In the Precision Software News Round-Up: 20 July 2018, the US refuses to exempt the EU from Iran sanctions; Iran fights back by suing the US; and Posten Norge unveils plans for a self-driving mail and parcel robot. All this and more, plus in the Precision Report, we outline five strategies for overcoming the challenges of peak season shipping.

SANCTIONS

EU REFUSED EXEMPTION FROM US SANCTIONS

This week the European Union asked the United States to grant exemptions to European firms working with Iran. The US rejected the request. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal this May and ordered the reinstatement of sanctions against Tehran. The first round of sanctions comes into effect on 6 August. However, the UK, France and Germany have committed to upholding the 2015 deal. In a letter, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated that the US aimed to “provide unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime.” They also added that they were “not in a position to make exceptions to this policy except in very specific circumstances.” For more on this, please see the BBC.

IRAN TO SUE US OVER SANCTIONS

This week, Iran filed a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice against the United States for re-imposing sanctions. Tehran claims that the decision to reinstate sanctions is a violation of a 1955 treaty between the the US and Iran. A State Department official said that the US would fight the suit in court and called the charges “baseless.” The International Court of Justice is the highest court in the United Nations. Its decisions are binding, but the court has no power to enforce them. As a result, a number of countries have simply ignored ICJ rulings. You can read more on this at Reuters.

CARRIERS

POSTEN NORGE TO DEVELOP SELF-DRIVING MAIL AND PARCEL ROBOT

Kongsberg in Norway is to become a testing ground for Posten Norge’s self-driving mail and parcel robot. The postal operator announced that it will work with autonomous vehicle designers Buddy Mobility to develop the bot. Posten Norge expects to test the robot towards the end of this year. “The mail and parcel robot will be equipped with advanced control and sensor technology. It will drive at only six kilometres an hour, which means it poses little risk to its surroundings. It also increases the likelihood of commissioning the robot sooner,” said Tone Wille, CEO of Posten Norge. For more on this, please click here.

GOGOVAN RAISES $250 MILLION NEW CAPITAL

Hong Kong logistics startup GoGoVan has raised $250 million in a new round of investment. Investors include Alibaba’s Cainiao logistics subsidiary. The company plans to expand into new markets, particular India and Southeast Asia. GoGoVan offers short distance logistics, but according to CEO Steven Lam the company will soon introduce a door-to-door delivery. For more, please see TechCruch.

GLOBAL TRADE

EU CALLS ON US, CHINA AND RUSSIA TO PREVENT “CONFLICT AND CHAOS”

The week the European Union called on the United States, China and Russia to prevent rising trade tensions and possible violent conflict. EU Council President Donald Tusk said that Europe, along with the US, China and Russia had a “duty” not to destroy world trade. Mr Tusk made his remarks after meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, during the annual EU-China summit, in Beijing. “It is the common duty of Europe and China, but also America and Russia, not to destroy (the global trade order) but to improve it, not to start trade wars which turned into hot conflicts so often in our history. There is still time to prevent conflict and chaos,” he said. You can read more on this story here.

THE PRECISION REPORT

PEAK SEASON SHIPPING: FIVE STRATEGIES FOR SEAMLESS TRANSPORTATION EXECUTION

Who could forget peak season 2017? E-commerce sales soared beyond all expectations. The resulting capacity crunch did not just impact retailers. Global shippers whose goods are not seasonal also struggled to get their parcels delivered too. Peak season is busy for most shippers — but crucial for retailers, carriers and 3PLs. If gifts and seasonal items do not arrive in a timely fashion, shoppers look for alternatives in bricks-and-mortar stores. That means the product is likely to be returned. As a result, the retailer loses out on a sale but also bears the cost of fulfillment and return. Plus there’s the fact that around 95 percent of returns never get back on the shelf. Getting peak season shipping wrong is an expensive business. In the latest Precision Report we look at peak season shipping and five strategies for seamless transportation execution.Please see the full report here.