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Today's Logistics Report: Amazon Opens its Warehouses; New Seafood Lures; Retail's Growing Gap

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05/22/2020 | 10:39am EDT

By Paul Page

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The Logistics Report won't be published on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25. The next newsletter will be sent on Tuesday, May 26.

Amazon.com Inc. is opening its logistics operations wider to third-party suppliers as it tries to get business moving normally again. The e-commerce behemoth has started allowing unlimited shipments of nonessential goods to warehouses, the WSJ's Dana Mattioli reports, as part of a broader plan to resume pre-pandemic business operations. That includes pushing back its annual Prime Day shopping promotion until the fall, when the company's leaders believe distribution networks will have regained their footing. Lifting the warehouse limits suggests Amazon can now process orders more quickly in its warehouses and handle more inventory after its shipping delivery times sank under a flood of orders driven by the coronavirus lockdowns. Retail competitors have stepped in with strong results in the meantime, in some cases claiming advantages in using their brick-and-mortar stores for fulfillment. Amazon's shipping speeds have improved, but the company hasn't reinstated one-day shipping for many Prime orders.


Seafood suppliers are struggling to overhaul their supply chains and look for new customers as the coronavirus crisis takes a toll on their business. The pandemic is hitting seafood businesses even harder than the meat industry, the WSJ's Jesse Newman and Julie Wernau report, crippling many of their key markets as fishermen and processors strain to redirect their highly perishable products. U.S. supermarket shoppers are buying more fish and shellfish to prepare at home during quarantine, but experts say 70% of seafood is consumed in restaurants and the sales to consumers aren't offsetting the lost business. Fishermen across the country have docked vessels and distributors have rerouted what fresh fish they can into freezers, sometimes destroying the rest. In the meantime, prices for many items have plummeted as costs climb for processors trying to prevent the virus from spreading in seafood plants as it has in slaughterhouses.



A long-running split in the retail sector is accelerating under the coronavirus pandemic. Department stores and apparel retailers are staggering along with the goods and services companies that supply them, the WSJ's Suzanne Kapner reports, while big-box chains such as Walmart Inc., Target Corp., Home Depot Inc. and Lowe's Cos., are coping with sales surges. The gap between the general-merchandise and hardware retailers and the department stores was growing even before the pandemic and economic crisis highlighted the fragile nature of traditional business models. Macy's Inc., Victoria's Secret parent L Brands Inc. and others reported steep sales declines last quarter, leaving them with mountains of excess inventory. Kohl's Corp. says it will manage its business "very conservatively" for the rest of the year after shedding stocks as its stores closed in March. Off-price retailer TJX Cos. included a $500 million charge for unsold inventory in its first-quarter loss.


The pace of new unemployment claims in the U.S. fell back slightly, with 2.4 million new filings in the past week. (WSJ)

Sales of previously owned homes in the U.S. dropped 17.8% in April. (WSJ)

U.S. forecasters predict an above-average hurricane season, potentially complicating logistics and shipping operations that are already in upheaval. (WSJ)

The Trump administration is moving to withdraw from an Open Skies aviation treaty with Russia. (WSJ)

Around 400 European business executives plan to return to China next week, in a key milestone in normalizing business activity. (WSJ)

Electronics retailer Best Buy Co.'s quarterly sales fell 6.3% even though online sales doubled. (WSJ)

Drugmaker Akorn Inc. has filed for bankruptcy protection after failing to sell the business. (WSJ)

Trade tensions are likely to dampen Australia's coal exports to China. (S&P Global Platts)

Temperature-controlled specialist Lineage Logistics LLC acquired assets of restaurant supplierMaines Paper & Food Service. (Crain's Detroit Business)

China is imposing new air cargo restrictions that freight forwarders say are fueling congestion and leaving freighters to depart without shipments. (The Loadstar)

Greece's Port of Piraeus says container throughput rose 15.1% last year and revenues rose 12.3% to $164 million. (Port Technology)

Large U.S. truckload carriers are cutting capacity for the first time in several years. (Journal of Commerce)

The Intermodal Association of North America says intermodal volumes fell 15% in April, including a 30.5% drop in trailer volumes. (Logistics Management)

Canada Post lost $110 million last year as growing e-commerce parcel deliveries hurt margins. (CBC)

Transportation technology firm Samsara laid off 300 workers as the company raised $400 million in new capital. (San Francisco Business Times)

Gartner rated telecommunications equipment supplier Cisco Systems Inc. as having the top supply chain in its annual rankings. (DC Velocity)


Paul Page is editor of WSJ Logistics Report. Follow the WSJ Logistics Report team: @PaulPage , @jensmithWSJ and @CostasParis. Follow the WSJ Logistics Report on Twitter at @WSJLogistics.

Write to Paul Page at paul.page@wsj.com


Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AMAZON.COM, INC. -3.00% 3104 Delayed Quote.73.18%
BEST INC. 0.00% 4.48 Delayed Quote.-19.42%
KOHL'S CORPORATION -3.08% 20.44 Delayed Quote.-58.61%
LINE CORPORATION 1.09% 5560 End-of-day quote.3.93%
LOWE'S COMPANIES, INC. -0.64% 136.55 Delayed Quote.14.75%
ONE STOP SYSTEMS, INC. 22.05% 2.38 Delayed Quote.-3.47%
TEAM, INC. -0.45% 4.39 Delayed Quote.-72.39%
THE GLOBAL LTD. 3.41% 212 End-of-day quote.-54.99%
THE NEW HOME COMPANY INC. 6.95% 3.54 Delayed Quote.-28.97%
THE TJX COMPANIES -1.37% 50.37 Delayed Quote.-16.36%
WALMART INC. -0.89% 129.52 Delayed Quote.9.96%
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