Port Tracker report expects decent gain in imports for first half of 2018

A strong wind is expected to continue blowing on the economic seas in the first half of 2018 but could recede for the full year, based on the most recent edition of the Port Tracker report, which was released late last week by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates.

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Boeing: Air cargo to expand in mid-single digits through 2020

After a steep plunge into negative growth in mid-2016, world air cargo traffic rebounded sharply last year and is on course for 4.2 percent average annual tonnage gains through 2020. The pace is currently outracing cargo belly and freighter capacity, improving yields for carriers, and creating space shortages for shippers. That is essentially the snapshot of the global airfreight market Boeing recently released at its annual cargo forecast last week.
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DAT sees a growth spurt in spot truckload rates compared to contract rates

As the trucking market continues to see tight capacity, coupled with healthy demand, there has been an interesting story going on as it relates to the national average for spot and contract rates for the three-month period ending in January, according to date recently put out by DAT, a subsidiary of Roper Industries.

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Alibaba, U.S. grocer Kroger had early business development talks: source

Chinese e-commerce and technology company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and U.S. grocer Kroger Co have had early discussions on working together, including a meeting in which U.S. executives traveled to China, a source familiar with the matter said.

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How food, beverage brands are going digital to improve the customer experience

Retailers and brands convened in New York City last week to experience the National Retail Federation’s Big Show, and once of the biggest topics on attendees’ minds was technology. From automation to personalization to social marketing, the growing importance of technology in the shopping experience was definitely top-of-mind for retailers and brands, including those in the food and beverage space.

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What will grocery shopping look like in the future?

People will take a more active role in what they eat, have more opportunities to interact and know more about how food impacts their bodies, a pair of futurists said

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ReFED: Tackling food waste is an $18.2B opportunity for retailers

ReFED, in partnership with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, has released a new Retail Food Waste Action Guide aimed at expanding voluntary food donation and organics recycling. “Food waste is an $18.2 billion opportunity for grocery retailers,” ReFED Executive Director Chris Cochran told Waste Dive. “There’s a business case here.”

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CEO DOUG MCMILLON ON THE FUTURE OF WALMART

The National Retail Federation named Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, The Visionary at the NRF Foundation Gala on Sunday, honoring him for his contribution to the retail industry.

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NRF 2018: RETAIL’S BIG SHOW HIGHLIGHTS: LEADERSHIP AND INNOVATION

Over 35,000 retailers and industry partners came to the Javits Center in New York City for NRF 2018: Retail’s Big Show. Monday marked the second day of the show, with sessions highlighting innovative entrepreneurs, established brands and a range of new retail technologies. Here are some highlights.

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Slow expansion and store closures could be the new norm for grocers

Walmart’s decision to close 63 Sam’s Club stores on the same day it announced raises for its hourly workers was a poor one, to say the least. But its decision to shutter those underperforming club outlets and convert 12 of them to e-commerce fulfillment centers, industry observers agree, was tough but necessary.

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From cellophane to QR codes: Supermarket technology through the years

While changes today may be more complicated, they’re all focused on the same goals grocers and other retailers had more than a century ago: To offer better food, more efficiently and stand out.

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DOT Secretary Chao rings bell for Positive Train Control implementation

Late last month, United States Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao penned a letter to Class I railroads, as well as passenger railroads and state and local transportation agencies, regarding the federally-mandated Positive Train Control (PTC) mandate, which is slated to be fully implemented by December 31, 2018.

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Four more ELD exemptions sought

Four more trucking groups and fleets are asking the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for five-year exemptions from the electronic logging device mandate that took effect last month.
They include:
Trash hauling and recycling fleet American Disposal Services (ADS)
Oilfield service fleet Cudd Energy Services (CES)
Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA)
Association of Energy Service Companies (AESC), which includes well service rig contractors

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FMCSA will grant 90-day ELD waiver for short-term rental trucks

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is planning to grant a request from the Truck Renting and Leasing Association (TRALA) for a 90-day waiver from the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate for “short term” rental trucks, defined as being rented out for a period of 30 days or less.

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How quickly will ELDs be felt in the freight market?

Last-minute push to install ELDs to comply with the December 18 mandate could lead to “confusion” due to lack of preparation and training time. Once the electronic logging mandate becomes official on Dec. 18, attention will turn to just how quickly it cuts into freight capacity.

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Latest Anheuser-Busch Initiative Aims to ‘Elevate’ Craft Beer Industry Sustainability

Craft beer has taken off over the past five years, with the industry now boasting over 6,000 craft breweries in the US alone, 700 of which opened in the past year. In order to continue this momentum, Anheuser-Busch (A-B) has launched Elevate, a new initiative that aims to take craft brewing to the next level by creating a stronger, safer, more sustainable category and raising awareness of its craft beer and cider brands.

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More Gifts That Keep on Giving: Sustainable Brands’ 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Sustainable products geeks rejoice, for ’tis once again the season of giving! And what better way to celebrate and participate than with gifts whose buying and giving creates more cheer, health, beauty and financial stability while eliminating waste, pollution and carbon emissions around the world? Here are just a few of our favorite discoveries this year of products we’d be proud to give.

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Tech Giants Dominate 2017 JUST 100 List of Top Corporate Citizens

JUST Capital, a nonprofit research organization focused, and Forbes have released the 2017 edition of the JUST 100 List, which ranks publicly traded companies in the US on their performance to act on the priorities of the public. The rankings are based on comprehensive surveys conducted on public attitudes towards corporate behavior, involving 10,000 respondents in 2017, which we produced in partnership with one of the nation’s foremost data science organizations, NORC at the University of Chicago, using its survey tool AmeriSpeak.

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Outlook: U.S. Manufacturing Turns Corner, Rides Upswing of Global Economies; Chemical Industry Growth Rate Surpasses 20-Year Average As Industry Rebounds From Historic Hurricanes

The U.S. chemical industry is riding a global wave of growth as the world’s major economies experience an upswing for the first time in a decade. Increased output and accelerating growth rates that surpass the previous twenty-year average will help cement the business of American chemistry as $1 trillion industry within the next five years, according to the American Chemistry Council.

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Global Plastics Alliance Meeting Advances Sustainability and Marine Litter Solutions

Representatives from the Global Plastics Alliance (GPA) – which currently includes participation from 19 countries – met in Penang, Malaysia from December 13-15 to accelerate and advance The Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter, also known as the “Joint Declaration.” At the meeting – hosted by the Malaysian Plastic Manufacturers Association – the GPA welcomed new participant Acoplasticos (Columbia), the second association from South America. Other GPA participants came from Brazil, Canada, Europe, Ghana, India, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, and the United States.

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WHY PASSING TAX REFORM IS GOOD FOR RETAIL

After years of talk, Congress is now close to actually passing meaningful, permanent tax reform. For the retail industry, this is very good news. NRF has been fighting for tax reform for years, and we are optimistic about the current effort. Tax reform is a long-sought goal that would significantly help our industry and create a fairer tax code.

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6 THINGS EVERY RETAILER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT NAFTA

NAFTA — the North American Free Trade Agreement — has been in the news a lot lately. Five official negotiating sessions have been held since August, rotating between the United States, Canada and Mexico, and two more rounds are expected in 2018.

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Report: Food and beverage is the fastest growing online channel

Global online food and beverage sales will increase 80% over the next five years, according to research firm Euromonitor International. This growth will outpace the 73% growth projected for the broader retail industry during the same time period, the firm notes. By 2022, Euromonitor forecasts that global online retail sales will eclipse traditional grocery sales.

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Survey: Shoppers love Aldi, but say Walmart’s customer experience lags

A consumer survey released by Retail Feedback Group Study had positive news for Aldi and cautionary news for everyone else. The 2017 U.S. Supermarket Experience Study, which examined shopper attitudes on a range of industry topics, indicated Aldi is winning with shoppers on value and checkout experience, while Walmart received the lowest scores in all core areas of grocery shopping.

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