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Borderlands: Mexico tough for foreign firms; GM, union spar on Texas plant closure

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Survey: Mexico is the 13th most complex country for business 

A reliance on older technology and pen-and-paper documents are among the reasons Mexico landed on the list of most complex countries to do business in the world, according to an annual survey by TMF Group.

The Global Business Complexity Index survey, which compares key administrative and compliance demands across 77 jurisdictions worldwide, ranked Mexico as the 13th most complex place to do business globally.

“Due to the quantity and non-automated process, for a foreign entity, [Mexico] can be a little complex as a consequence of some permissions and procedures,” the TMF survey stated.

Larry Harding, head of North America for business at TMF Group, said in the past several years certain jurisdictions have improved their technology infrastructure, while other countries have lagged.

“In terms of the rules, regulations and the processes from the governmental perspective, many jurisdictions have been incredibly paper-oriented for years and years beyond what any businesses or governmental agencies would typically expect,” Harding said. “In the last handful of years, that gap is decreasing in certain countries. Others are lagging behind, still very paper-oriented, very administrative-oriented. Mexico falls into that latter category currently.”

TMF Group is a multinational professional services firm based in Amsterdam, providing accounting, tax, HR and payroll services to international businesses. The company has around 7,000 employees in 80 countries.

Harding added that Mexico has improved its business climate in recent years, and “in the near term, they’ll begin to catch up on some of the technology ends to their country peers, and then close the gap a little that way.”

Indonesia ranked as the most complex country to do business in, according to the 2020 The Global Business Complexity Index.

Five of the 10 most complex places are countries in South America, with Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia, ranked second, third and fourth, respectively. Greece, which occupied the top spot last year, made some improvements and is ranked fifth most complex this year.

On the other end of the scale, the 10 least complex jurisdictions to set up or operate in are found in the Western hemisphere, with Curacao leading the way, followed by the United States, Jamaica, Denmark and the British Virgin Islands.

The top 10 least complex countries for business:

  1. Curacao
  2. United States
  3. Jamaica
  4. Denmark
  5. British Virgin Islands
  6. The Netherlands
  7. El Salvador
  8. Ireland
  9. Cayman Islands
  10. Mauritius

Harding said the coronavirus has created a lot of uncertainty for countries, but foreign interests in Mexico had been on an “uptick” in recent months before the pandemic. Harding said he sees that continuing once the pandemic eventually winds down.

“There’s a perceived market opportunity and growth opportunity that’s driving more of a pipeline of businesses expanding into Mexico as a region,” Harding said.

The top 13 most complex countries for business:

  1. Indonesia
  2. Brazil
  3. Argentina
  4. Bolivia
  5. Greece
  6. Mainland China
  7. Nicaragua
  8. Colombia
  9. Malaysia
  10. Ecuador
  11. Turkey
  12. France
  13. Mexico

Animal skulls, bones, skin found in clothing shipment from Africa

A shipment of clothing arriving from Africa actually contained animal skulls, bones and other prohibited items, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials in Houston.

Officials in Houston found prohibited animal bones in a shipment from Nigeria. (Photo: CBP)

CBP agriculture specialists working at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport cargo facility on Wednesday were examining a shipment from Nigeria when they discovered more than 100 prohibited items. 

These included a dog’s skull, a sheep’s skull, various other bones, skins from an unknown mammal, cowrie shells, tubs of a black paste that could be soap made from animal ingredients, 72 pounds of fresh wood chips, 33 pounds of melon seeds, four other types of seeds for planting, and a melon, authorities said.

“This interception is indicative of our commitment to protecting the nation’s agriculture industry from the introduction of harmful exotic pests and foreign animal and plant diseases,” said CBP Port Director Shawn Polley.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confiscated the skulls, bones, skins and shells. CBP officials destroyed the other items.

Laredo customs broker expands into larger facility

Freight Dispatch Service Agency recently signed a full-building lease at the I-35 Logistics Center in Laredo, Texas. 

The new lease is for the building’s entire 131,718-square-foot space. Freight Dispatch Service Agency, which took occupancy June 1, is a Laredo-based customs broker with warehousing and distribution services for clients in various industries, including automotive manufacturers.

The I-35 Logistics Center is a bulk distribution warehouse space located along Interstate 35, around 10 miles from the United States-Mexico border. It includes 4,000 square feet of ground-floor office space, a 1,000-square-foot, two-story warehouse office, 32-foot clear heights, 46 dock-high doors, two ramped doors, parking for 73 trailers and 60 employee parking spaces.

UAW and General Motors disagree on Texas plant closure

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union and General Motors Co. differ on whether an SUV assembly plant in Arlington, Texas, should be closed temporarily for the safety of its 4,000 workers.

Officials of a local UAW chapter in Arlington asked General Motors (GM) last Monday to close the plant as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise rapidly across Texas.

“Due to the most recent data on the COVID-19 outbreak, the bargaining committee has asked General Motors to shut down Arlington Assembly until the curve is flattened for the benefit and well-being of our members,” UAW Local 276 posted on its website. “Every day we are setting new records in the number of people who are testing positive in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.”

Officials at GM, which restarted the Arlington plant on May 18, said they have instituted safety protocols and “there’s no need to interrupt production.”

“We’re aware of the request and haven’t made changes to our production plans because we have protocols designed to keep the virus out of the facility and have multiple layers of protection in the plant to prevent a spread of the virus,” said GM spokesman Jim Cain, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Noi Mahoney.

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Source: https://www.freightwaves.com/news/borderlands-mexico-tough-for-foreign-firms-gm-union-spar-on-texas-plant-closure

Automotive

Infamous Antarctic Snow Cruiser Recreated In CGI For Excellent Mini-Doc

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Vehicles built for a specific purpose are always the most exciting. Whether it’s a track-focused hypercar or desert-busting trophy truck, focused engineering will always create something exciting. One of the most interesting purpose-built vehicles was the infamous Antarctic Snow Cruiser. This innovative mobile base was created to help the Americans explore and claim previously unknown terrain in Antarctica. Sadly the results never lived up to expectations and the Antarctic Snow Cruiser now lives in infamy.

In 1940 America launched its largest expedition to Antarctica. Before this expedition, private American expeditions were completed, but they were not government-backed which meant America had no official land claim on Antarctica. In the 1940s world powers planned to claim land in this frigid landscape and look for valuable natural resources.

To claim valuable Arctic real estate quickly, the government back American expedition had a secret weapon. And by secret, I mean a hugely publicized overengineered mobile base known as the Antarctic Snow Cruiser. The Antarctic Snow Cruiser was meant to cross the inhospitable Arctic landscape with ease thanks to superior American engineering. The Antarctic Snow Cruiser was going to cover more land than anyone before while giving America a valuable land claim near the South Pole.

The Antarctic Snow Cruiser had an innovative powertrain much like a modern-day diesel-electric locomotive. Power came from two diesel engines that would send power to four electric motors to move this massive mobile base. With one motor at each wheel, the Antarctic Snow Cruiser previewed the preferred drive train for all modern-day electric vehicles.

The Antarctic Snow Cruiser was a fantastic idea, however, due to tight timelines production was rushed. This meant the team had barely any time for their creation and had to build based purely on theory. This meant the Antarctic Snow Cruiser was a massive failure let down by a weak powertrain and smooth tires that had no grip on the Arctic ice. With modern technology, it would be fantastic to see a second attempt at the legendary Antarctic Snow Cruiser concept.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.motor1.com/news/535992/arctic-snow-crusier/?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=RSS-category-technology

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Automotive

Why MPG should matter for electric vehicles

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If saving the environment is merely a lifestyle choice, the automakers and their latest electric vehicles have got us covered. Tesla’s Plaid touts performance. Leafs, Priuses and Volts preach humility. And Ford is flexing its muscle with launches of electric Mustangs and F-150s.

But if consumers’ choices are going to contribute to a greener future — if they’re going to opt for energy efficiency over flash — they need the ability to make smart purchasing decisions. To enable that, an old-fashioned measuring stick from the gasoline era could come in handy: the concept of miles per gallon.

In the electric vehicle (EV) era, car shopping is no longer a simple matter of finding a high-MPG car and a cheap gallon of gas. Electricity costs are confusing. Price and efficiency information is hard to find and harder to understand. And ultimately, you have to do the math.

That means getting to know electric energy’s unit of choice: the kilowatt-hour, or kWh — a string of characters better suited to an engineering textbook. To determine their costs and carbon footprints, drivers must solve the brain teasers that turn kWh into dollars and miles.

If you don’t do that, you’re trusting the automakers to do the right thing for you and the environment.

The government can lead on this problem. In fact, it has, and it does. Gas pumps have long been required to list the price of a gallon, gallons pumped and total fill-up cost. A vehicle’s EPA-mandated miles-per-gallon rating — displayed on dashboards and on every new car’s MPG sticker — ties it all together.

So maybe we already have a common denominator for the EV age. A familiar, tangible energy unit that gives us an apples-to-apples way to think about cost, efficiency and pollution.

Fellow Americans, say hello — again — to the gallon. Even as we leave the gas-powered car behind, we can keep its energy unit. It’s tangible, and if it works for the energy contained in gas, we can make it work for electricity.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a gallon of unleaded gas contains about 34 kWh of energy. Knowing that, you can easily deduce how much your energy purchase costs and how far it can take you. The gallon can even help you better understand your other electricity usage, putting your home energy costs on an apples-to-apples basis with your automobile’s energy costs.

When I gallon-ized my energy bills for the month of August, I learned:

  • My house used 56 gallons (1,888 kWh) worth of electricity.
  • My average home electricity cost was $6.34 per gallon.
  • At a Tesla supercharger, I paid $8.43 per gallon (25 cents per kWh).

The government already publishes an MPG equivalent for electric and hybrid vehicles. Using MPG, it becomes clear that electric vehicles make up for a lot of that high cost-per-gallon in efficiency, often with ratings over 100 MPG.

MPG is already good for more than car shopping. New York City’s MPG mandates have doubled taxis’ fuel efficiency since 2009. (The city also reserves a portion of taxi licenses — medallions — for hybrids.) Uber and Lyft have announced green initiatives, but their lightly regulated status has let them avoid MPG standards.

Smart energy shopping alone will not solve climate change. Energy watchdogs also need to monitor the industry’s carbon impact from both electricity generation and EV-related hardware manufacturing.

All else equal, though, using less energy means less pollution. And common units can steer us toward smart choices that encompass far more than our cars. Should I buy batteries so I can stock up on electricity when it’s cheapest? Do solar panels make sense? What about better insulation or more efficient appliances?

A high-MPG vehicle and a home that also goes a long way on a gallon? Together, that would be a solid lifestyle choice.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/25/why-mpg-should-matter-for-electric-vehicles/

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Automotive

Why MPG should matter for electric vehicles

Published

on

If saving the environment is merely a lifestyle choice, the automakers and their latest electric vehicles have got us covered. Tesla’s Plaid touts performance. Leafs, Priuses and Volts preach humility. And Ford is flexing its muscle with launches of electric Mustangs and F-150s.

But if consumers’ choices are going to contribute to a greener future — if they’re going to opt for energy efficiency over flash — they need the ability to make smart purchasing decisions. To enable that, an old-fashioned measuring stick from the gasoline era could come in handy: the concept of miles per gallon.

In the electric vehicle (EV) era, car shopping is no longer a simple matter of finding a high-MPG car and a cheap gallon of gas. Electricity costs are confusing. Price and efficiency information is hard to find and harder to understand. And ultimately, you have to do the math.

That means getting to know electric energy’s unit of choice: the kilowatt-hour, or kWh — a string of characters better suited to an engineering textbook. To determine their costs and carbon footprints, drivers must solve the brain teasers that turn kWh into dollars and miles.

If you don’t do that, you’re trusting the automakers to do the right thing for you and the environment.

The government can lead on this problem. In fact, it has, and it does. Gas pumps have long been required to list the price of a gallon, gallons pumped and total fill-up cost. A vehicle’s EPA-mandated miles-per-gallon rating — displayed on dashboards and on every new car’s MPG sticker — ties it all together.

So maybe we already have a common denominator for the EV age. A familiar, tangible energy unit that gives us an apples-to-apples way to think about cost, efficiency and pollution.

Fellow Americans, say hello — again — to the gallon. Even as we leave the gas-powered car behind, we can keep its energy unit. It’s tangible, and if it works for the energy contained in gas, we can make it work for electricity.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a gallon of unleaded gas contains about 34 kWh of energy. Knowing that, you can easily deduce how much your energy purchase costs and how far it can take you. The gallon can even help you better understand your other electricity usage, putting your home energy costs on an apples-to-apples basis with your automobile’s energy costs.

When I gallon-ized my energy bills for the month of August, I learned:

  • My house used 56 gallons (1,888 kWh) worth of electricity.
  • My average home electricity cost was $6.34 per gallon.
  • At a Tesla supercharger, I paid $8.43 per gallon (25 cents per kWh).

The government already publishes an MPG equivalent for electric and hybrid vehicles. Using MPG, it becomes clear that electric vehicles make up for a lot of that high cost-per-gallon in efficiency, often with ratings over 100 MPG.

MPG is already good for more than car shopping. New York City’s MPG mandates have doubled taxis’ fuel efficiency since 2009. (The city also reserves a portion of taxi licenses — medallions — for hybrids.) Uber and Lyft have announced green initiatives, but their lightly regulated status has let them avoid MPG standards.

Smart energy shopping alone will not solve climate change. Energy watchdogs also need to monitor the industry’s carbon impact from both electricity generation and EV-related hardware manufacturing.

All else equal, though, using less energy means less pollution. And common units can steer us toward smart choices that encompass far more than our cars. Should I buy batteries so I can stock up on electricity when it’s cheapest? Do solar panels make sense? What about better insulation or more efficient appliances?

A high-MPG vehicle and a home that also goes a long way on a gallon? Together, that would be a solid lifestyle choice.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/25/why-mpg-should-matter-for-electric-vehicles/

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Automotive

The Best Selling Vehicles in America, By State

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When CEOs of major companies are selling their shares, investors can’t help but notice.

After all, these decisions have a direct effect on the personal wealth of these insiders, which can say plenty about their convictions with respect to the future direction of the companies they run.

Considering that Big Tech stocks are some of the most popular holdings in today’s portfolios, and are backed by a collective $5.3 trillion in institutional investment, how do the CEOs of these organizations rank by their insider selling?

CEO Stock Shares Sold H1 2021 Value of Shares ($M)
Jeff Bezos Amazon (AMZN) 2.0 million $6,600
Mark Zuckerberg Facebook (FB) 7.1 million $2,200
Satya Nadella Microsoft (MSFT) 278,694 $65
Sundar Pichai Google (GOOGL) 27,000 $62
Tim Cook Apple (AAPL) 0 $0

Breaking Down Insider Trading, by CEO

Let’s dive into the insider trading activity of each Big Tech CEO:

Jeff Bezos

During the first half of 2021, Jeff Bezos sold 2 million shares of Amazon worth $6.6 billion.

This activity was spread across 15 different transactions, representing an average of $440 million per transaction. Altogether, this ranks him first by CEO insider selling, by total dollar proceeds. Bezos’s time as CEO of Amazon came to an end shortly after the half way mark for the year.

Mark Zuckerberg

In second place is Mark Zuckerberg, who has been significantly busier selling than the rest.

In the first half of 2021, he unloaded 7.1 million shares of Facebook onto the open market, worth $2.2 billion. What makes these transactions interesting is the sheer quantity of them, as he sold on 136 out of 180 days. On average, that’s $12 million worth of stock sold every day.

Zuckerberg’s record year of selling in 2018 resulted in over $5 billion worth of stock sold, but over 90% of his net worth still remains in the company.

Satya Nadella

Next is Satya Nadella, who sold 278,694 shares of Microsoft, worth $234 million. Despite this, the Microsoft CEO still holds an estimated 1.6 million shares, which is the largest of any insider.

Microsoft’s stock has been on a tear for a number of years now, and belongs to an elite trillion dollar club, which consists of only six public companies.

Sundar Pichai

Fourth on the list is Sundar Pichai who has been at the helm at Google for six years now. Since the start of 2021, he’s sold 27,000 shares through nine separate transactions, worth $62.5 million. However, Pichai still has an estimated 6,407 Class A and 114,861 Class C shares.

Google is closing in on a $2 trillion valuation and is the best performing Big Tech stock, with shares rising 60% year-to-date. Their market share growth from U.S. ad revenues is a large contributing factor.

Tim Cook

Last, is Tim Cook, who just surpassed a decade as Apple CEO.

During this time, shares have rallied over 1,000% and annual sales have gone from $100 billion to $347 billion. That said, Cook has sold 0 shares of Apple during the first half of 2021. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t sold shares elsewhere, though. Cook also sits on the board of directors for Nike, and has sold $6.9 million worth of shares this year.

Measuring Insider Selling

All things equal, it’s desirable for management to have skin in the game, and be invested alongside shareholders. It can also be seen as aligning long-term interests.

A good measure of insider selling activity is in relation to the existing stake in the company. For example, selling $6.6 billion worth of shares may sound like a lot, but when there are 51.7 million Amazon shares remaining for Jeff Bezos, it actually represents a small portion and is probably not cause for panic.

If, however, executives are disclosing large transactions relative to their total stakes, it might be worth digging deeper.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/the-best-selling-vehicles-in-america-by-state/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-best-selling-vehicles-in-america-by-state

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