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Today’s pick-up: Nail bars in warehouses; FedEx’s Smith goes to war with New York Times

Good day,

Do warehouse workers want amenities like basketball courts, a soccer field, a gym, a pizza and grill station, and a pop-up nail bar? Clothing company ASOS seems to think so because it recently designed a warehouse with those perks, according to an article in Material Handling & Logistics. The author, Adrienne Selko, took a dim view of such trends. What warehouse workers really want, she said, is “to be paid well, receive good health insurance, have a safe work environment, predictable schedules, reasonable policies and room for advancement.” The magazine asks readers every year what benefits they would appreciate, and none have said “pop-up nail bar,” she wrote.

Did you know?

That 85% of B2B companies are feeling the pressure to improve or expand upon their delivery capabilities in the new “delivery economy, according to a survey by I.T. provider project44.


“Today in `disruptive news,’ 100% real-time digital freight visibility is within the grasp of incumbent, profitable, non-VC/PE backed freight brokers.”

– Jeff Tucker, CEO of broker and third party logistics provider Tucker Co. Worldwide, commenting that 89.6% of all Tucker-covered truckloads now have digital visibility, and that it will soon be at 100%.

In other news:

FedEx hires new logistics head

Udo Lange has replaced Richard Smith, the son of FedEx Founder, Chairman and CEO Frederick W. Smith, as head of FedEx Logistics. The next question is where the junior Smith is headed. (Memphis Business Journal)

Tired of logistics warehouses in the Inland Empire

Residents of Upland, California in San Bernardino County, home of the nation’s larger cluster of logistics warehouses, are objecting to a proposed 276,250 square foot warehouse they say will add to street traffic, foul air quality and lower property values. “It doesn’t belong in a bedroom community,” Glenn Bozar, a former council member, told a city council meeting Nov. 13. (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Why the 2020s will be the logistics decade

Logistics is the core of success for merchants who expect to meet heightened consumer expectations, said Guy Bloch,  CEO of delivery logistics platform Bringg. (

Lyft ends e-scooter operations in six cities, including Atlanta

The company follows rival Uber Technologies, Inc. in pulling scooters out of Atlanta. Lyft was there less than a year. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)

Stockbridge acquires 8.7 million square-foot logistics portfolio

The portfolio consists of 17 properties in nine U.S. markets. (

Final thoughts:

FedEx’s Fred Smith has little love lost for the press, particularly the mainstream type. But it’s been a while since he’s publicly taken one to task. Such an event happened Nov. 17, when Smith, enraged over a New York Times front-page article that day saying FedEx failed to deliver on promised capital expenditures in the wake of the 2017 tax law, challenged Times Publisher A.G. Sulzberger and the paper’s business editor to debate the societal benefits of federal tax policy. Smith called the Times’ article “distorted.” From this chair, which has covered FedEx every day for 11 years and on and off for 35 years, his anger is understandable. At the time the bill became law, FedEx had no way of knowing a trade war with China would erupt. Nor could it foresee the conflict’s severity and duration, and its impact on global demand that is such a critical part of FedEx’s business. Despite every reason to cut back, FedEx said it would keep its $5.9 billion CapEx levels unchanged in fiscal 2020 and 2021. Ironically, this upset some analysts who accused the company of profligate spending, especially on aircraft. As a corollary, the article doesn’t mention that no U.S. corporate executive for the past three years has been more critical than Smith of the Trump Administration’s trade policy and its impact on American business and commerce. No amount of tax law goodies will force a company to ramp up capital spending to meet demand that doesn’t exist, even though FedEx’s spending levels indicate that it hasn’t cut back much. That it also raised dividends and repurchased shares is a sign of responsible capital allocation in the face of challenging business conditions.

Hammer down everyone!

The FREIGHTWAVES TOP 500 For-Hire Carriers list includes FedEx (No. 1).

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.