Thursday, February 13, 2014

Weekly Update and Musings on Suning - a New Rival for International Express Providers?

Another week and another bout of freezing rain, snow and ice! I keep reminding myself that Spring is just around the corner and soon I will be complaining of humidity and temperatures above 100. If you haven't seen, check out the tweet I sent out earlier today - a photo from my front porch - a winter wonderland a la Atlanta style.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I had plans to attend and co-chair Eye For Transport's TruckIT conference but it was not the weather that stopped me but rather a leaky pipe. Since that post, I have discovered 2 more leaks plus a leaky dishwasher. Still waiting on the plumber which is understandable given the weather situation but I'm now beginning to suspect these leaks are some kind of payback because of my intense dislike of kitchens!

Enough of my personal issues, so what's going on work-wise this week? same thing as last week - a couple of briefs and work on the two reports. I also did a blog post on UPS' acquisition of Polar Express - I had thought it would appear in our global newsletter but it did not. No worries, you can enjoy it here. Just a quick thought on the acquisition - I think it was a smart move for UPS and should complement and enhance its offerings nicely.

Oh, exciting news! Beginning next week, I will be doing a regular column for Eye for Transport. The articles will focus around e-commerce, logistics start-ups and new technology. Be on the watch for that.

Over the weekend, I also plan to work on another blog post for Innovation Enterprises' conference: High-Tech Supply & Demand Summit in April. That should be posted on the next week.

Lastly, I am working on trying to move the blog over to Word Press so in advance, I thank you for your patience. The simple one click method that Word Press has to transfer posts does not seem to work for me so I'm trying to figure that out along with figuring out the layout of the new site. Thoughts, suggestions, assistance are all appreciated.

Now on to the weekly musings. Nothing really struck me as Aha! this week - other than UPS' acquisition - perhaps that's because I'm buried in healthcare logistics at the moment. But I did come across a couple of articles that I found really interesting and could have a big impact on China's express market. That is, Suning's announcement that they had received an overseas courier license from China's State Post Bureau. According to Suning, it is China's first consumer electronics retailer that has acquired such a license.

The significance of this announcement is the possibility of additional competition with international express providers DHL, FedEx, TNT and UPS. According to Suning's public relations manager, "When overseas customers purchase items from Suning's online shop, we could deliver them right to their doors."

What will be interesting to watch is if and how other Asian ecommerce providers will respond. Last Fall, Alibaba opened a US office and this week word was that it was getting set to launch a U.S. e-commerce site through its subsidiaries Vendio and Auctiva, both which it acquired in 2010. Will it invest in an international courier service? or will it partner with the big international express providers?

And don't forget Rakuten as it may look to link its Japanese logistics network to the US and Europe - Will it make a similar investment or simply partner? Stay tune.

With that, I'll stop for now. Enjoy the weekend and the week ahead and as always thank you so much for taking the time to read the blog!

Take care,