Amazon Go Store has finally opened
On Monday, approximately a year later than expected, Amazon officially opened the doors of its first cashierless convenience store to the general public. The store is situated at their main headquarters in Seattle, U.S. Prior to this, Amazon Go was only open to employees to conduct tests on the technology used, such as computer vision and machine-learning algorithms, to overcome any problems with the software. The technology tracks customers’ movements and charges their purchases on the smartphone app, which removes the need for checkouts. To do this, the store is filled with cameras and electronic sensors mounted on the ceiling and facing shelves, but no facial recognition software is used.
Shoppers swipe their smartphones using a QR code on the Amazon Go app to walk through the gates and enter the store. Customers then become a 3D-object in the system. The cameras and sensors reveal customers’ interactions with products and then they automatically add their purchases to their account. Purchases can then be placed directly into their bags. Although, the test phase helped Amazon Go’s technology better identify products, there are still some issues with similar packaging and labels unintentionally being covered when selecting products. Consequently, some products have not been added to customers’ accounts. Therefore, there are still some developments to be made with grab-and-go shopping.
To find more about this cashierless store, click here.
New China-Europe freight train connection
This week, a new freight train route within the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route was launched, connecting China and Europe. The rail route was developed by railway authorities in both Xinjiang and Kazakhstan to offer quicker connections between Asia and Europe. On this latest route, the freight train departs from Urumqi, China, travels along the Alatau Pass, a mountain pass between China and Central Asia, to Port Kuryk in Kazakhstan before the freight is boarded onto a ferry travelling to Baku, Azerbaijan.
The first freight train to use this route, carrying engineering equipment and auto parts, has already begun its 4,186 kilometer journey over an eight day period, which is two thirds less than the amount of time it would take via other transportation routes. Therefore, it saves a lot of time which has a knock-on effect on the value of the exported products. It is expected that this year 1,400 freight trains will use this particular logistics channel as there has been an increase in the use of freight trains between China and Europe in the last few years.
More information can be found here.
Freight volume outweighs trucking availability
This month has seen a lot of upheaval in the trucking industry with January usually considered as quiet for freight movements. So far this month, the demand for trucks has increased dramatically, particularly with short notice truck hire, with retailers restocking after an incredibly strong holiday sale season and more cargo shipments from manufacturers. This has resulted in an increase in truckload rates due to the nationwide truck shortage.
Alongside this, the trucking industry is still dealing with the aftermath of the new federal safety rule introduced last month, where drivers have to log their hours behind the wheel with electronic devices. As a result of the stricter timekeeping, routes can take longer and therefore prices have risen for those routes. To combat this trucking availability issue, shippers have to prioritize their most important shipments and postpone the rest or pay an extortionate price to get to the front of the queue. Furthermore, trucking companies are adding capacity to their fleets, but it will take a while to catch up with the overflowing demand. Consequently some companies have moved their cargo to freight railroads instead. The situation doesn’t look like it will improve anytime soon.
Read more about this here.
Have a great weekend!
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