The Friday Report: August 21st, 2020

Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry

Booming Times for Package Carriers Leads to Peak Season Rate Increases

With consumers heavily dependent upon shipping carriers UPS, USPS and FedEx, two of the carriers aggressively hiked peak-season fees.  FedEx recently followed the lead of UPS and USPS to capture its share of a surging shipping market.  The next major push in the industry will come soon as all the major players vie for seasonal drivers.

Both FedEx and UPS have invested heavily in material handling solutions and other technologies including automated sorting centers, air freights and routing software.  Although Amazon does leverage UPS and USPS to deliver to consumers, it will eventually compete directly with those carriers to attract and retain a greater segment of the third party residential and business package business.

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California Blackouts Linked to Battery Shortage

As California retired a 9 gigawatt gas power station capable of powering 6.8 million homes, the state power grid integrated more solar power without adequate batter storage.  Solar batter storage has been found to be less reliable than fossil fuels. With the recent heatwave, the worst in decades, Californians turned on air conditioners for relief, increasing the power demand in the evenings.  This is typically the same time period at which solar power declines and with the insufficient battery storage, the excess solar power was unable to be stored to relieve some of the increased power demand at night.  Currently not enough batteries have been installed on the California power grid, necessitating mandatory power reduction efforts.

At the end of last year, the grid was operating with 500 megawatts of batteries but now, the grid operator estimates it will require 12 gigawatts of batteries to achieve and maintain a balance between the power supply and demand.

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Tiffany Provides Traceability on Diamonds

As of October, Tiffany & Co. will begin providing details regarding the origin of newly sourced, individually registered diamonds that it sells.  The information will trace the path of the diamond “from the ground to the jewelry case”.  This is reportedly a first in the industry project which took almost twenty years to complete.

Notoriously quiet about details involving the jewelry supply chain, the new effort at transparency is designed to alleviate consumer concerns regarding human rights abuses in the diamond industry.  The jewelry industry is suffering from a significant drop in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, economic downturn and concerns about human rights abuse in the mining of diamonds.

Providing detailed information on the location where each individual diamond was mined, sorted, graded, cut and set goes far beyond its original effort to simply provide the country of origin for its diamonds.

For more information, please continue reading here.

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