Today's Pickup: Amazon's Key In-Car service

  (Photo: Shutterstock)

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Good day,

Amazon announced Tuesday it has joined General Motors and Volvo Cars to start offering in-car deliveries, giving couriers access to potentially millions of vehicles in 37 U.S. markets, according to the WSJ. The new delivery option is part of the Amazon Key program, launched last year, in which the company’s delivery drivers drop off packages inside homes. That system, which includes a “smart lock” for the door and a security camera, currently costs about $220.

Now there's a related service for cars. The service is free for Amazon Prime members who own newer GM and Volvo models. Customers download the Amazon Key app and link an Amazon account with a connected car service, such as OnStar. A delivery driver unlocks the car—either the trunk or doors, depending on the vehicle—remotely through the wireless connection.

The Key In-Car service reflects Amazon’s larger logistics ambitions, as the company handles more of its own shipments and expands to shuttle others’ packages. Amazon has also installed lockers in and outside stores and pickup hubs in apartment buildings to help lower costs associated with deliveries, which skyrocket when a courier misses a first delivery or a package is stolen.

Did you know?

Sales of single-family homes improved for the 2nd consecutive month in a sign that housing activity is beginning to accelerate at the start of spring. This should boost freight demand for building materials, furniture, and appliances as households move in and settle.

Quotable:

“One aspect of increasing driver retention is to recognize the strong correlation between turnover and quality hiring.”

-Damon Langley, director of solution delivery, analytics and decision support at TMW

In other news:

America lags behind other high-income countries in road safety, vision for zero deaths proposed

A new, comprehensive report that proposes a template for how to end all traffic deaths in the United States by 2050 was released last week by the Road to Zero Coalition. (Forbes)

More information exchange needed to cut CO2 emissions

The international shipping industry needs to work more quickly towards global digital standardisation if it is to reduce its CO2 emissions. (World Maritime News)

DB Schenker starts work on new Dubai airport hub

DB Schenker has started work on its second logistics center in Dubai, located next to Dubai World Central airport. (Air Cargo News)

Freight costs weighing on earnings at consumer-goods makers

Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble and other suppliers are finding it harder and more expensive to get shipments to stores, distribution centers. (WSJ)

Diesel average sees gains for the fifth consecutive week, reports EIA

With a 2.9-cent increase, the average price per gallon for diesel now stands at $3.133 per gallon, marking the fifth consecutive weekly increase. During this period, the average has seen a cumulative 16.1-cent increase and it has gone up 9.1 cents since the week of April 9. (SupplyChain247)

Final thoughts:

China has more at stake than the United States in terms of the bilateral trade flow. There is a doomsday scenario that has been floated by some economists: China owns about $1.16T of U.S. debt in the form of Treasury bonds. In a worst-case scenario, China could play its ‘trump card’ by dumping that debt and glutting the secondary market with an oversupply of US bonds, sending yields soaring and dramatically increasing what it would cost the federal government to issue new debt. 

China has a powerful incentive not to go the doomsday route, though: if China sold all its Treasuries, it would receive dollars for them. The US federal government, facing massive borrowing costs, would start printing money, sending the dollar into hyperinflation. China would have to exchange its trillion-plus dollars for yuan, drastically increasing the value of yuan relative to the dollar. Imagine the effect that would have on China’s export trade: the currency it gets for its goods overseas (dollars) would fall in value, while the currency it pays its workers (yuan) would rise in value. The margins China enjoyed by exporting goods would be squeezed from both sides, and manufacturing capital would flee to cheaper countries like Vietnam and Cambodia. Effectively, trying to sabotage the American government and dollar would destroy China’s manufacturing sector.

Hammer down everyone!

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