Remains down, 7:59 p.m. Central Time.
One can watch the "hurricane winds" at this site. It looks like the hurricane is coming ashore tonight. Category 1: 75 mph.
Two Amazon stories I might come back to later:
- Walmart looking to cut 7,000 high-paying jobs -- Fortune
- Will Amazon kill FedEx? -- Bloomberg Businessweek
No Transmission Lines, No Pipelines -- Iowa
Court says "no" to wind farm transmission line -- ChicagoBusiness. Data points:
- high-voltage transmission line
- Texas-based utility, Rock Island Clean Line
- $1.8 billion project
- Iowa wind farms to Illinois
- 500-mile transmission line
- would have moved 4,000 MW, enough to power 1.4 million homes
- suit brought by landowners
- three-judge panel unanimous: "the developer did not qualify as a "utility" under state law, and the developer had not met the test that the public would have beneficial use of the project (like lower CO2 emissions, I guess)
- project had been in the work for years
- would have "moved" electricity from the Dakotas, Minnesota, Kansas, and Iowa
- also, a win for ComEd/Exelon who sees subsidized wind energy as a threat to nuclear energy in Illinois
Meanwhile, the anti-Dakota Access Pipeline movement continues to gain momentum in both North Dakota and Iowa.
Amazon: e-Walmart With FedEx Attached
See link above.
Starting in September 2015, people in [Wilmington, Ohio] noticed more planes flying in and out of the airport, loading and unloading those black-wrapped boxes. This March, Amazon announced that it was leasing 20 Boeing 767s from Air Transport Services Group, a cargo company that operates out of the air park. Amazon had also negotiated an option to buy nearly 20 percent of the company. “We’re excited to supplement our existing delivery network with a great new provider, ATSG, by adding 20 planes to ensure air cargo capacity to support one- and two-day delivery,” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president for worldwide operations, said in a statement at the time. Amazon denies wrapping its boxes in black during the trial period.
Two months after the Ohio announcement, Amazon leased 20 more jets from Atlas Air, an air cargo company based in Purchase, N.Y. Amazon has also purchased 4,000 truck trailers. Meanwhile, a company subsidiary in China has obtained a freight-forwarding license that analysts say enables it to sell space on container ships traveling between Asia and the U.S. and Europe. In short, Amazon is becoming a kind of e-commerce Walmart with a FedEx attached.
With any other company, an expansion like this would be preposterous. But Amazon’s growth has been preposterous. In 2010 its annual revenue was $34 billion; last year, $107 billion. In 2010 the company employed 33,700 workers. By this June, it had 268,900. To have enough office space for its swelling headquarters staff, Amazon has swallowed Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, and it’s building three tree-filled biospheres in the city that will allow workers to take contemplative breaks, like so many Ralph Waldo Emersons in Jetsonian luxury. The company is the fifth-most valuable in the world: Its market capitalization is about $366 billion, which is roughly equal to the combined worth of Walmart, FedEx, and Boeing.
Amazon’s ambitions depend on the continued success of its Prime service. For $99 a year, Amazon Prime customers get two-day delivery at no extra charge. Those who sign up tend to spend almost three times as much as their non-Prime peers. The company zealously guards its numbers, but Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimates that Amazon had 63 million Prime members as of late June—19 million more than the year before.
Amazon keeps subscribers in the fold by lavishing them with perks such as free access to Amazon Video, the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and trial subscriptions to the Washington Post, which Bezos, a billionaire many times over, purchased for $250 million in cash three years ago.
But more than anything, Prime members sign up for that fast shipping, which keeps getting faster. In many large cities, subscribers can now get free two-hour delivery on more than 25,000 items they might otherwise have bought at Walgreens or 7-Eleven. For an additional $7.99, orders arrive within an hour.
Some company executives joked that the service should be called Amazon Magic; they went with Prime Now.I accidentally subscribed to Amazon Prime and love it. In the old days, I would wait until "my cart" reached the number of items necessary for free shipping, buying "stuff" at Walmart if it couldn't wait. With Prime Amazon, it's just like buying at Walmart -- except cheaper and delivered to the door in two days, sometimes in one.
Walmart Cutting High-Paying Jobs
See link above.
Walmart will cut some 7,000 accounting and invoicing positions within its U.S. stores as the discount retailer redeploys workers to improve in-store customer service.
The largest U.S. retailer, also the country’s largest private employer, plans to eliminate those jobs over the next several months. Those jobs are typically occupied by long-term and often higher-paid store employee. [Long term -- think higher paid due to annual salary increases; and, higher cost of health benefits; and pension payments about to begin.]
The benefit for Walmart is that it could then put more workers on the floor helping customers, something infinitely more valuable to the retailer as it looks to give people a reason to shop at its stores rather than on Amazon.com. A company spokesperson confirmed that Walmart expects the affected employees are likely to find customer-facing roles at the Walmart store. [This is less likely to have an effect on Amazon, and a greater effect on Target.]
The move follows a test earlier this summer at 500 stores, mostly west of Colorado, to eliminate three administrative jobs related to accounting and invoicing at each store and see if those functions could be replaced by workers in the home office and by machines. The jobs being eliminated involve counting cash or managing invoices for suppliers. Invoicing will be handled by a central office at company headquarters in Arkansas, while money will be counted at each store by a “cash recycler” machine.