The Friday Report: January 25, 2019

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

Will Brexit Lead to Hunger in the UK?

With the UK poised to exit the European Union in late March, industry experts are raising concerns about the country’s ability to provide an adequate supply of food for its citizens.  The National Farmers’ Union recently sounded the alarm about this issue.  Given the fact that the UK currently is able to produce only 60 percent of the food needed to feed its domestic population, it would seem likely that food shortages may ensue.  Brexit negotiations have been unsuccessful to date and have only highlighted the challenges that severing relationships may leave the British population hungry for a solution.

If the EU and UK are unsuccessful in negotiating an exit amenable to both parties, a no-deal Brexit may result.  If this is the case, then the existing legal, trade and travel arrangements which have been the operating practice prior to this point would no longer apply.  This may lead to a rocky transition, job losses, market uncertainty and a plethora of problems.


Chinese-U.S. Trade Talks Work Against Ticking Clock of March 1st Looming Tariff Increases

According to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the trade negotiations between the United States and China are far apart.  If negotiations are not fruitful in generating a new agreement, the U.S. will increase tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods (from 10% to 25%) following the March 1st deadline.  According to Ross, the negotiations are challenged by significant differences regarding “structural reforms” in the Chinese economy as well as “enforcement mechanisms”.

The White House is scheduled to welcome a delegation of approximately 30 Chinese trade negotiators soon.


Walmart Courts Truck Drivers with Higher Pay and Mentorship

In a strategic effort to lure truck drivers, Walmart increased the wages for truck drivers by one cent per mile and is providing additional payment for every arrival.  This increases the per mile rate paid to truck drivers to approximately 89 cents, an average salary increase of $1500 annually to $87,500.

New efforts are being made to personalize the hiring experience for Walmart truck drivers.  New hiring practices focus on mentorship and an enhanced onboarding process.  With unemployment rates dropping to under 4%, new hiring tactics were necessary.  Walmart has also initiated a one week onboarding program that starts before potential new hires are evaluated.  To be considered for the onboarding program, truck drivers must have a minimum of 30 months of experience driving as well as a clean driving record for the previous three years.

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