Today’s Top Supply Chain and Logistics News From WSJ

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has ambitions within the medical-supply enterprise go far past simply providing fast supply. The firm is making an attempt to grow to be a serious participant within the high-value, high-stakes enterprise of delivering health-care provides to hospitals, a strategy aimed at pushing providers to change the medical world’s distributor-based procurement system. The WSJ’s Melanie Evans and Laura Stevens report Amazon is advancing a “market idea” that might compete with the entrenched community of distributors and producers that ship gadgets from gauze to main surgical merchandise. The firm has been assembly with hospital executives and testing new shopping for programs at a big hospital system because it seeks to increase its business-to-business market into the specialised enviornment. The effort thrusts Amazon right into a medical-supply enterprise in upheaval, with ongoing consolidation blurring the strains between gamers within the provide chains. Amazon goals to indicate it may possibly decrease prices, however medical suppliers say they’ll’t let decrease costs come at the price of missed or late deliveries.

Big gamers in pharmaceutical provide chains aren’t merely ready for Amazon to vary their distribution fashions.

Walgreens Boots Alliance

is transferring to take over


, the latest combination of a drug distributor with the consumer-facing retail side of the business. The WSJ’s Michael Siconolfi, Dana Mattioli and Joseph Walker report the businesses are within the early stage of talks to mix, an advanced effort made simpler as a result of Walgreens already owns about 26% of Amerisource, one of many nation’s largest drug distributors. A deal would come as drugstore house owners are in search of to insulate their companies from exterior threats. In December, Walgreens rival

CVS Health

agreed to purchase well being insurer Aetna Inc., a deal probably spurred by Amazon’s curiosity in getting into the pharmacy enterprise. Even with out that direct competitors, the patron shift to on-line buying is consuming into the gross sales of primary staples at drug shops, including to the stress to keep up margins in pharmacy enterprise.

Private-equity companies aren’t seeing a lot to love in public-private partnerships. Many of the large companies that raised a document sum for infrastructure funding final 12 months don’t count on the plan to pump new funding into America’s aging roads and bridges will open the floodgates for privatization deals. The WSJ’s Miriam Gottfried and Cezary Podkul report the plan, which seeks to make use of federal spending to lure non-public funding, has a paradox at its coronary heart: It creates incentives for funding that the majority infrastructure funds aren’t a lot focused on. Fund fund managers say they’re primarily searching for belongings which can be already privately owned—reminiscent of renewable vitality, railroads, utilities and pipelines—and never the deteriorating government-owned infrastructure that helped appeal to the capital within the first place. Even

Blackstone Group

LP, which plans to boost as a lot as $40 billion for North American infrastructure, could solely dedicate 10% to public belongings.


Blue Apron Holdings

has been slicing its logistics prices however its been shedding clients on the identical time. The meal-kit firm’s buyer ranks fell by 15% within the fourth quarter, the WSJ’s Heather Haddon reviews, because the food home-delivery service suffered from the big logistics problems that have eaten into profits and the flexibility to market its enterprise. Blue Apron has made progress on achievement challenges at a Linden, N.J., warehouse the corporate opened final 12 months. The firm says it now has the “nimble infrastructure” wanted to get its subscription meals delivered to houses. But Blue Apron additionally appears to be shedding market share, and it’s struggling to get its infrastructure in place as different operators push into the market. Blue Apron canceled plans final quarter to open a website in California, a blow for a enterprise that wants a stronger bodily footprint to match its on-line ambitions.

The provide chain for minerals important to electrical automobiles begins in Congo however more and more runs by means of China. Wholesalers within the central African nation that’s the world’s greatest producer of cobalt promote most of their merchandise in makeshift markets to Chinese consumers, launching a long journey in which bags of the mineral are shipped to China and processed into lithium-ion batteries for electronics. The WSJ’s Scott Patterson and Russell Gold write the method is a part of a world-wide race to lock up the provision chain for cobalt, and that China is much within the lead. Chinese imports of cobalt from Congo totaled $1.2 billion within the first 9 months of 2017, in contrast with simply $three.2 million by India, the second-largest importer. The focus is elevating questions on market management and situations on the mines, the place important manufacturing comes from freelance diggers working beneath grueling circumstances prone to achieve extra consideration because the demand for cobalt grows.


Small-business house owners’ confidence reached a near-record high in January. (WSJ)

U.S. family debt rose for the 14th straight quarter within the last three months of 2017. (WSJ)

The Japanese yen is at a five-month high in opposition to the greenback. (WSJ)

Canada says U.S. inflexibility has left “pretty restricted progress” in talks to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement. (WSJ)

Congressional leaders could cut up the Trump administration’s infrastructure plan into smaller pieces of legislation. (WSJ)

General Motors

is closing a South Korean manufacturing unit and pressuring union officers there for added value cuts to stem losses. (WSJ)

A brand new report says U.S. shale firms are churning out crude oil at a document tempo that would overwhelm global demand. (WSJ)


is eliminating some administration positions at its four,700 U.S. shops, whereas investing in increased wages and e-commerce efforts. (WSJ)


is accelerating cost-cutting efforts after reporting flat quarterly gross sales. (WSJ)

Under Armour

is increasing a restructuring plan aimed toward saving $75 million yearly. (WSJ)

Barnes & Noble

is shedding a major variety of staff because of poor holiday-season sales. (WSJ)

Top executives at

Royal Dutch Shell

PLC are dealing with trial in Italy on costs they bribed oil officials in Nigeria. (WSJ)

J.C. Penney

will shut a 2 million-square-foot distribution heart outdoors Milwaukee because it scales down its supply chain network. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

U.S. apparel imports from Vietnam rose 7% whereas shipments from China slipped three.2%. (Sourcing Journal)

McKinsey & Co. says container strains have returned a mean of lower than 2% on invested capital within the last two decades. (The Loadstar)

South Korea’s

Hyundai Merchant Marine

full-year loss more than doubled to $1.1 billion. (Shipping Watch)


swung to a $22.eight million fourth-quarter revenue because the affect of Hanjin Shipping’s collapse faded. (Associated Press)


Yang Ming Marine Transport

will order 20 ships in a fleet renewal program. (Lloyd’s List)

An explosion at India’s Cochin shipyard killed five workers and injured greater than a dozen others. (Splash 247)

The Philadelphia International Airport purchased a big land parcel it plans to make use of for air-cargo facilities. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Trade expertise supplier Amber Road rejected a $300 million buyout offer from supply-chain software program firm E2open. (American Shipper)


Paul Page is deputy editor of WSJ Logistics Report. Follow him at @PaulPage, and comply with the complete WSJ Logistics Report group: @brianjbaskin , @jensmithWSJ and @EEPhillips_WSJ. Follow the WSJ Logistics Report on Twitter at @WSJLogistics.

Write to Paul Page at [email protected]

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