By Paul Page
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The messy breakup of Hanjin Shipping Co. isn't getting any cleaner. The bankrupt container shipping line's U.S. creditors are fighting Hanjin's plans to sell its stake in the port operator that runs the largest terminal at California's Port of Long Beach, the WSJ's Tom Corrigan reports. The request at a court in Newark, N.J., where Hanjin's U.S. bankruptcy proceeding is unfolding, adds new complications to the messy unraveling of the business that began when the South Korean operator abruptly filed for receivership in late August. Mediterranean Shipping Co. has offered $78 million for Hanjin's controlling stake in Total Terminals International LLC. But creditors -- including container lessors, insurance providers and the Port of Seattle -- say Hanjin's stake is worth more and want a judge to throw out, delay or modify the proposed sale. The demand suggests there will be continuing challenges to efforts to dissolve the business as companies left in Hanjin's wake try to recover more of their losses.
Self-driving car technology is upending the market for auto parts suppliers. Suppliers from longtime auto-parts powerhouses such as Delphi Automotive PLC to chip makers like Nvidia Corp. are vying to become sellers of something more than commodity parts, the WSJ's Tim Higgins reports, as the companies look at their business models as intensely as they research the new technology. Car companies showcasing their futuristic plans at the North American International Auto Show this week are weighing how much of the vehicles they can own themselves, and how much they will need to rely on a widening group of auto suppliers and tech companies. Meantime, consulting firm AlixPartners estimates the market for the systems used in autonomous vehicles could reach $20 billion by 2020. That's pushing suppliers to line up a series of big-money deals that promise to overhaul auto manufacturing supply chains, with the companies moving to make cars smart in the driver's seat.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has a new fan of the Chinese e-commerce giant's expansion plans . President-elect Donald Trump praised the company and its bid to lure small and medium-size U.S. companies onto its marketplace after a meeting with Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma, the WSJ's Ryan Knutson and Laura Stevens report, a strategy Mr. Ma says will open China to more U.S. exporters. Open trade between the U.S. and China is critical to Alibaba's success, especially as the company presses expansion through cross-border sales. Alibaba has mostly recruited bigger U.S. retailers and brands to sell on its site, but Jim Tompkins, chief executive of supply chain consultancy Tompkins International, notes it has failed to add many smaller sellers outside China. Any inroads it makes could come at the expense of U.S. companies including eBay Inc. and, to a lesser extent, Amazon.com Inc. But the company's interest in U.S. exporters could provide a lever for a larger trade deal, one that could give China's exporters more access to American markets.
ECONOMY & TRADE
An icon of direct consumer sales is straining to meet changes in retail competition in the era of e-commerce. After years of shrugging off competition from traditional and online retailers, QVC Inc. is seeing cracks emerge in its business model, the WSJ's Paul Ziobro reports, with sales falling for the first time in seven years heading into the crucial holiday period. The troubles at the home-shopping channel highlight the enormous impact online sales have had on the retail world, in this case hitting a business that faces little of the inventory and cost concerns that occupy brick-and-mortar store owners. But e-commerce, including the round-the-clock availability of goods online, competes for consumer attention and spending. QVC is responding by building up its own online exposure and the logistics to go with the strategy.
While battle lines are being set in Washington over protections against foreign imports, paper mills in Maine are still coping with the negative impact of efforts to fend off cross-border competition. An import tariff the U.S. slapped on a type of magazine paper made in Canada in 2015 triggered a cascade of unintended consequences, the WSJ's Jennifer Levitz reports, hurting U.S. operations of some Canadian paper mills and firing up a trade dispute with Canada. Imports are on the agenda as the Donald Trump administration prepares to take office with an agenda to jumpstart U.S. manufacturing. Still, Maine's push to penalize Canadian paper products illustrates how the desired aims of import tariffs to protect U.S. manufacturing and jobs may not always be achieved -- especially for industries with deteriorating markets and economics.
IN OTHER NEWS
United Parcel Service Inc. acquired U.K. freight broker Freightex and will merge the business with its Coyote Logistics acquisition. (Lloyd's Loading List)
General Motors Co. won't move small-car production to the U.S. from Mexico in the wake of Mr. Trump's criticism of the auto maker's imports. (WSJ)
Waymo LLC, a unit of Alphabet Inc., created its own sensor package, suggesting the company plans to supply both the software and hardware for autonomous vehicles. (WSJ)
Sales of Volkswagen AG passenger cars rose 2.8% in December on strong growth in China despite the company's emissions-cheating scandal. (WSJ)
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. will invest more than $302.5 million at its plant outside Toronto, with the Canadian and Ontario governments kicking in additional cash. (WSJ)
Mars, Inc. is buying pet health-care provider VCA Inc. for about $7.7 billion. (WSJ)
Amazon expanded its use of robots in fulfillment centers by 50% over the past year. (Seattle Times)
Amazon won a patent to transport goods through a network of tunnels. (Newsweek)
The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority is poised to give Mancon Inc. a $28 million contract to run its troubled warehouse and inventory system. (Boston Herald)
SouthKorean ship builder Hyundai Heavy Industries will close its Gunsan shipyard as part of its business restructuring. (Splash 24/7)
Business in maritime's car-carrier sector remains behind the levels reached before the financial crisis, according to Clarksons Research. (Automotive Logistics)
India's government wants to develop a community-wide air cargo information system to improve the efficiency of processing airfreight shipments. (Air Cargo News)
Allentown, Pa.-based Air Products & Chemicals Inc. made an offer to buy China's biggest producer of industrial gases, Yingde Gases Group Co. (Bloomberg)
Paul Page is deputy editor of WSJ Logistics Report. Follow him at @PaulPage, and follow the entire WSJ Logistics Report team: @brianjbaskin, @jensmithWSJ and @EEPhillips_WSJ and follow the WSJ Logistics Report on Twitter at @WSJLogistics.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 10, 2017 07:03 ET (12:03 GMT)
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