Today’s Pickup: Best Buy, blockchain, and Nike buzz

(Image: Shutterstock)

Good day,

FreightWaves’ Zach Strickland covered the news that Tropical Storm Gordon was preparing to make landfall in the Gulfport, Mississippi region. Overnight, the storm hit the Mississippi/Alabama border and claimed the life of a child in the Florida panhandle:

Anyone that works in transportation knows just how destructive and disruptive tropical systems can be. The impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma can still be felt in the freight market today. Gordon does not appear to be on the same level as either of those systems, but tropical systems, large or small, are nothing to take lightly.

The main significance of Gordon is not necessarily Gordon, but what it means for the rest of the year. The tropical Atlantic has been subdued in the main development region (MDR), the tropical low latitude region north of the equator where many storms develop before threatening the Caribbean and U.S. Only two storms have developed in the area this year. Seven storms developed there in 2017, including major Hurricanes Maria and Irma. The idea is that the storms have longer to develop, increasing the odds of a major hurricane hitting the U.S.

So far, the ocean temperatures have been cooler than average, and a layer of Saharan dust has kept the atmosphere drier than normal over the MDR. Gordon may not have formed there, but its origins as a tropical wave survived the non-conducive environment, the first to do so all year.  

Did you know?

On August 27, PricewaterhouseCoopers released the results of their 2018 Global Blockchain Survey. According to PwC, 84% of respondents are actively involved in blockchain.


“It’s never one advancement in technology that transforms an industry, it’s a constellation and combination of change.

Steve Viscelli, and a senior fellow at its Kleinman Center for Energy, on the future of autonomous trucks and their impact on the transportation industry.

In other news:

Container haulage may be approaching crisis point as peak season looms 

With peak season just around the corner, the LoadStar reports “turmoil” and “chaos” in all UK ports. “We are seeing failures on some 20% of the boxes we handle; that’s thousands of boxes, and from what we are hearing some of our competitors have it worse,” said a forwarder. (The LoadStar).

Higher trucking tolls on toll road to pay for $1 billion infrastructure package

Indiana’s Governor Holcomb announced an increase in tolls for truck drivers. “Tolls for passenger vehicles won’t be affected, but trucks who travel the Toll Road end-to-end will pay an extra $6 to $34, depending on how big they are.” (WIBC).

Best Buy speeds up fulfillment with new, partly automated warehouse

A call with investors has revealed that investment in supply chain and rising transportation costs ate into Best Buy’s margins last quarter, but sales increased overall. The company will improve their Compton, California warehouse, equipping it with “a completely new automated system that will facilitate faster and more efficient online order delivery to the local metro area as well as the whole West Coast,” according to CEO Hubert Joly. (SupplyChainDive).  

Kaepernick campaign created $43 million in buzz for Nike

In less than 24 hours, Colin Kaepernick’s ad campaign with Nike brought $43 million worth of media exposure to the company. Most responses ranged from neutral to positive, according to Apex Marketing Group (Bloomberg).

Amazon opens 2.4 million-square-foot warehouse in Orlando

Amazon has opened its 2.4 million-square-foot warehouse in Orlando, Florida, providing the area with 1500 jobs and a chance for even speedier Prime delivery in Central Florida. (Orlando Sentinel)

Final thoughts:

FreightWaves’ Chief Economist Ibrahiim Bayaan reported that manufacturing activity is at a 14-year high. Data from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) showed that US factory activity expanded at a faster pace in August, as the manufacturing purchasing managers index jumped to 61.3 from 58.1 in the previous month. This far exceeded consensus expectations of a slight decline to 57.7 and marks the highest reading of the composite index since May of 2004. The New Orders and Production components of the index both saw large increases during the month, signaling that demand remains abnormally high in the 3rd quarter and is likely to remain strong going forward.

Hammer down, everyone!

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Maria Baker, Staff Writer

Maria is a staff writer who has covered everything from the environment to sign-on bonuses and women in the industry. She is a recent graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South, where she majored in English literature and minored in environmental studies. Maria loves writing about freight almost as much as she loves Emily Dickinson and the self-imposed challenge of finding the best iced mocha in Chattanooga.