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The new U.S. tax law may sow big changes in the country's agriculture supply chains. A provision inserted into the tax code just before the final measure passed in December gives a critical boost to farm cooperatives over independent dealers, the WSJ's Jacob Bunge and Richard Rubin report, an action that may reshape parts of the agriculture economy while sharply reducing taxes for many farmers. The new provision allows farmers to deduct up to 20% of their total sales to cooperatives, letting some farmers reduce their taxable income to zero and effectively handing them a bigger tax bill if they sell to separate companies and distributors. Tax experts say that will give cooperatives a significant edge, benefiting co-op giants including American Crystal Sugar Co., Land O'Lakes Inc. and CHS Inc., while stinging agribusinesses like Cargill Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland Co., and smaller private operations. It could alter the grain business, pushing processors and exporters to buy more directly from co-ops, raising their costs.
Managing brick-and-mortar stores may not be a drag on sales after all. Target Corp. demonstrated the advantage of having both physical stores and online sales during the holiday period, using its retail space to fulfill 70% of its digital orders, the WSJ's Khadeeja Safdar and Imani Moise report, either through in-store pickup or by shipping from the stores to customers. The results came as Target boosted same-store sales 3.4% during November and December, a turnaround from last year when the retailer was hurt by mismatches in its supply chain and online competition. The results add new wrinkles to questions in the retail world over online fulfillment strategies. Target's idea is to have its network of 1,800 stores do double-duty as fulfillment centers while scaling up its use of the Shipt same-day delivery service it acquired. The company is getting a boost from the economy, with consumers buying goods as fast as the stores can stock them, or have them delivered.
Boeing Co. is speeding up its supply chain to keep up with rapid growth in aircraft orders. The plane maker delivered a record 763 jetliners in 2017 and secured net orders for 912 planes, the latest sign of a years-long demand surge that is fueling the airline and aerospace industries. The WSJ's Doug Cameron reports the results highlight Boeing's ability to boost production while introducing new aircraft models and redrawing parts of its supply chain to boost cash flow and profits. Boeing and rival Airbus SE have hefty backlogs, but investors increasingly are focused on deliveries and cash flow rather than new plane deals. Boeing has pressed suppliers for better terms, moved some production in house and boosted automation to cut costs. Production is up by about a third since 2010 while the commercial aircraft workforce has been reduced by around a third -- the kind of result manufacturers strive for but rarely reach.
SUPPLY CHAIN STRATEGIES
The temperature-controlled logistics business is heating up.Americold Realty Trust is heading to the public equity markets with an initial public offering that the warehouse manager expects to raise $330.8 million. The WSJ's Allison Prang reports the Atlanta-based company, owned by billionaire investor Ron Burkle's Yucaipa Cos., plans to sell 24 million shares for between $14 and $16. Americold has 160 temperature-controlled warehouses, most of them in the U.S., but several in Asian markets including China that are putting a bigger premium on the so-called cold chain -- the management of perishable goods including food and pharmaceuticals. The trade grew at a healthy rate even as broader transport and logistics sectors lagged in recent years, and shipping companies have been building up perishables services. Seaborne shipments of vegetables into the U.S. rose 8.4% in the fourth quarter last year from the year before, according to trade data analysts Panjiva, and have grown by nearly a third since 2013.
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IN OTHER NEWS
Chinese rescue crews expanded their search area around a stricken Iranian oil tanker and are trying to prevent a sinking that would pose a bigger environmental disaster. (WSJ)
U.S. consumer credit rose in November at the fastest pace in 16 years. (WSJ)
Mexico's inflation accelerated in 2017 to its fastest rate in 17 years. (WSJ)
A measure of U.S. small-business confidence fell in December but had its "strongest year" so far in 2017. (WSJ)
Samsung Electronics Co. expects its fourth-quarter operating profit to reach a company record $14.1 billion. (WSJ)
Action-camera company GoPro Inc. is cutting more than one-fifth of its workforce and exiting the drone market. (WSJ)
A North Dakota lawmaker says President Donald Trump told her he supports a federal online sales tax mandate. (Rapid City Journal)
Jim Johnston, the tough-talking former trucker who had led the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association since 1974, died at 78. (Land Line)
Ford Motor Co. is working with food-delivery specialist Postmates to develop services with autonomous vehicles. (CNBC)
U.S. apparel imports expanded 6.1% in November and Vietnam's share of the market expanded to 14.4%. (Sourcing Journal)
More apparel companies are breaking away from the traditional fashion calendar to speed up their supply chains. (Digiday)
Lululemon Athletica Inc. sharply raised its profit and revenue outlook on strong holiday sales. (Business of Fashion)
Canadian regulators are considering a rule similar to a U.S. mandate requiring that truckers use electronic logging devices. (Journal of Commerce)
J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. is expanding its dedicated last-mile delivery service across the entire U.S. (DC Velocity)
Shipping group BIMCO expects strong growth in container ship deliveries this year to hold down price increases. (Lloyd's List)
CMA CGM SA named Ludovic Renou president of its U.S. operation. (MarineLink)
Container throughput at South Korea's Incheon Port rose 13.8% last year. (Port Technology)
The regional Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is adding cargo and customs facilities to draw U.S.-Mexico e-commerce traffic. (Air Cargo News)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 10, 2018 07:06 ET (12:06 GMT)