Today's Top Supply Chain and Logistics News From WSJ

By Paul Page Features Dow Jones Newswires

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Tesla Inc.'s Semi electric truck is taking some unexpected turns. Deutsche Post AG's DHL is the latest and biggest dedicated transportation provider to kick the tires on the truck, WSJ Logistics Report's Jennifer Smith writes, reserving 10 of the vehicles and joining the growing list of operators taking the Semi for a spin. Tesla is bringing the economic case for the truck into tighter focus, saying it will list the vehicle for $150,000 for a version with a 300-mile range -- not far off the price for a new diesel-powered big rig -- and sell a longer-range edition for $200,000. Tesla also boosted the price to reserve the truck from $5,000 to $20,000, a sign of greater confidence in demand. DHL Supply Chain's outlook may be more cautious. The company will use the Tesla trucks for shuttle runs and same-day customer deliveries. Like other operators reserving the trucks, the company will hold back on the longer hauls that would test the truck battery's ability to deliver.

Oil is starting to seep into the concerns over managing supply chains. Oil prices have risen in recent weeks to levels not seen since June 2015, the WSJ's Stephanie Yang and Alison Sider report, pushing toward $60 a barrel and triggering higher costs from shipping's bunker fuel to diesel prices for trucks. West Texas Intermediate crude is up more than 36% from a low in June, and resurgent global economic growth and forecasts of growing oil demand have suppliers brimming with confidence. Fuel-dependent transport operations are feeling the impact. In the U.S., average diesel prices are nearing $3 a gallon, their highest level since January 2015. Container shipping giant CMA CGM reported this week its bunker bill in the third quarter soared 26% to $631 million. Like energy providers, freight carriers believe customers can absorb the higher prices as long as underlying demand remains just as buoyant.

The scandal in Japan over faked quality data on industrial suppliers is widening and taking in more transport operations. Toray Industries Inc. says a manufacturing subsidiary falsified information on materials used to strengthen car tires, the WSJ's Sean McLain reports, and that irregularities hit shipments sent to at least 13 companies. Toray textiles, including carbon fiber, are used by car makers, airplane manufacturer Boeing Co. and clothing companies like Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing Co., although the new disclosure doesn't involve products for those companies. Toray says its Toray Hybrid Cord unit rewrote product-quality data on shipments of textiles used to strengthen automotive tires and hoses, as well as textiles used in paper making. It's the latest shock wave to hit manufacturing in Japan and undermine a national reputation for quality. Automotive supplier Kobe Steel Ltd. recently said it falsified quality data on aluminum used in cars and other products.

ECONOMY & TRADE

A simmering trade battle between the U.S. and China over aluminum is heating up. The Trump administration says it will "self-initiate" an investigation into whether Chinese competitors have illegally sold certain products below cost, the WSJ's Jacob M. Schlesinger reports, an unusual step that comes with high risks and potentially higher costs for U.S. aluminum users. Acting without a complaint initiated by the private sector is aimed at accelerating the process of imposing protective duties on "dumped" foreign goods, and saving the industry costly legal fees. The Commerce Department action is aimed at a product called "common alloy aluminum sheet," and the U.S. imported some $603.6 million in such metals last year. A final decision on whether to impose fresh duties on Chinese aluminum is still months away, but the issue could rattle business before that if market prices start rising or if China heads to the World Trade Organization with its own complaint.

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QUOTABLE

IN OTHER NEWS

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says the global economy is on course for its best year since 2010. (WSJ)

A measure of U.S. consumer confidence rose again in November, hitting another 17-year high. (WSJ)

Home price growth accelerated in September as demand for homes increased ahead of supply. (WSJ)

Emerson Electric Co. halted its effort to acquire fellow industrial parts supplier Rockwell Automation Inc. (WSJ)

Siemens AG is readying a public share listing of part of its medical equipment and services unit that could be worth up to $47 billion. (WSJ)

New allegations arose in a court case that Uber Technologies Inc. tried to steal trade secrets from rivals and conceal its actions from regulators. (WSJ)

Amazon.com Inc. is preparing to launch retail sales and distribution in Israel. (Times of Israel)

U.S. Rep. Congressman Sam Graves (R., Mo.) wants to be the next chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. (The Hill)

The Cass Freight Index Freight for North American shipments rose 2.9% in October from a year ago. (Logistics Management)

British grocery supplier Palmer & Harvey ceased deliveries and entered the U.K. equivalent of chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. (The Independent)

Georgia's Port of Savannah added four gantry cranes capable of handling the new generation of larger container ships. (Savannah Morning News)

Maersk Line plans to build more inland container freight handling stations in India. (Economic Times)

Zodiac Maritime ordered five ships with 11,000-containers capacity apiece to be chartered to Hyundai Merchant Marine. (Splash 24/7)

Supply-chain software company Logility acquired analytics specialist Halo Business Intelligence. (Modern Materials Handling)

San Diego-based autonomous truck-technology company TuSimple raised $55 million in a Series C funding round. (American Shipper)

Cargo traffic for Asia-Pacific airlines rose 5.8% in October from a year ago. (Air Cargo World)

British designer Stella McCartney called for changes in "incredibly wasteful and harmful" apparel supply chains. (The Guardian)

Industrial distributor Fastenal opened a museum on its own origins in Winona, Minn. (Winona Daily News)

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

November 29, 2017 07:07 ET (12:07 GMT)