facing massive volumes akin to the holiday season due to COVID-19’s impact on ecommerce, is imposing surcharges on larger-volume shippers and those sending bulkier items as of May 31 to offset its costs, impacting companies already reeling from the crisis. Experts agree they expect to see FedEx follow suit shortly.

Amazon in Talks to Acquire Autonomous Vehicle Startup Zoox

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon is in advanced talks to acquire self-driving car startup Zoox as it looks to expand its autonomous vehicle capabilities to address massive delivery costs, according to the Wall Street Journal. It has already invested heavily in autonomous technology, contributing to funding rounds for Aurora Innovation and Rivian Automotive LLC.

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.

FedEx, Microsoft Strike Technology Partnership in Shot at Amazon

| Mike O'Brien

Now that it’s detached itself from Amazon, FedEx has entered into a multiyear agreement with Amazon’s cloud computing rival Microsoft, with the first offering using the latter’s real-time intelligence capabilities to provide FedEx shippers with greater visibility into transit time issues. Other solutions will be announced later this year.