Today’s Pickup: Trump’s tariffs and futuristic taxis

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Good day,

As FreightWaves’ Ashley Coker reported on Tuesday, Washington D.C. has joined Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina in the growing list of places to declare states of emergency in preparation for the storm. Mandatory evacuation orders are rippling through the Carolinas, and millions are preparing to leave their homes as Hurricane Florence barrels toward the East Coast of the US.

LMC notes that “Light Vehicle production plants most at risk are the Mercedes-Benz (MB), Volvo and BMW plants in South Carolina, although with over 400 automotive suppliers located in that state alone, a supply chain disruption could be far reaching.”

LMC predicts that “while South Carolina vehicle assembly plants are at the greatest risk for extended production loss” plants in Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee could be impacted by flooding.

The BMW plant in Spartanburg could face a daily production loss of 1400 units, while the MB plant in Charleston could lose the ability to produce 205 units each day according to data from LMC.  

Did you know?

According to the 8am update from the National Hurricane center, “Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km).”


“We are investing in all the technology evolution taking place in aerospace but we are trying to apply that to something that’s real world and is possible to execute four years out.”

—Vertical Aerospace founder Stephen Fitzpatrick.

In other news:

U.S. Businesses Ramp Up Lobbying Against Trump’s Tariffs

Businesses across the country have joined forces to oppose Trump’s tariffs in a campaign called Tariffs Hurt the Heartland. They plan on sending a letter to Congress today. (Wall Street Journal).

UK haulage crisis tightens its grip as shippers face a delay ‘double-whammy’

A reduction in haulage availability has caused a delay lasting upwards of six days for export collections, according to ANL, a subsidiary of CMA CGM. (The Loadstar)

British air taxi firm takes flight, inspired by F1 racing advances

Vertical Aerospace, founded by Stephen Fitzpatrick, will turn to F1 racing to aid in the development of “short-haul, inter-city flights” in the next 4 years. (Reuters)

U.S. Department of Energy provides $2 million grant for robotics

Plug Power has partnered with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Center for Automation Technologies & Systems (CATS) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to develop robotic hydrogen fueling technology for motive power applications. (Supply Chain 24/7)

France Mulls Cheaper Hack For Autonomous Transport

France has begun building over its existing infrastructure as a shortcut to autonomous rail. (Bloomberg)

Final thoughts:

Ripe Technology, which operates largely under the name, just completed a $2.4 million seed round led by Maersk Growth and Relish Works. provides enterprise blockchain technology for the food and agriculture industry in an effort to create greater trust and transparency between food producers, contributors and consumers.

The company has been working to improve transparency for food since its 2017 inception. This is achieved through a technology platform that allows everyone involved in the supply chain, from growers to distributors, to contribute data and track the food’s journey. describes its services as the “Blockchain of Food,” a food quality network that captures the full lifestyle of the product, from seed to consumer, according to a press release from

“Food supply chain decisions can very clearly be improved through increased focus on data, visibility and transparency, so connecting the value chain in a much more effective way than it is today and make data driven decisions,” Maersk Growth Venture Partner Peter Jorgensen said.

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.