The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the airfreight industry saw a 1.1% dip in freight tonne-km (FTKs) year-on-year in November. This continues the trend of sliding fortunes for the sector, making this the 13th consecutive month of year-on-year declines in airfreight volumes. However, November also marked the best performance since March 2019, possibly due to the holiday season that set in that month, including Black Friday in North America and Singles’ Day in China. That said, this is still a disappointing result for the industry as the fourth quarter usually is air cargo’s peak season, making 2019 definitively duller than the year before.
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The oil-to-gas ratio, or the level at which oil trades compared with natural gas, recently reached 30-to-1 and could increase more as analysts expect average gas prices will fall for a second consecutive year in 2020 to their lowest level in over 20 years.
“The tariffs didn’t let pork out of the door. China went shopping everywhere else.”
— Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics & Consulting LLC, commenting on U.S. hog farmers missing out on pork exports to China, despite China losing half its pigs to a swine fever epidemic.
In other news
US trade deficit falls to three-year low in wake of China standoff
Fears grow that President Donald Trump will now set his sights on the EU and the U.K. (The Guardian)
Airbus increases production of US-made planes as tariffs threaten prices
Airbus will increase U.S. production of narrowbody jetliners from five to seven a month by the end of the year. (CNBC)
Walmart unveils grocery-picking robot to take on Amazon and Kroger
The platform should enable it to pick, pack and deliver shoppers’ online grocery orders faster and with fewer headaches. (Business Insider)
Billions in worthless assets plague the oil and gas industry
Investors, pension funds and companies need to get ahead of the financial risk from climate change as many fossil fuel assets risk becoming worthless. (Oilprice)
Worst year for retail in 25 years, says UK trade body
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said total sales fell 0.1%, marking the first annual sales decline since 1995. (BBC)
For companies working on autonomous driving technology, LiDAR is an instrument vital to understanding a vehicle’s driving environment. LiDAR uses laser pulses to accurately map out a 3D model of the environment, helping a vehicle avoid obstacles on its path.
To date, LiDARs have been very expensive. However, with a healthy number of companies investing in autonomous technology, the price of LiDAR is expected to fall to an extent where it can be used in mass-market vehicles as safety technology, like dashboard cameras. For instance, Velodyne, a leading LiDAR manufacturer, has introduced a version of LiDAR at CES 2020 in Las Vegas that will be priced at $100 when it hits the market.
Using LiDARs in place of cameras can help advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) “see through” inclement weather conditions much more effectively and thereby decrease collision risks.
Hammer down, everyone!