Nippon Group and Alibaba to collaborate on Chinese eCommerce shipping
Japan’s Nippon Express Co. has announced that it will work with eCommerce titan Alibaba Group Holding to ship Japanese goods to China for roughly 30 percent less than rival Japan Post Network Co.
Nippon will transport goods from companies operating on Alibaba’s TMall online shopping platform to China, with a separate Alibaba affiliate delivering products to consumers’ homes.
TMall controls some 60 percent of China’s online retail market. Nippon aims to handle half of all purchases from Japanese companies which are made on the platform and bound for the Chinese mainland.
According to Nikkei Asian Review, Japan Post ships 90 percent of online purchases to China via airmail, but a recent 30 percent fee hike looks set to reduce traffic to the service.
In recent years, Japan has seen an influx of Chinese tourists keen to purchase the island’s consumer goods. The phenomenon has ultimately led to increased demand for Japanese goods in online marketplaces, and Nippon is eager to capitalise on the trend.
By 2020, China’s international eCommerce retail market is expected to expand to US $245 billion — a twelvefold increase on 2014 figures.
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Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany