In the QAD Precision News Round-Up: 1 March 2019, Australia and Indonesia set to sign delayed free trade deal; advocacy groups hope to pass the USMCA; DHL opens new Madrid hub; FedEx to trial a delivery robot; PostNL to buy Sandd; and we look at carrier preparations for Brexit.
Australia and Indonesia look set to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) next Monday. The two countries were due to sign the FTA by the end of last year. However, the deal ran into trouble in October when Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced he was considering moving the Australian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Indonesia expressed concern at this proposal. The country is a vocal supporter of the Palestinian territories and considered abandoning the FTA. For more information, please click here.
This week a coalition launched to help pass NAFTA 2.0 — the United States — Mexico — Canada Agreement. The group includes the US Chamber of Commerce, American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Association of Manufacturers and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. In addition, over 200 companies and associations have joined to represent the interests of the farmers, manufacturers, service providers and the technology sector. This is not the only group pushing to get the USMCA ratified. Pass USMCA, founded by former deputy chief of staff to President Donald Trump, Rick Dearborn, also hopes to secure approval for the new trade deal. President Trump signed the USMCA in November and has six months for Congress to approve the agreement. For more information, please click here.
PostNL plans purchase all outstanding shares of Sandd for €130 million. However, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets must first approve the acquisition. PostNL has offered employment to all of Sandd’s mail deliverers. In addition, they will look at opportunities within PostNL for other Sandd employees, as well as alternative job options. For more information, please click here.
This week, DHL Express opened a new Spanish facility at Barajas Adolfo Suarez Airport in Madrid. The hub will facilitate the sorting of 24,500 packages per hour. It also has 176 loading docks, which will enable 160 road movements each day. In addition, the hub will facilitate 10 flights by DHL aircraft and 30 commercial flights daily. The hub will service 20 international destinations, the majority in Latin America. For more details, please click here.
FedEx is to test a six-wheeled, autonomous robot called the SameDay Bot this summer. The initial trial will take place in Memphis. FedEx will trial the bot for food and medicine deliveries, items not normally made with the company’s traditional delivery fleet. To this end, FedEx will partner with companies such as Walmart, Target and Pizza Hut. The bot has a top speed of 10 mph and can identify and avoid pedestrians. It can also carry around 100 pounds. For more detail, please click here.
As 29 March draws closer, carriers have been getting ready for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The next meaningful vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan will take place on 12 March. This Tuesday, the PM told Parliament that if they reject her deal, there will be a second vote on 13 March. This vote will allow members of parliament to decide if the UK can leave the EU without a deal. If Parliament rejects a no-deal withdrawal, Ms May has promised a further vote on 14 March. This vote will consider extending Article 50 and pushing back the 29 March withdrawal date.
There is a lack of clarity on what post-Brexit trading conditions will look like. Despite that, carriers have been planning in order to minimize disruptions. Should the UK leave without a deal, the trade between the UK and the EU will become more complicated. Increased taxes and duties are likely, as are customs delays. Other regulatory issues include driver licenses. In the latest Precision Report we have a look what preparations carriers are making ahead of Brexit. To read the full report, please click here.
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