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The maritime industry’s top regulator says there will be no slowdown in meeting shipping’s environmental targets. Kitack Lim, secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization says ports, shipping lines and fuel providers “are all set to go” to meet the mandate starting Jan. 1 to slash sulfur emissions from their vessels. Mr. Lim tells the WSJ Logistics Report’s Costas Paris, “Compliant fuel will be available and it’s working very well in trial voyages.” Some ship owners remain wary of the impact of the new rules, and many say the sulfur rule and impending new limits for greenhouse-gas emissions will raise costs for shippers and consumers. Ocean transport makes up a small portion of overall supply-chain costs however, and one new report says the entire decarbonization process across the maritime industry would likely add less than 1% to the cost of a $60 pair of jeans.
Trucking industry officials are raising alarms over legislation in California that takes aim at “gig-economy” business models beyond big technology players. Industry groups say the measure that passed the state’s legislature this week would upend road transport business across California, the WSJ Logistics Report’s Jennifer Smith writes, including the port-trucking operations that are a big part of the state’s goods-movement economy. Under the bill, certain industries would have to meet tough standards to classify a worker as a contractor instead of an employee. Businesses are still trying to figure out the impact on often-complicated relationships between owner-operator drivers, trucking companies and freight brokers.Trucking officials say taking on independent drivers as employees would likely prove costly for companies, and make operations less nimble. Other businesses far from technology are also weighing the impact, including construction, translators and agriculture.
Competition in Japan’s e-commerce industry is heating up.Yahoo Japan Corp. will spend $3.7 billion to take a controlling stake in Japanese online fashion retailer Zozo Inc., the WSJ’s Megumi Fujikawa reports, providing a platform to help transform its business from news content into digital retail. Once a corporate cousin of the U.S. Yahoo website, Yahoo Japan is now a separate company under SoftBank Group Corp. aiming to take on heavyweights Amazon.com Inc. and homegrown rival Rakuten Inc. With Zozo in its stable, Yahoo Japan hopes to attract younger fashion-conscious consumers in a Japanese e-commerce market that reached $167 billion in sales last year. The move suggests the e-commerce playing field is still forming, even in seemingly developed markets like Japan. Package delivery in Japan is expensive and analysts expect the agreement will help both Yahoo Japan and Zozo get more efficient in logistics.
“ “If shipping companies take on all the cost, they will collapse.” ”
—The International Maritime Organization’s Kitack Lim, on environmental mandates.
Number of the Day
The U.S. Freight Transportation Services Index in July, a 0.9% increase from June and a record high for the measure, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
IN OTHER NEWS
The European Central Bank launched a sweeping stimulus package that includes lower interest rates a broad package of bond purchases. (WSJ)
U.S. consumer prices rose modestly in August on weak energy prices. (WSJ)
A top United Auto Workers official was charged in a widening federal investigation into corruption in the union’s top ranks. (WSJ)
StarKist Co. was ordered to pay $100 million for its role in a conspiracy prosecutors say inflated prices for canned tuna. (WSJ)
OId Navy is defying trends in brick-and-mortar retail with plans to open 800 U.S. stores. (WSJ)
Mill Steel is closing an Indiana distribution center because of declining demand for its flat-rolled carbon steel products. (Herald Bulletin)
Indian food delivery startups are trying to resolve differences with restaurants that have boycotted their services over alleged predatory pricing. (Nikkei Asian Review)
Shipping sulfur-emissions scrubbers are undergoing costly repairs less than six months after being installed on vessels. (Lloyd’s List)
A province in Northern Italy will provide a subsidy this year to truckers that ship their freight by rail. (Railfreight)
Simbe Robotics Inc. raised $26 million in a Series A funding round to back construction of its rolling robots. (DC Velocity)
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