Today’s Pickup: A pragmatic approach to zero-emissions logistics; at XPO, breaking up will be interesting to do

Good day,

Getting to zero emissions in logistics will be a daunting prospect and will require significant shifts in global mind-sets, according to a report published for the World Economic Forum, which kicks off Tuesday in Davos, Switzerland. In the report, entitled “A Pragmatist’s Guide to Zero-Emission Logistics,” Essa Al Saleh, president and CEO of Agility Management AG’s Global Integrated Logistics, and Gwyneth Fries, Agility’s senior manager of sustainability, wrote that the push to develop zero-emissions fuels and vessels, while important, has its limitations. “In a cost-driven industry, a high-cost, high-risk focus on zero-emissions technology may position many players in emerging markets as part of the dirty past – not the clean future,” according to the report. The authors advised a “pragmatic approach that balances high-tech practices with practical ones that offer a role for everyone.” The technology exists to reduce avoidable emissions, they wrote. What’s needed, they said, is the will to do it.

Did you know?

The global pharmaceutical cold-chain logistics market will grow by 10% a year through 2024, according to Infinity Research.


“Fundamentals likely will not matter for a while.”

– Ravi Shanker, analyst at Morgan Stanley & Co., on why the rules of securities analysis for XPO Logistics Inc. will be driven in the near term by the outcome of its proposed sale or spin-off of roughly three-quarters of its business.

In other news:

Americans show little interest in electric vehicles, Subaru CEO says

Tomomi Nakamura said he sees little evidence that Americans want electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids. The one exception, he said, was Tesla. (The Wall Street Journal)

Puerto Rico fires top emergency management official over warehouse scandal

Carlos Acevedo, the director of Puerto Rico’s Office of Emergency Management, was fired over the weekend after authorities found a warehouse in the city of Ponce filled with relief aid never distributed to residents hard hit by Hurricane Maria in 2017. (Slate)

Rakuten, Walmart unit open logistics center in Japan

Japanese online retailer Rakuten and Walmart Stores’ Seiyu plan to open a new logistics site in Yokohama later this year to manage growing sales from their joint online supermarket business. (Reuters)

Realty firm buys minority stake in Polish logistics portfolio

Madison International Realty has acquired a 46.5% equity stake in a $553 million Polish logistics portfolio from majority owner Redefine Properties. (IPE Real Assets)

Gresto expands in Serbia

Serbian greenhouses builder Gresto has begun work on a $2.2 million logistics complex in Ruma, in northern Serbia, the Ruma city government said. The company aims to complete the first phase of development during the summer of 2020. (SeeNews)

Final thoughts:

To paraphrase the late Sen. Everett Dirksen, $13 billion here and there is real money. But that’s the amount of revenue generated by the assets that XPO Logistics said last week it is putting on the auction block. There is substantial meat being cleaved off the bone. The company’s formidable contract logistics network, which was expected to play a vital role in the company e-commerce future, is up for sale. So is the last-mile operation, which has been central to the company’s first major pivot from freight brokerage in 2013. XPO is keeping the less-than-truckload (LTL) business, in part because it is a great turnaround story, and in part because of the potential of tapping into e-commerce deliveries both in last and middle mile. Once the smoke clears from the sales and/or spin-offs (assuming they happen) it will be interesting to watch how XPO positions its LTL network with no in-house final-mile provider to accompany it.

Hammer down, everyone!