Today's Top Supply Chain and Logistics News From WSJ

By Paul Page Features Dow Jones Newswires

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Operations at ports in the U.S. Southeast are shut as the region copes with the changing path of one hurricane even as another is churning toward the region. Hurricane Irma was downgraded to a Category 1 storm as it pushed up through western and central Florida, the WSJ's Arian Campo-Flores and Joseph De Avila report. That put the Port Tampa Bay in its path but left major trade gateways on the Atlantic coast, including Jacksonville, Georgia's Port of Savannah and South Carolina Port of Charleston largely outside the storm's strongest force. The second Category 4 storm to reach the U.S. this season lashed the Miami area with powerful winds and sheets of rain, and both Florida coasts were preparing for severe storm surges and flooding as it headed north and likely toward Georgia. With the storm following so soon after Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast and a third storm, Jose, heading north, the U.S. issued a rare waiver of the Jones Act, the federal law that prohibits foreign ships from operating in domestic sea routes, the WSJ's Costas Paris reports. The action will allow foreign tankers to distribute fuel to hurricane-stricken areas.

The aisles of Costco Wholesale Corp. outlets hold signs of the growing conflict between store owners and suppliers. The retailer has been methodically building its Kirkland Signature store brand to the point where the products that run from milk to golf balls now make up a quarter of the retailer's $118.7 billion in annual sales, the WSJ's Sarah Nassauer reports, providing competition for companies looking to get their products on Costco shelves. The tug-of-war over sales is part of the changing face of retail supply chains as store operators try to keep up with changing buying patterns. It adds new concerns for suppliers that may get into Costco's big warehouse-style stores only to find that Costco often introduces a new Kirkland product of virtually any sort when the retailer believes a brand isn't selling at the lowest possible price. And the pressure on manufacturers is set to increase, with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. now making building private store brands a priority.

Attempts by the world's largest plane makers to make their supply chains more efficient and profitable are shaking up the aerospace industry. Worried about getting squeezed by consolidation among their suppliers, Boeing Co. and Airbus SE have moved to protect themselves by building more of their parts in-house, the WSJ's Robert Wall and Doug Cameron report. They're acting under growing pressure to produce jets faster and cheaper. Boeing and Airbus are slated to deliver more than $100 billion worth of planes this year and have combined backlogs together worth almost $1 trillion. Parts that represent more than half the value of those planes are mostly made by dozens of suppliers, and Boeing and Airbus want to keep a bigger share of that value. The supply chain impact on the bottom line is clear: profit margins for tier one suppliers are far stronger than those of the aircraft and engine makers, and they're even better for tier 2 suppliers of smaller parts.

SUPPLY CHAIN STRATEGIES

A growing number of lawsuits may test the responsibility that wholesale drug distributors have in the U.S. opioid crisis. The latest legal case comes in New Mexico, the WSJ's Sara Randazzo reports, where the state is suing several major pharmaceutical companies and distributors, arguing the corporations are partly to blame for rampant opioid addiction rates in the state. The lawsuit follows litigation by other states that claims pharmaceutical companies play down the risks of their powerful painkillers in their marketing to the public and doctors. New Mexico is going further, joining arguments from cities and counties that claim distributors sold their painkillers unlawfully into their regions and failed to monitor and report suspicious orders. New Mexico says it needs to go after the entire supply chain because safeguards across drug pipelines have failed, and the outcome could impose new demands for visibility and oversight throughout distribution channels.

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IN OTHER NEWS

The dollar fell to a 32-month low against the euro and a 10-month low against the yen in Asian trading. (WSJ)

Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co. made a $1 billion offer to buy logistics and warehousing firm CWT Ltd., an arm of the Port of Singapore Authority. (MarketWatch)

China's exports grew a slower-than-expected 5.5% in August while imports jumped 13.3%. (WSJ)

China is unwinding some measures aimed at bolstering its currency, after the yuan's recent surge began harming Chinese exporters. (WSJ)

Federal law-enforcement authorities are investigating whether Uber Technologies Inc. used software to interfere illegally with its competitors. (WSJ)

Kroger Co.'s second-quarter profit fell as the U.S.'s largest supermarket chain slashed prices and invested in technology. (WSJ)

RadioShack is advancing a reorganization plan that would save a sliver of the electronics retailer. (WSJ)

Paint makers and retailers are seeing sales decline as U.S. homeowners increasingly turn to professionals rather than do-it-yourself projects. (WSJ)

Nordstrom Inc. is opening a retail store that won't carry merchandise but offer various services. (WSJ)

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration imposed new enhanced security screening for air cargo from Turkey. (Reuters)

China is studying banning production of cars and vans powered by gasoline and diesel. (BBC)

APM Terminals sold its 76%s share in Belgium's Zeebrugge container terminal to China's Cosco Shipping Corp. for $42 million. (Splash 24/7)

Imports into California's Port of Long Beach rose 10.6% in August while exports plunged 26.3%. (American Shipper)

The Port of Virginia's loaded imports rose 5.5% in August as exports fell 10.7%. (Virginian-Pilot)

Former Rickmers Group chief Bertram Rickmers says he expects to revive the ship management division of the shuttered business. (Lloyd's List)

The authorities of Belgium's Port of Ghent and the nearby Dutch Port of Zeeland agreed to merge into a single port authority. (Port Technology)

The UPS Foundation is working with drone maker CyPhy Works and the American Red Cross to identify areas of need in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

FedEx Ground will photograph all sides of parcels moving through its new Chattanooga, Tenn., sorting center. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

CSX Corp. opened a Pittsburgh-area intermodal terminal as part of its project creating double-stack connections to the East Coast. (Progressive Railroading)

China banned imports of soft European cheeses, saying brie, camembert and others contain "too much bacteria." (The Guardian)

ABOUT US

Paul Page is deputy editor of WSJ Logistics Report. Follow him at @PaulPage, and follow the entire WSJ Logistics Report team: @brianjbaskin , @jensmithWSJ and @EEPhillips_WSJ. Follow the WSJ Logistics Report on Twitter at @WSJLogistics.

Write to Paul Page at paul.page@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 11, 2017 06:48 ET (10:48 GMT)