In the Precision Software News Round-Up: 1 February 2019, FedEx rolls out new late night service; agreement to negotiate e-commerce rules announced at the World Economic Forum; a European payment scheme hopes to avoid US Iran sanctions; and Amazon trials a delivery bot. Plus, we look at how e-commerce impacts B2B shipping.
This week FedEx announced a new late-night shipping option for retailers. Retailers using the service will be able to offer next day delivery for shoppers purchasing items online as late as midnight. FedEx Express drivers will pick up packages until 2 am from retailers and deliver them next day within local markets. Packages heading to other destinations in the US will arrive within two days. FedEx trialled this service in Los Angeles and Dallas in late 2017, and it is now available in 100 markets. For more details, please see Bloomberg.
This week, 76 countries and regions including the EU, US and Japan agreed to start negotiating e-commerce regulations. The move came about during the World Economic Forum in Davos. China offered conditional support and will engage in exploratory talks. However, China also said that the initiative should consider the needs of developing countries. In 2016 a World Trade Organization (WTO) report stated that the total value of e-commerce was €24tn. The majority — almost €21tn — was in business-to-business transactions. In an interview, Japan’s trade minister Hiroshige Seko stated that “current WTO rules don’t match the needs of the 21st century” and that the lack of e-commerce rules reflects this. The countries participating in the forthcoming talks released a joint statement outlining their intention to build on “existing WTO agreements and frameworks with the participation of as many WTO members as possible.” For more on this, please click here.
This week Amazon launched a trial of their electric delivery robot, Scout. The six-wheeled bot is the size of a small cooler and moves at walking pace. A human will accompany Scout during the trial, which is taking place in Snohomish County, Washington. According to Amazon, the delivery bot can negotatiate obstacles such as pedestrians and pets. For more, please see The Guardian.
The UK, Germany and France have created a new payments system for European companies trading with Iran. The aim is to allow European businesses to bypass US sanctions. Last year, President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, a move opposed by the three European powers. The US has repeatedly warned that it will take action against companies who continue to trade with Iran. Any company using dollars to make payments in Iran could face consequences. The new payments system — the Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) — avoids the dollar. UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said INSTEX will initially only apply to food, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods, which are not subject to sanctions. INSTEX does not cover oil, which is Iran's main source of foreign exchange. For more, please see the BBC.
The disruptive influence of e-commerce stretches far beyond retail. The demand for ever quicker delivery has prompted global enterprises across a variety of industries to reconfigure distribution channels and transportation strategies. A recent survey and report from DHL Supply Chain found that transportation, especially ground transportation, has been undergoing significant changes. This, says the report “far exceeds the norms of regular market fluctuation.” Factors driving these changes include external market forces, such as the growth of e-commerce and urbanization. In the latest Precision Report we look at the impact of e-commerce on B2B shipping and how transportation execution can be a competitive advantage. To read the full report, please click here.
To subscribe to the Precision Report, or to receive notifications about Precision events, webinars and news, please click here.