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Today’s pickup: Uber’s 21st century `profits’; A new way to cut diesel emissions

Will it spell profits? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Good day,

In its IPO registration documents, ride-sharing pioneer Uber Technologies, Inc. said that profits could be elusive. CNBC.com said that “serves as a chilling reminder of the dot.com crash” of the late 1990s and early 2000s when fledgling firms with no profits and little revenues saw their share prices get bid to the sky, until the sky eventually fell. But it is 20 years on and investment attitudes have changed. The Journal of Commerce, commenting on digital ocean forwarder Flexport’s recent $1 billion equity infusion from Japanese colossus SoftBank, said today’s private capital wants to see through-the roof growth before it even concerns itself with profitability, if profits are a concern at all. If that becomes the benchmark for attracting capital, many start-ups stand to rake in a great deal of money.

Did you know?:

About 300,000 New York City jobs are dependent on the freight industry, according to the city’s Economic Development Corp.

Quotable:

“Seventy percent want free shipping. The remaining 30 percent want shipping on their terms and will pay a premium.”

–Alex Rhodeen, director of disruptive solutions for the French logistics firm GEODIS, on digital consumers’ shipping preferences.

In other news:

Blockchain or Bust

The new process could spell great efficiencies for the rail and port sectors (Forbes)

Savannah expands logistics I.T. innovation corridor

A task force from higher education, law, municipal government, cyber security, creative endeavors, and economic development have been meeting since last year over a project to make Savannah, Georgia, the leader in logistics technology. (Savannah Morning News)

Industrial property is not just for logistics folk

A 20 million square foot “Southern California Logistics Airport” currently under construction in Victorville could become a hub for manufacturing users. (GlobeSt)

There’s a better way to cut diesel emissions, MIT says

The best way forward is not to wait for all-electric or hydrogen-powered semis, but to build a plug-in hybrid electric truck with an internal combustion engine/generator that can burn either gasoline or renewable ethanol or methanol. (Ars Technica)

Reverse logistics demand set to soar in emerging economies

Previously off the radar, reverse logistics is in demand due to increased returns activity in southeast Asia (The Loadstar)

Final thoughts:

The federal government and less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier YRC Worldwide, Inc. are embroiled in a nasty legal fight over allegations that YRC overcharged the Pentagon for years. According to Don Newell, an LTL pricing expert familiar with the dispute, there is a pox on both houses. YRC would not accept “negative reweighs,” meaning it wouldn’t reimburse the Pentagon for shipments that actually weighed less than the carrier initially thought, Newell said. Yet the DoD would often not sign off on documents that clearly showed that it owed more than it originally thought, he said. Unfortunately, both seem stuck with each other. YRC is one of the few truckers who’ll regularly handle DoD freight, and it has done so for years. The government needs it, and although the traffic is a small part of YRC’s business, it does like the volumes, Newell said.

Hammer down everyone!

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Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.

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