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The food service industry is experiencing more changes than ever. Several decades ago, traditional food services were improved by food delivery apps. Now, a new method of food delivery is on the rise that will revolutionize this industry. Autonomous vehicles have been in the spotlight recently, from daily conversations to public debates. But who would have imagined for autonomous driving to step into the food industry first? Currently, auto manufactures from around the world are partnering with small startups to deliver food and groceries.

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Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, released 30 brand new Model 3 electric vehicles to Tesla employees in Fremont, California on July 28. Tesla advertises the Model 3 as one of the most affordable electric vehicles on the market, competing with fuel-efficient cars like the Hyundai Ioniq EV, Chevrolet Volt, BMW i3, and Nissan Leaf. While demand for the Model 3 is high—it has already gathered 50,000 advanced deposits—the vehicle’s mass-market accessibility is not as apparent. In comparison to Tesla’s Model S, which can be prepared for delivery in seven days, current customer orders for the Model 3 are expected to be ready within the next 12-18 months. What is the underlying cause of such a large disconnect between consumers and the product? The reason boils down to an exponential increase in production that connects directly to a supply chain that has “about 30 percent of its components coming from abroad.”

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Flights have increased and ticket prices have gone down. In the past recent years, airlines have experienced a higher demand in their market than ever before. This is partially due to the decline in ticket prices. The decrease in ticket prices has made flying more affordable for more people, however there are also some downsides.

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Part four of our transport manufacturing blog series examines the role emerging markets play in the industry.

Emerging markets are proving to be key areas for future growth in the transport manufacturing industry. The 2017 Emerging Markets Index from Agility and Transport Intelligence shows continued strength in logistics, infrastructure, and investment potential for large emerging markets, including the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia. According to the index, countries such as India and Kazakhstan significantly strengthened their business capacity over the past year, warranting further attention from international logistics executives. In addition, China, India, and Brazil have become a hotspot for automotive and aircraft sales. Despite frequently cited concerns in dealing with emerging markets—government corruption, tax laws, and customs—more corporations within the transport manufacturing industry are hoping to expand their business in these countries.

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Companies’ supply chains should be strategic, analytical, total value systems that are focused on bottom-line profit. The days when supply chains were an operational activity to get a truck from point A to point B are long gone. The leverage that supply chains need to give companies and, by extension, customers is telling.

Nowadays, depending on where you live, some 70 to 90 percent of what we buy for regular consumption and use are not made in our local area. And supply chains are increasingly becoming more strategic; companies leveraged supply chains for 17 percent of their strategy in 2005 and now that number is 21 percent.

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On Sunday, NASA issued a press release announcing they had just signed an agreement with the United Arab Emirates. The agreement signifies cooperation between NASA and the UAE Space Agency in aeronautics research, space exploration, and the peaceful use and habitation of outer space. Other objectives covered by the agreement include collaboration in Earth and space science research, the establishment of educational programs, and outreach to relate the global benefits of space travel. Possible future cooperative projects include the joint use of certain airspace technologies, ground-based research facilities, and antennas. Above all, the agreement seeks to strengthen the diplomatic and economic relationships between the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

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Economists and governments have predominantly been talking about bringing the ancient Silk Road back into the world of trade. Although the Silk Road dates back to 300 BC, it has had a lasting significant impact on stimulating the cities that laid along its trail. This has influenced China to bring the Silk Road back in order to enhance global business. As a result, President Xi Jinping of China launched China’s Silk Road trade in 2014.

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Named after the town in Luxembourg where the agreement was signed, the Schengen Agreement allows for the dissolution of internal borders and implementation of passport-free movement within its member nations. After taking effect in 1995, the Schengen Area is currently comprised of 26 European nations of which 22 are also members of the European Union. The four non-EU members are Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein, while the only six EU members outside the Schengen zone are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania, and the United Kingdom. Since its implementation, the Schengen agreement has eased the flow of both goods and services across the area providing a major economic benefit to member economies with people making 1.3 billion crossings of the European Union’s internal borders annually, along with the crossing of 57 million trucks carrying approximately $3.7 trillion of goods. Naturally, this opening of borders has been instrumental in the growth of many industries across the Schengen zone, specifically tourism and transportation. However, after the recent terrorist attacks in France and Belgium, the Schengen Agreement, and all its associated economic benefits, could be in jeopardy.

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Since 2007, a construction project has been underway for a third set of locks for the Panama Canal. Undertaken by the GUPC, the completion of locks was delayed for years due to construction problems and contractual issues. However, it looks as though the project is nearing fulfillment. Earlier this month, the consortium behind the expansion announced they were ready to enter the trial phase for the expanded waterway. In a series of over 2,000 investigations, the GUPC plans to test the control systems and electric power that operate the new locks in the Pacific and Caribbean sections of the canal. After this phase, the plan is to run a set of navigation tests during the month of May. If all tests are successful, an expanded Panama Canal could become a reality in the second half of the year.

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Arctic temperatures are rising at double the rate of anywhere else on the planet, subsequently leading to polar ice caps' permanent coverage to shrink by 10% a decade, a rate which could result in ice free summers in the Arctic by the end of this century. While the Arctic thaw is a major concern from an environmental standpoint, it is also having significant implications on the global transportation industry.

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February was one of the best months for U.S. auto sales in recent years. Due to Presidents' Day deals, leap day transactions, and delayed demand from hazardous winter weather, overall sales from major automotive companies have far surpassed industry projections. The high numbers show promise for automotive sales in the U.S, with several analysts saying 2016 could be another record year for the industry. Investors were worried that 2015's prolific sales were to be the industry's peak; now many of them are changing their tune, expecting automotive prosperity to continue well into next year. It is keenly expected that companies based in foreign countries, especially Japan, will be playing a major role in the increased demand and consumption of automotive products in the U.S.

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Since the first automobile was developed, we have been making tremendous steps towards improvement. The insertion of a braking system, turn signals, air bags, radios, automatic windows, cruise control, and parking assistance are a few of the major developments over the years. We have made advancements so that the driver is assisted at their highest level of convenience. We have not, however, thought about taking the driver out of the equation altogether. Nearly 1.3 million people are killed on the world’s roads every year. People are texting, talking on the phone, reprimanding their kids, spilling coffee, and reaching for fallen items, just to name a few. Distracted people are operating 1.3 ton vehicles. People are the problem and driverless vehicles may be the solution. 

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Since the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was founded in 2014, there have been many discussions around this multilateral development bank concerning its purposes and functions. Despite the skepticism, AIIB, once launched, will accelerate Asia’s infrastructure development and international trade. This blog will briefly explain the impacts of the high-speed Silk Road, one of such projects that AIIB has announced recently.

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Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is set to visit the U.S. this week and aims to pitch Japan’s bullet-train system to state representatives in California. Currently, Japanese companies are competing to join three fast-train projects that are under consideration in the United States. The three individual projects would link Los Angeles to San Francisco, New York to Washington, and Dallas to Houston. Abe is hoping to attract an export market for Japan’s advanced bullet-train system in order to help jumpstart the nation’s economy. As of now, he sees the United States as a viable export market for the revolutionary train system.

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This past year was considered a significant year for the global airline industry. The disappearance of AirAsia Flight 8501 and the explosion of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 in the Ukraine war zone have raised questions about the safety of Asia’s low-cost airliners. Meanwhile, as oil prices drop, the cost of operating airlines will definitely decrease, but it may or may not help the global airline industry.

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For those of us who drive, we are well aware of how unavoidable major traffic can be. While en route to work or on a road trip, it can be a nuisance to have your estimated time of arrival continually pushed back. But can you imagine consistently attempting to travel somewhere, while living in a city with congested roadways? In Dubai, this is a daily reality. As an affluent city in the United Arab Emirates, the number of cars has grown so much that traffic is a rising issue for the country. Orthodox methods to combating the problem such as increasing prices of parking, fuel, and insurance have proved fruitless so government leaders are seeking a new strategy: putting in place an income threshold for the ownership of vehicles.

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Back in 1965, Fred Smith wrote a paper for his Yale undergraduate economics class that proposed an overnight package delivery service in which one carrier would be responsible for a piece of cargo from pick-up to delivery. This idea was unorthodox in the delivery of packaged materials at the time, as cargo shipment in the supply chain was handled by a multitude of companies. Smith received a grade of “C” on the assignment, because the professor told him that the idea was “not feasible”. Fast forward nearly 50 years, and Fred Smith is the founder/CEO of FedEx, a $28 billion company that transformed the way packages are delivered. His idea would revolutionize the package transportation industry, but this was not an overnight success story; at one point the company was kept alive by Smith turning the company’s last $5,000 into $27,000 with a gambling trip to Las Vegas. The packaging industry as a whole has changed a lot in the past few decades, thanks in part to massive innovation brought on by people like Fred Smith.

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In an era where globalization perpetually extends the frontiers of international business, a company's ability to have their products reach markets in developing, or even remote, locations has become an increasingly important factor for success in global markets. Statistics support this claim, seeing as the share of gross domestic product as a percentage of the international market in 2012 has clearly shifted from developed countries to nations just emerging in the global economy. This trend has resulted from the growing middle classes of third-world economies having the ability to purchase goods for a higher quality of life, such as safe food, clean water, and secure pharmaceuticals. The astounding international demand for consumer goods has elevated the packaging industry to deliver these goods in frontier markets, while simultaneously trying to reduce their environmental impact during this time of expansion.

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For centuries, Dubai has served as a key crossroads for global trade.  The convenient location of the United Arab Emirates between Europe, Asia, and Africa has positioned this growing city to serve as a major logistical intermediary between many foreign markets.  With the development of emerging markets such as China and India, there is a growing opportunity for Dubai to expand its logistical dominance in the modern world economy.  The construction of Al Maktoum International Airport, which will become the largest airport in the world, signifies Dubai’s commitment to this growth strategy. 

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Excessive flooding in Thailand has not only made life a challenge for locals, but global businesses are experiencing hardships due to the harsh monsoon season as well. Many technology suppliers are located in Thailand and have suffered because of the massive flooding and have caused a significant supply chain back up. Several have lost large amounts of inventory and suffered excessive property damage. Some say it could take up to a year for these plants to begin operating at normal capacity again.

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A massive project to renovate the Democratic Republic of Congo’s broken-down railway network has been launched in the capital city of Kinshasa. Most of the rail track in Congo was laid more than 100 years ago, so repairs and improvements are huge necessities. Costing a total of $600 million, this project is being backed by China and the World Bank with an estimated completion time of four years. The major goal for the revamped rail system is to restore services to provinces where rail is the only connection to the rest of the world in the absence of roadway and river transportation. This project has huge implications for businesses and bordering countries looking to trade with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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The security of shipping containers carrying products overseas is a very sensitive issue internationally.  Since the smallest margin of error can lead to a devastating act of terror, policymakers want to do everything in their power to guarantee the safety of products shipped across the ocean.  The port of Los Angeles alone received 330,000 containers in January.  The risk of one dirty bomb getting past cargo inspections led the United States to pass legislation stating that every container entering the country must be scanned for weapons.  Is this practical, or is it an unreasonable expectation for security officials to execute? 

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Over the last 100 years, transportation has taken some significant leaps.  With the invention of the car and its proliferation to countries around the world, individuals were empowered to go where they wanted, when they wanted.  However, as the boundaries of distance decreased with an increase in vehicle quality and reliability, so did the world’s desire to travel even further and at greater speeds.  The latest potential advance in human transportation is the proliferation of high-speed rail.

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Incoterms are standards for international trade that provide a consistent interpretation of agreements included in global business contracts.  Every ten years, the International Chamber of Commerce makes updates to the standards based on changes in the global business environment.  As of January 1, 2011, the new Incoterms 2010 are officially in effect.  The revisions listed below are a reflection of widespread changes in international business markets over the past decade. 

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One of the fundamental rules of logistics is to avoid shipping air and water whenever possible. Packages and vehicles are optimized to reduce the amount of wasted space that could be used to ship additional products. The weight of water is so expensive to transport that many industries design an entire supply chain around reducing the distance that liquid goods must travel from the point of production to the point of sale. For the flower industry, in which the quality and lifespan of goods are often dependent on the presence of air and water, logistical challenges of doing business on a global scale are of high importance.

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With plans for double digit economic growth each year, India must work quickly to get their infrastructure in shape. Prime minister Manmohan Singh recently stated that he was going to double infrastructure spending from 500 billion dollars to 1 trillion in their five-year plan. Right now the country's poor infrastructure is holding back India's economic development. All-in-all India's highways minglister Kamal Nath set a goal of 20km of roads a day starting in June. That's almost 7,000 km of roads a year! That's an ambitious target but may be something this country needs.

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For years, Airbus and Boeing have split the market for big passenger jets. But a series of shifts in the sector could start to eat away that dominance, leading to big changes in the commercial aircraft industry. The prospect of increased competition is already forcing the two large companies to consider making costly changes to their most popular models. Airbus executives were expected to meet this week to discuss upgrade options for the top-selling A320 family, though they said a decision wasn't expected to be made right away. Boeing will decide in the next few months whether to embark on a revamp of its 737 single-aisle jetliner line. So why would these top-tier manufacturers have to make sudden changes?

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We know that green energy and fuels have been a hot topic for the past few years. Electric vehicles seemed so strange when they first came out but now many environmentally conscious people have made the switch. There are a lot of pros to these little cars; they don’t use any fuel and still get you from place to place just as a gas-guzzler would. However, is it likely that everyone in the future will drive an electric car? Maybe, but right now fuel cars continue to be what are selling.

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When planning a trip one of the first things to consider is what type of transportation to use.

The most popular method for long distance trips is flying. Air travel is still a large industry even though it recorded huge losses last year and the year before. It has also played an important role in promoting international business through the years as it has made international travel more convenient.

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Be sure to follow our blog as our team presents a series on transportation. Transportation comes in multiple forms for both people and products. Whether you are doing business locally or internationally, it is a key component in daily operations. This week, the topics you will be able to read about include fuel efficiency, planes, trains, automobiles, and shipping.

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How would you like to get out of traffic jams, have cheaper parking, and still get to work on time? Well, if you live in China, now you can! China is the world’s new automobile capital, estimated to sell more than 12 million cars this year. However, China also produces an electric bicycle called the e-bike.

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Flying has been the dominant travel option in our lifetimes, mostly due to its speed. However, disgruntled travelers have often been fed up with the long lines, invasive security checks and the occaisonal canceled flight. In light of these issues, another mode of traveling has been attracting customers the past few months – luxury trains.

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There was a time when trains dominated most of the transit taking place in countries such as the United States. Today, high-speed trains are a cheap and effective means to get across many places in the world, like Europe, Japan, and South Africa, and are important conduits of these economies. Yet it still seems that whenever people want to get away on vacation, they either fly to their desired destination or take a cruise. A growing trend, however, is the rising number of luxury trains and patrons that are using them. This trend could change the dynamic of the hospitality and travel industry, as these trains offer both.

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Never before has the American auto industry witnessed such a myriad of harmful factors that came about with the swiftness and magnitude of the present situation. The credit crunch, soaring gas prices, and an unprecedented collapse in demand for large trucks and SUVs all tangled together to create a perfect storm. The already ailing automakers are now struggling to cope with an 11% slide in U.S. sales so far this year. In the rest of the world, auto sales are either growing or experiencing a much more modest drop. Yet the financial collapse and rising oil costs are worldwide phenomena. So what makes the U.S. so much different?

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With ever-increasing gas prices tempting empty wallets and bank accounts all around the world, commuters have been propositioned with a solution that gets them out of their car seats and onto their saddles. No, you will (hopefully) not see horses tied-up outside of your office next time you're at work. International businesses and governments are beginning to sell their constituents a new-fangled-old-school technology that has been proving itself popular both on the streets and in the market place: the bicycle.