Today’s Logistics Report:
Sign up: With one click, get this newsletter delivered to your inbox.
Toymakers, electronics companies and retailers are bracing for a tariff-driven shock to the consumer market. President Trump’s threat to extend tariffs to essentially all Chinese imports dramatically escalates a trade conflict that is now poised to hit U.S. consumers in the pocketbook. The WSJ’s William Mauldin and Vivian Salama report the new 10% tariffs would take effect Sept. 1 and cover $300 billion in Chinese goods. They would come on top of tariffs already imposed on $250 billion in imports from China and would extend deeper into the retail sector, raising costs for a broad range of consumer products. The tariffs would strike in the midst of the peak shipping season, with thousands of containers packed with products already on ships or lined up for transport to the U.S. The deadline could push importers to speed up purchases to get more products into supply chains before costs rise.
The last mile proved too costly for Schneider National Inc. The truckload carrier is shuttering what it calls the First to Final Mile service it put together just three years ago with two acquisitions, the WSJ reports, highlighting the gap between freight business ambitions and reality in a residential delivery market driven by surging e-commerce demand. The growing willingness of consumers to buy heavy goods like furniture and appliances online is pushing more big-ticket items into residential delivery channels. But that business has confounded big trucking companies just as growing e-commerce package volumes have troubled parcel carriers. Experts say home delivery is costly to execute and that the labor-intensive services can be time-consuming, making it tough to keep trucks and drivers on schedule. Schneider will focus instead on its core industrial services, and take pretax restructuring charges as it winds down the business.
Celadon Group Inc. has new financial backing for its turnaround efforts and maybe lining up for even bigger changes. The troubled truckload carrier struck a $165 million financing package that includes new loans and a credit facility, the WSJ’s Michael Tobin reports and comes with a provision that could have an unidentified shareholder take a stake in the company that would fall just short of 50% ownership. The carrier is trying to right itself after a troubled recent history that included a management overhaul following revelations over false financial statements. New leadership is also rebuilding the operations and says the new financing will help Celadon replace aging trucks with new equipment. The trucker may not get much help from the broader market: Several competitors have reported lighter quarterly earnings and say pricing and demand have slipped from last year’s heady levels.
We have put together a contingency plan and are working closely with retailers to make sure we mitigate the impact.