Weekly Roundup: The Polar Vortex Edition

by | Jan 31, 2019

3 min read


Additional Weather Disruptions in the Midwest

Significant amounts of snow and icy weather invaded the Midwest in the past few weeks, leading to blizzard warnings being issued across several states. Some parts of the United States recorded temperatures colder than Antarctica. These warnings caused serious traffic hazards, which in turn, resulted in UPS & FedEx keeping a close eye on their logistics operations.

Chicago’s O’Hare airport cancelled thousands of flights in the past due to weather concerns, particularly during Peak Season. So, it isn’t out of the question that UPS & FedEx planes could be delayed this time around. However, through these growing concerns, UPS released a statement saying, “We aren’t experiencing any weather delays at this time.” On the other hand, USPS suspended delivery today in multiple states due to temperatures dropping below zero.

FedEx also mentioned that they are monitoring the weather and preparing to take steps to minimize any impact on service. Logistics companies’ biggest fears are not the packages taking too long to reach their destinations, but the fear of them freezing. “Even something as hardy as oatmeal is vulnerable in cold temperatures” one transportation company said. With the weather turning warmer, there is hope the fear of delays are in the past.

Cold Chain Logistics – How Does It Work?

With the rise of meal kit companies, such as HelloFresh, cold chain logistics becomes more prevalent in the shipping industry. Originated in 1940 as a “mobile refrigeration” this new way to transport food or pharmaceuticals is now as cornerstone of those industries’ shipping operations. Cold Chain Logistics was also used in the early 18th century, as British ships would send fruits and frozen meat to the United States using reefer cargo ships.

Transporting vital vaccines to third world countries that do not have this infrastructure could do more harm than good upon injection. Bacteria and illnesses can form in the heat of the packages when being shipped, causing more harm than good. Cold Chain Logistics is looking to remove this problem going forward.

Cold Chain Logistics is seen as the future for many businesses’ shipping operations as large pharmaceutical companies are implementing it moving forward. Whether it is a reefer ship or a climate-controlled parcel package, the Cold Chain is soon going to become a staple of the parcel shipping world.

Amazon Gives FedEx & UPS the Cold Shoulder

The notion that Amazon does not compete with the parcel duopoly of FedEx & UPS is being reconsidered, according to the Wall Street Journal. New reports show that a seven-day a week delivery network championed by Amazon aims to steal customers from FedEx & UPS by cracking down on extra fees and fuel surcharges, which add to home delivery costs.

In the past few weeks however, FedEx CEO Fred Smith said, “Amazon is a good customer of ours and we don’t see them as a peer competitor. We think it is doubtful that, that will be the case. So, we have very strong strategies, well understood by the management team, the addressable markets that we deal with are growing.” This was reported in VeriShip’s last Weekly Roundup, which can be found here.

The trade-off of time vs. price grows the more than Amazon’s internal operations expands. Parcel industry observers stated that this is just a publicity stunt by Amazon; forcing other businesses in the industry to scramble for ideas conceived by the Amazon effect. Going forward, this will be an interesting story to follow – to see if Amazon begins to form a dominance in the parcel industry.

Topics: Amazon, FedEx, Residential Surcharge, Surcharges, UPS