Arctic Shipping Faces Cold Realities

When the Venta Maersk sailed out of Vladivostok late last month, the container ship was laden with far more than just a load of seafood. With its progress across Russia's frigid arctic coast, the vessel also carried the promise of a new route across the globe that would shave time off major trade trips and cut the shipping industry's rapidly rising fuel bills.
 The reality for vessel operators is more complicated, however, and the economic and operating barriers to predictable, scheduled services may be more difficult to break through than the fast melting ice along the Arctic Circle.

Road Trip Redefined: 6,000 Miles, an 18-Wheeler and a Spouse

INTERSTATE 80, Nev. — Many couples and empty-nesters dream about traveling the world together. Some are making it a reality — in the cabs of 18-wheel freight trucks.
 On a recent Monday night, Karen and Paul Lucey and their dogs, Sammie and Earl, left home in the Bay Area to pick up a load in Hayward, Calif. Then, as they do almost every week, they started out on a six-day, 6,000-mile trip to New Jersey and back.

Korean Shipping Firms Hit Slump

South Korean shipyard Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. and national flag carrier Hyundai Merchant Marine posted weak results in the second quarter, raising concerns about their future business despite repeated state bailouts.
 Second-quarter net profit at DSME, the world's third largest shipbuilder by capacity, slumped 80% from a year ago to $183 million, despite a raft of orders, mostly tankers, since the start of the year.

The Messy Business Of Selling Meal Kits

Meal kits may make cooking easier, but getting a box of preportioned ingredients and instructions to a customer's door is one of the most complicated logistics riddles in the food business.
 Companies have poured millions of dollars into solving such questions as how to stack fish and fennel in boxes. They're also investing in systems to reroute shipments during snowstorms and algorithms to predict what customers want to eat during the summer months.

Freight Rates Force Change

Retailers and manufacturers are taking stock of their transportation costs and exploring alternatives as a capacity crunch in freight is driving up prices and causing shipping delays.
 A variety of companies, including food producer Hormel Foods Corp. and retailer Dollar General Corp., have reconfigured their supply chains, including building out their own truck fleets, reducing the frequency of pickups and deliveries, and shopping around for better rates.
 Freight rates have been climbing in recent months, making it harder and more costly for shippers

UPS is Running Late

MESQUITE, Texas — In the sticky Southern heat, hundreds of workers streamed in for the 11 a.m. shift last month at United Parcel Service Inc.'s local package- sorting facility, one of dozens nationwide that help it move millions of parcels daily.
 In a windowless room, a 30- year-old analog control panel about the size of a chest freezer monitors operations, with rows of green and red lights indicating when something goes awry in the building's web of conveyor belts.

Alibaba Battles for Delivery Edge With New Investment

SHANGHAI—Facing tougher competition in online retailing, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and its logistics arm are leading a $1.4 billion effort to boost their delivery capabilities.
 Under a deal announced Tuesday, investors led by Alibaba and its majority-owned logistics unit, Cainiao Network, will spend almost $1.4 billion to buy a 10% stake in express-delivery company ZTO Express Inc. of Shanghai, which delivered more than 6 million parcels last year.

Yellow-Cab Drivers Push for Limits on Uber

Angry taxi drivers gathered outside City Hall on Tuesday to call for tighter regulation of ride-hailing services like Uber following the suicide of five cabdrivers in as many months.
 Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said the influx of ride-hailing cars during the past few years has driven down wages, forcing many drivers to the brink of despair.

Union voices fears over staff safety at Amazon warehouses

Ambulances were called to Amazon's UK warehouses 600 times in the past three years, according to an investigation by the GMB union into working practices at the ecommerce giant's fulfilment centres.
 Amazon's 14UKwarehouses have been the subject of long-running concerns about working conditions. Freedom of information requests made by the GMB to ambulance services near the centres showed hundreds of calls for medical help in recent years.