From major retailers' increased influence over every aspect of logistics to the opening (finally!) of the Panama Canal expansion to the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President and the promise of a whole new regulatory environment in Washington, 2016 was a remarkable year in the supply chain.
This slideshow revisits the year, month-by-month, highlighting some of the most impactful stories of 2016. Click through the links in each slide to read the full story as it was first reported.
A year ago, the Chinese arm of online retail giant Amazon registered as an ocean freight forwarder, to gain more control over shipping products from Chinese factories to U.S. shoppers. As a "non-vessel operating common carrier," Amazon now has a piece of the $350 billion a year ocean freight business. This move, coupled with the company’s deal to lease 20 jets to start an air-delivery service, and the truck trailers it has purchased to adding shipping capacity, gives Amazon an enviable position at the center of its global supply chain.
Researchers at MIT and Texas Instruments developed a new type of RFID chip that is virtually impossible to hack. If such chips are widely adopted, it could mean that high-tech burglars couldn’t swipe expensive goods from a warehouse and replace them with dummy tags.
A spate of accidents involving scissor lifts led the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a hazard alert outlining employers’ obligations and preventive measures. Over a one-year period OSHA found 10 fatalities and 20 serious injuries involving scissor lifts.
While robots are efficient in tightly-controlled environments, it’s still human workers who can best deal with complexity in warehouse and DC operations.
Target announced it would tighten deadlines for deliveries to its warehouses, hike fines for late deliveries, and would institute penalties of up to $10,000 for inaccuracies in product information. Suppliers weren't exactly pleased with the new dictates.
In late June the inaugural transit of the Panama Canal Expansion began with the transit of Neopanamax vessel COSCO Shipping Panama through the new Atlantic-facing Agua Clara Locks. The Expansion Program included the construction of a new set of locks on the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the waterway and the excavation of more than 150 million cubic meters of material, creating a second lane of traffic and doubling the cargo capacity of the waterway.
Multitenant distribution warehousing has emerged as the dominant industrial property trend in the U.S., constituting 40% of the total 13.5 billion-square-foot industrial inventory.
In August the EPA and the U.S. Transportation Department issued regulations that require trucks to become more efficient through 2027. The truck rules, it is hoped, could cut approximately 1.1 billion tons of carbon pollution through 2027, according to a White House estimate.
The U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) plans to share classified supply chain threat reports to critical U.S. telecommunications, energy and financial businesses. The goal is to raise awareness of increased risk to supply chains due to the evolving dependence on globally sourced commercial information and technologies for mission critical systems and service.
A self-driving truck from Uber's Otto division hauled a fully loaded trailer of Budweiser beer more than 120 miles through Colorado. The pilot test coincided with Uber's announcement that it is launching an Uber Freight division for long-haul trucking.
The first major area impacting employers likely to be targeted by Donald Trump once he takes office in January 2017 will most likely be immigration. A major component of Trump’s campaign was a 10-point immigration reform program, which includes the new President Trump immediately terminating President Obama’s two executive amnesties and a promise to enforce all immigration laws “from Day One.”
How safe are the highways? In December, Congress said they were safe enough, in rolling back Obama Administration regulations on truck driver hours-of-service.
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