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Borderlands: US-Mexico trade faces hurdles; GE cuts 257 jobs at Texas plant

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Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. U.S.-Mexico cross-border trade faces hurdles; General Electric cuts 257 jobs at Texas plant; Laredo CBP seizes $1.6 million of meth hidden in tractor-trailers; Houston and Rotterdam ports launch PortXchange trial.

Consultant: US-Mexico cross-border trade faces hurdles but headed in right direction

The coronavirus pandemic, introduction of new trade rules and confusion in Mexico have all added uncertainty for cross-border operators using North America’s trade lanes.

“Nobody was thinking about the pandemic when they were creating the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA),” said Nelson Balido, an international trade consultant. “Do we have to go back and look at another chapter in the USMCA? I would think, given with all that’s happened with the coronavirus.”

Balido is the managing principal at Balido and Associates, chairman of the independent nonprofit Border Commerce and Security Council, and a former member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, a group that provides advice to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Balido said one of the important issues not addressed in the USMCA is the definition of essential workers or essential industries during pandemics or natural disasters.

“There hasn’t been a synergy on or an agreement on what is an essential business. What we see as an essential business in the United States, [Mexican President Manuel] Obrador will tell you ‘I don’t know what is essential,’ and that’s a problem,” Balido said. “There is no synergy between Mexico and the U.S., there’s no synergy between [Mexico’s] federal government and state governments.”

U.S. industries that rely heavily on Mexico for the manufacturing of mechanical parts — such as parts for aerospace, automotive, refrigeration and HVAC — were affected when Obrador declared a national health emergency and shutdown of all nonessential businesses on March 30.

Many have criticized Obrador and his cabinet over confusion created by conflicting messages over when businesses can reopen. Some automotive companies restarted their factories in Mexico on Monday, with others planning to open later in the month.

Balido said the confusion has led to disruptions in supply chains that could not only affect a company’s bottom line, but could lead to people not receiving vital medical equipment in some cases.

“You have hundreds and hundreds of U.S. companies that have [plants] in China, but they’ve diversified some into Mexico, as an example. The supply chain has been severely disrupted, because they haven’t come into the agreement of synergy,” Balido said. “How do we define essential automotive or aerospace workers? Or how do I know that that particular little widget that you make in Mexico, does it go inside a ventilator that’s used for a hospital system in order to keep people alive, for example.”

Balido said while the USMCA trade pact is not perfect, it is better than NAFTA and benefits all countries. The USMCA is set to go into effect July 1.

“Remember, when the North American Free Trade Agreement was created in 1994, we didn’t have the internet, so USMCA is bringing trade into the 21st century based on what’s happened, minus the COVID-19 pandemic,” Balido said. “Going from being 100% shut off from our supply chain based on the whim of the government overseas in China, we have a lot more influence south of the border than we do in China.”

General Electric cuts 257 jobs at South Texas plant

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted layoffs at General Electric Co.’s jet engine plant in McAllen, Texas, according to a WARN notice filed with the Texas Workforce Commission.

At least 257 employees at GE Engine Services-McAllen will be laid off starting June 12. Officials at GE cited the “impact of the COVID-19 emergency” and the government’s shutdown orders as reasons for the job reduction.

GE Engine Services-McAllen provides jet engines and components for aircraft, and distributes its products internationally.

Another aviation-related company cutting jobs in Texas is Allied Aviation. It recently laid off an additional 50 people at its DFW International Airport location, bringing its total layoffs to 91.

The aviation fueling company is part of New York-based Allied Aviation Services Inc. It handles tanker trucks for fueling jet planes at airports in the U.S. — including two locations in Texas — as well as Canada, South America and the Caribbean.

Laredo CBP seizes $1.6 million of meth hidden in tractor-trailers

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers recently intercepted 58 pounds of methamphetamine inside an express consignment shipment arriving from Mexico.

The incident occurred June 1 at the World Trade Bridge cargo facility in Laredo, Texas.

CBP officers were inspecting a tractor-trailer and its shipment when they discovered the alleged methamphetamine, which has an estimated street value of $1.2 million.

On Thursday, CBP also seized $421,000 of meth hidden within a trusted Free and Secure Trade (FAST) shipment of motor vehicle parts from Mexico. 

CBP officers seized the narcotics in both cases and turned over the investigation to Homeland Security.

Houston and Rotterdam ports launch PortXchange trial

The Greater Houston Port Bureau and the Port of Rotterdam’s PortXchange (PXP) will be launching the Houston trial of the PXP port planning software on Monday.

The PXP system, a collaborative vessel and terminal planning platform, provides scheduling transparency to all parties involved in maritime commerce to decrease port turnaround time and increase efficiency of port calls.

More than 20 maritime companies are participating in the trial, including Shell International Trading and Shipping Co. Limited (“Shell”), ExxonMobil, Port of Houston, Contanda, Kinder Morgan Terminals, ITC, Stolt-Nielsen, MOL Chemical Tankers, Odfjell, and the Houston Pilots Association.

The trial will run at least six months and PXP is working closely with the Port Bureau and trial stakeholders to build a road map to a sustainable, portwide digital environment.

The Houston Port Bureau is one of the region’s leading maritime trade associations and maintains vessel movement data for the deepdraft ports in Texas.

“Consolidating port planning data into one central platform gives terminals, ships, and third-party service providers better predictability,” Bill Diehl, president of the Greater Houston Port Bureau, said in a release.

PXP’s shared schedule information allows agents, shipping lines, terminals and service providers to optimize planning and deconflict potential issues.

The PXP system is now being deployed in several ports with support from strategic partners Shell and Maersk. 

“Change management is always a challenge and this is a big step forward,” said Sjoerd de Jager, PXP managing director, in a release.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by NOI MAHONEY.

Source: https://www.freightwaves.com/news/borderlands-us-mexico-cross-border-trade-faces-hurdles-general-electric-cuts-257-jobs-at-texas-plant

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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