Alibaba’s shipping teamwork
A partnership between Alibaba and Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping line, was officially announced this week. Since December 22, Chinese exporters have been able to reserve space on Maersk’s shipping containers directly through Alibaba’s OneTouch booking website. It allows the website’s existing business customers to bypass middlemen freight forwarders, making the process quicker and easier. The website also offers services for financing and dealing with customs. A pre-paid deposit is expected to secure the cargo space on selected routes; ports in Europe and Asia are available to be selected as well eight Chinese ports.
Over recent years, Alibaba has been expanding its logistics services through acquisitions. The company has also purchased stakes in couriers, which has led to improvements in its global logistics efforts. The OneTouch website already allows exporters to book airfreight and parcel delivery services, proving Alibaba’s further expansion of its capabilities. It is also the fastest growing unit in Alibaba’s business-to-business division, already servicing 20,000 merchants.
Read more on the shipping development here.
Tesla’s Gigafactory starts production
Production of Tesla’s lithium-ion batteries officially started at the company’s Gigafactory in Nevada on Wednesday. The Gigafactory is Tesla’s $5 billion investment to bring the production of the batteries into the American market. Production was previously dominated by manufacturers in countries such as China, Japan and South Korea. However, by 2018, it has been predicted that the world’s production capacity for lithium-ion batteries will double due to the factory, with an estimated 6,500 full-time workers to be employed.
Battery packs which power homes and back-up electrical grids are also being made in the Gigafactory. Plans are moving ahead quickly with hiring procedures two years ahead of schedule. Tesla is beginning to fulfil its deadlines, which have famously been over-estimated and unsuccessfully achieved in the past. Tesla took a risk in establishing the factory to make its own batteries. It was a decision that may result in more struggle than success for the company due to falling battery prices and increased manufacturing costs, but only time will tell.
Find out more on the Gigafactory’s operations here.
Macy’s Christmas downfall
This week, Macy’s announced its plans to continue closing 100 of its retail stores and clarified which locations will be impacted. It also revealed the number of jobs to be eliminated will rise from the 4,500 stated last January to 10,000 jobs. 3,900 jobs will be directly affected by the closures and a further 6,200 due to restructuring plans. After the announcement, Macy’s shares fell by nearly 10% in after-hours trading.
Macy’s experienced sagging sales over the holiday season which saw a 2.1% fall in November and December when compared with 2015 data. The decline was attributed to ‘broader challenges’ that the retail industry is now facing. This could be interpreted as the rise of e-commerce and decline in traffic at brick-and-mortar stores. Therefore, Macy’s has announced its new focus on online shopping and mobile-enabled shopping to boost sales. The money invested in these areas will be half the amount saved from the aforementioned changes; an estimated $550 million is expected to be saved yearly, beginning in 2017.
Read the full article on Macy’s closures here.
Have a great weekend!