Effects of the explosion in Tianjin on supply chains worldwide
After last week’s explosion in the port of Tianjin, a rising demand for air cargo can be observed as companies want to keep their supply chains intact. Since some parts of the region are still not accessible, the total extent of the damage cannot yet be completely estimated, but single companies like Toyota, John Deere and Volkswagen can already predict their losses. The car industry is affected most by the explosion, as Tianjin is one of the country’s biggest ports for car imports and exports. Another industry likely to be impacted by the blast is the electronics industry because many parts that are needed for production are stored in Tianjin. Depositories of the box manufacturer Singamas Container Holdings are said to be damaged by the explosion, whereas their factory in the city has not been affected. The terminals of several other companies remain fully operative.
By now, the processes in the port of Tianjin have resumed, however there are certain restraints. Furthermore, freight is anticipated to be damaged, lost or delayed. It is stated that thousands of containers were destroyed in the incident, nonetheless many of them are insured. Although work at the port continues, it cannot be predicted how long it will take until everything is back to normal.
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Apple planning to build a self-driving car
Documents obtained by the Guardian reveal that Apple has been working on a self-driving car and is now looking for a safely guarded place to test it. Engineers from Apple are said to have held a meeting with officials from GoMentum Station, a former naval weapons base close to San Francisco, where other companies, such as Mercedes-Benz and Honda have already tested self-driving cars. It is protected by the military and the public is not allowed to enter. The diversity of streets at GoMentum would make it possible for Apple to try their cars in different authentic situations. Other firms carry out tests on public streets, however this needs technical inspection first – which would no longer keep Apple’s plans a secret. Even inside the firm, the project is top secret, as the engineers working on it – among them, hired specialists of automobile companies – are placed in another, highly secured housing location, some miles away from the main buildings in Cupertino.
Wal-Mart restructured its Supply Chain to extend e-commerce
There have been recent changes in Wal-Mart’s inventory management, according to Greg Foran, chief executive of Wal-Mart U.S. The firm has shifted stocks from the shops’ backrooms to local distribution centers as it seeks to optimize its omnichannel approach. This allows Wal-Mart to act more flexibly when it comes to satisfying demand. The company’s main goal is to offer a wider range of products to their customers, and at the same time, reduce stock by selling in stores and via the internet. The only problem that may arise with this policy is that customers who are used to shopping in “brick and mortar” locations may be displeased if a product is not available in the store due to the lower stock levels.
Greg Foran believes the advantage of restructuring the supply chain is that operations will be simpler and yet more efficient. Turning to profits, a reduction of costs and higher sales are expected due to the overall increased availability of goods.
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A high amount of methane escapes Natural-gas Supply Chain each year
A study conducted by Colorado State University and the Environmental Defense Fund, which included 114 natural-gas facilities and 16 processing plants, unveiled that 100 million cubic feet of natural gas escapes from gathering facilities each year. This number is eight times higher than the estimated amount to date. The principal element of the gas is methane, which has an even stronger impact on climate change than carbon dioxide. The gas is able to escape at the gathering facilities through the valves that are used to regulate the flow. Although there are other low-priced techniques to use that would minimize methane emissions, firms often stay with the one they know is dependable. The American government introduced a regulation that requires companies to decrease their gas emissions, nevertheless this just affects new pipelines and not the many already in use, says Mark Brownstein, the leader of the Environmental Defense Fund’s research.
According to Anthony J. Marchese, professor of mechanical engineering at Colorado State University, it would be possible to give electricity to 3.2 million homes by using the yearly released quantity of gas. Closing the leaks would not only be profitable for companies, but also highly beneficial for the environment.
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Have a nice weekend!