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Today’s Pickup: PepsiCo blames high transportation costs, GM partners with Honda

Good day,

BNSF announced that former chief executive Matthew Rose will retire from a his role as executive chairman of the largest freight railroad in the U.S. effective next April.

Rose, 58, was named chief executive of BNSF in 2000. He led the company as it was wholly acquired by investment manager Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) in 2010 in a $26.5 billion deal.

He remained CEO of the company through 2013, after which he was appointed to the executive chairman role and leading marketing and public policy efforts. His name was also dropped as a potential successor to Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway.

“I have been incredibly fortunate to work alongside some of the most talented people in the transportation industry,” Rose said.

Did you know?

Australia may need to start importing grains from overseas. A report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has forecast the New South Wales winter crop to be down by as much as 46 per cent on last year, with steep falls also forecast for Queensland and Victoria.

Australia’s east coast grains industry, has always been an exporter of grains to world markets, but an ongoing drought which is the worst in over 60 years is causing severe shortfalls, and grains are being moved from West Australia to East Australia in record volumes. If this continues, and an El Nino weather event materializes this spring the industry will have to consider importing grain from overseas.


“You’re giving the worker what they need for them to be successful in their lives. Flexibility is the incentive.”

—Jennifer Prath, Vice President of Centralized Services, Staff Management

In other news:

TBS Logistics reveals freight forwarding expansion plan after opening Vietnam’s “largest warehouse”

Vietnam-based TBS Logistics has opened a 51,000 square meter warehouse in what The Loadstar refers to as “the industrial backbone” of the country (The Loadstar).

PepsiCo returns to growth in beverage sales

PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) cites rising transportation costs as a key factor in the decision to increase prices on their single-serve Frito-Lay products. Sales may have risen for General Mills last quarter, but North American business has slowed. Earlier in the year, the company cited rising freight costs as a factor in slashing 625 jobs. (The Wall Street Journal).

Takeoff Technologies partners with U.S.-based Hispanic grocer to launch robotic supermarket

Takeoff Technologies will launch the first hyperlocal fulfillment center in Miami in partnership with Sedano’s, one of the country’s largest Hispanic grocers. According to DC Velocity, “Takeoff’s objective is to develop hyperlocal fulfillment centers that have one-eighth the footprint of a typical supermarket by utilizing robotics and compact vertical spaces” (DC Velocity).

Managers shake up warehouse shifts ahead of peak season

Managers are switching up shifts ahead of peak season in an attempt to drive in labor. New tactics include the options to share jobs, split shifts, flexible hours for employees with children, and accommodating shifts around transportation schedules (Supply Chain Dive).

GM’s Cruise Draws $2.75 Billion From Honda in Self-Driving Pact

Honda (NYSE: HMC) has taken a 6% stake in General Motors’ (NYSE: GM) self-driving car unit as the two partner to develop GM Cruise (Bloomberg).

Final thoughts:

For a second year in a row, FedEx (NYSE: FDX) will not apply peak season surcharges for residential shipments. The company’s executive vice president and chief marketing and communications officer, Raj Subramaniam stated that “FedEx is demonstrating support for these loyal customers during this critical time frame by not adding additional residential peak surcharges, except for situations where the shipments are oversized, unauthorized or necessitate additional handling.”

Just last month, UPS (NYSE: UPS) announced that it expects to hire about 100,000 seasonal employees to support the anticipated surge in package volume that will begin in November and continue through January 2019. E-commerce is projected to continue its strong growth during the holiday season, and the company regularly ramps up hiring to accommodate the peak months.

Hammer down everyone!