Today’s Pickup: Holiday e-commerce sales are strong

Good day,

Strong online sales are driving warehouse rents to record highs in New Jersey, sparking a frenzy in New Jersey’s commercial real estate market. Amazon captured an estimated 45-50% of all e-commerce sales during Black Friday. Meanwhile, Walmart reports that surging online orders are causing delays in its delivery network, but “the vast majority of orders are shipping on time now,” said Walmart spokeswoman Danit Marquardt. Meanwhile, UPS aircraft mechanics are threatening to strike over reductions in their health care benefits. 

Mobile revenue grew by 43% over Thanksgiving week from a year ago, confirming the predictions of Tony Zito, CEO of Rakuten Marketing, that consumers will grow more comfortable buying multiple items at once from their phones.

Did you know?

Warehousing companies added 8,100 jobs in November, responding to robust online sales demand. November’s growth in warehousing jobs was the most in a single month in nearly two years. Distribution centers have added nearly 35,000 jobs in the past year.


“Furthermore, I can’t see around trucks in front of me without pulling halfway into another lane. When I need to exchange paperwork with the guard at a terminal, or the police, I can’t lean out the window to do so. Speaking of which, I have to believe one of the windows on the Tesla Semi rolls down, but I can’t figure out which one. If, as it appears from the renderings, the windows only vent, well… that’s unacceptable.” 

-Jonathon Ramsey, ex-truck driver, on the Tesla Semi’s central seating position

In other news:

Strong manufacturing and a capacity crunch are keeping freight spends high

U.S. Bank saw an 8.3% jump in its national freight spend index for Q3, the largest quarterly gain since Q4 2014. (Inbound Logistics)

Caterpillar pleads guilty to ripping off rail carriers

Caterpillar pays a $5M fine and $20M in restitution for cheating customers with unnecessary repairs and dumping rail car parts into the ocean. (Transport Topics)

McKinsey issues report on the revitalizing American manufacturing

If the U.S. plays its cards right, it could boost manufacturing GDP to $3T by 2025. (McKinsey)

Matthias Müller comes out against diesel

Volkswagen’s CEO said the German government should phase out diesel subsidies. (The New York Times)

What would the Tesla Semi be like for drivers?

This ex-trucker has some questions about the Tesla Semi. (Engadget)

Final Thoughts

The Trump administration has indicated that it will unveil its long-delayed $1T infrastructure package in January, betting that voters want massive deficit spending on roads, bridges, and airports even as it opposed by some lawmakers. FreightWaves will continue to cover this story as it unfolds in 2018.

Hammer down everyone!

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John Paul Hampstead, Associate Editor

John Paul writes about current events and economics, especially politics, finance, and commodities, and holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Michigan. In previous lives John Paul studied Shakespeare in London and Buddhism in India, but now he focuses on transportation and logistics in the heart of Freight Alley--Chattanooga. He spends his free time with his wife and daughter herding cats, collecting books, and walking alongside the Tennessee River.