Today’s Pickup: China approves drone package delivery

The X650 Pro by Xaircraft, the Chinese drone manufacturer supplying SF Express. ( Photo: Xaircraft )

Good day,

SF Express has claimed pole position in the contest to see who can bring commercial drones to market in China, becoming the first company to win a drone operator license in the country. Alibaba and JD, two of the largest Asian e-commerce shippers, were among SF Express’ competitors.

“This means that China’s drone logistics distribution is entering the legal operation phase. It is a milestone in the development of China’s logistics drones and it is also a recognition of SF’s logistics distribution and operation capabilities,” said SF Express.

SF Holding Co. stock prices jumped from 48.73 yuan a share to 50.84 yuan on the news.

Did you know?

The Atlanta freight market is seeing its largest increase in load rejections of the year, according to the FreightWaves Tender Rejection Index (TRI). Turndowns outbound of Atlanta are up to 25% of all loads.


“I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!”

-President Trump, via Twitter this morning

In other news:

Trump accuses Amazon of not paying fair share of taxes

President Donald Trump renewed his criticism of online retail giant Amazon Thursday morning, accusing the company of paying less than its fair share in taxes and of abusing the U.S. Postal Service. (Politico)

America’s truckers are hauling in higher pay

A recent study by the American Trucking Associations of more than 100,000 employees and contractors showed the median salary of a U.S. truckload driver increased about 15 percent to $53,000 from 2013 to 2017. (Bloomberg)

Barclay’s: expect $51 WTI crude this year

While demand is being pushed up thanks to global economic growth, coupled with geopolitical risk that threatens to remove more supply from the market, that short-term deficit will head into surplus again by the second half of the year, according to Barclays. (

Hapag-Lloyd: will have plan for 2020 fuel regulation later in 2018

German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd plans to give details within three to six months on compliance with tighter shipping fuel regulations that will kick in from 2020, its chief executive Rolf Habben Jansen said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

FedEx vs. UPS: which shipping stock is the better value buy?

Shares of both FedEx FDX and United Parcel Service UPS have fallen victim to the latest market-wide sell-off. However, this recent downturn isn’t likely to scare off many value investors, and it might actually make stocks like these two shipping and delivery powers look even more attractive. (Yahoo Finance)

Final Thoughts:

The hard deadline of the ELD mandate is finally here, as the market sees a rush in fleets trying to buy and fit ELDs on their trucks to steer clear of penalties or hits to their CSA scores. Though the mandate had been in existence since mid-December last year, the citations had largely been sporadic, which is expected to change from April 1.

FreightWaves caught up with Ken Evans, the CEO of Konexial, to understand the compliance rates and what the hard deadline signals for the truck industry. “I’m familiar with a couple of data points that have been reported in the press which claim more than a 90 percent compliance rate for ELD. I do not believe that their data is accurate,” he said.

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.