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Today’s Pickup: a Supreme Court verdict that could shrink margins of Uber and Lyft

 Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Good day,

Last year, the Supreme Court gave out a verdict that has sweeping ramifications for taxi-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft. The Supreme Court decision would make it a lot harder for on-demand hailing companies to label their workers as independent contractors (as is the norm right now), and would have to consider adding them to the rolls as employees. The ruling is to ensure that workers in the ‘gig economy’ have equal rights and a social safety net, helping make the industry a decent place to work. This decision of considering staff as employees and not as contractors would mean that personnel working in Amazon’s warehousing and last-mile delivery services would be entitled to better benefits than the ones they enjoy right now.

Did you know?

In the first 10 months of 2018, EU steel imports jumped to a record, growing 12% compared with the same period a year earlier and outpacing both demand and domestic deliveries, according to the European Steel Association, Eurofer. In the same period, U.S. imports fell 14% and global exporters diverted 60% of that steel to the EU.

Quotable:

“A post-Brexit U.K. would be to the E.U. pretty much as Canada was to the U.S. before the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement (which came a few years before NAFTA.) In fact, even the share of cross-border trade in GDP would be similar. And Canada wasn’t a howling wasteland.”

– Paul Krugman, economist and columnist, commenting on the aftereffects of Brexit

In other news:

Aluminum scrap abounds thanks to tariffs

China’s duty on junked U.S. car parts and cans means more metal is being recycled in the U.S. (Wall Street Journal)

‘Truck misery’ emerges as new risk on shutdown delays at border

A protracted government shutdown threatens to add backups at U.S. borders that would boost freight rates, adding to costs for consumers and commodity shippers already coping with tariffs. (Bloomberg)

UKWA disappointed by continued lack of Brexit clarity

Following the rejection of Theresa May’s Brexit plan by the House of Commons, the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) has expressed its disappointment at the continued lack of clarity surrounding Britain’s exit from the EU. (SHD Logistics)

New York’s lost department stores

Whether or not you shopped there, you should be sorry to see Henri Bendel and Lord & Taylor’s flagship go. (The New York Times)

EV purists take note: a ton of plug-in hybrids are coming

Battery-electrics will continue to get all the buzz (because they’re better). But don’t think for a second that plug-in hybrids are going the way of the dodo. (InsideEVs)

Final Thoughts:

Oil supply glut had been the point of debate over the last quarter of 2018, with the OPEC meeting chaired in December deciding to slash production to keep the prices from taking a downturn. The news comes out now that OPEC oil production in December had been lower than previously estimated, as Saudi Arabia had cut production by nearly half a million barrels per day (bpd) to record just over 10.5 million bpd. This has sunk the OPEC oil output by 751,000 bpd, reaching an output of 31.6 million bpd in December.

The Saudi oil output was expected to remain steady at 10.7 million bpd in December from the previous high of 11.1 million bpd in November, but has fallen by 200,000 bpd more. The pullback is set to continue this month, with the Saudis targeting 10.2 million bpd in January – a clear indication of the country looking to jack up oil prices. Notably, the WTI crude price had steadily dropped by the end of last year, from being over $70 a barrel in September down to nearly $45 by December, before gaining lost ground.

Hammer down everyone!

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Vishnu Rajamanickam, Staff Writer

Vishnu writes editorial commentary on cutting-edge technology within the freight industry, profiles startups, and brings in perspective from industry frontrunners and thought leaders in the freight space. In his spare time, he writes neo-noir poetry, blogs about travel & living, and loves to debate about international politics. He hopes to settle down in a village and grow his own food at some point in time. But for now, he is happy to live with his wife in the middle of a German metropolitan.
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