By Paul Page
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The incoming Donald Trump presidential administration has already united the trucking and rail industries . Often at odds in Washington, the two biggest groups representing trucking companies and railroads are teaming up to press the administration to reverse Obama-era regulations and slow the process for writing new rules, the WSJ reports. The effort is part of a big push lobbying groups are making in Washington as they prepare for expected business-friendly policy changes with Mr. Trump in the White House and Republicans in control of both chambers of Congress. In this case, the WSJ reports the leaders of the American Trucking Associations and Association of American Railroads want to unite airline, automobile and other transport groups behind the plan. Their idea is to create specific guidelines for how transportation agencies write rules and operating guidelines, including laying out data for scrutiny well ahead of time and working with businesses on goals and solutions.
E-commerce companies seem to be learning to love stores. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is the latest online business to step up its physical presence, the WSJ's Liza Lin and Nathan Becker report, as it takes a controlling stake in China's IntimeRetail (Group) Co. and works with the company's founder to take the department-store chain private. At $2.6 billion, it's an expensive deal for Alibaba, \but it advances the company's push to deepen links between online operations, brick-and-mortar stores and logistics. Amazon.com Inc. and several smaller rivals in the U.S. have started opening storefronts with similar goals -- they give the companies a place to tout wares that consumers can size up in the real world. Alibaba's effort appears to be bigger, taking in department stores and shopping malls, and that may push more goods through the company's distribution channels and help expand the industrial side of the company's logistics operation.
Whirlpool Corp. won its trade battle but may not have won its larger goal to sell more washing machines. U.S. trade regulators ruled that Whirlpool's South Korean rivals unfairly harmed the appliance maker by selling washing machines in the U.S.at artificially low prices, WSJ's Andrew Tangel reports. That will allow anti-dumping tariffs to go forward against large residential washing machines that Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. make in China, appliances that Whirlpool says compete unfairly with its own machines. The victory for Whirlpool will likely have a limited impact on the market because Samsung and LG have already moved production of the appliances from China to Vietnam and Thailand, which are not covered by the tariffs. That illustrates the difficulty of using tariffs as a tool when global supply chains can shift gears so easily across borders.
While public-private partnerships appear set to come to the forefront in U.S. infrastructure debates, use of the tactic is coming under increasingly harsh scrutiny on the other side of the world. Australia has become a magnet for global investors from Canadian pension funds to Chinese train operators, but the WSJ's Vera Sprothen reports that concerns are growing that the country is giving too much control and profit from transportation projects to private investors. Australia's public investment in roads, rail, waterways, seaports and airports stands at 1.6% of gross domestic product, the highest level among major world economies but that it is losing the value of its investment as private developers claim the benefits. Companies including Consolidated Land and Rail Australia, a consortium backed by former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, are working on new funding and cooperation plans that could provide models for as U.S. lawmakers and policy planners consider how to bring more money into transportation.
IN OTHER NEWS
The World Bank lowered its global economic growth forecast for this year slightly to 2.7%. (WSJ)
Oil prices sank to a one-month low with investors still questioning the impact of an OPEC deal to cut production. (WSJ)
Growing volatility in currency markets has analysts concerned the turbulence will affect other trading markets. (WSJ)
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey admitted wrongdoing and agreed to pay a $400,000 fine to settle charges the agency misled investors about risks associated with $2.3 billion in bonds to fund projects. (WSJ)
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is preparing another round of job cuts at its headquarters before the end of the month. (WSJ)
Earnings at Cargill Inc. climbed 80% from a year ago after one-off events as the agriculture giant revamped its business amid falling commodity prices. (WSJ)
General Motors Co. said pretax earnings this year should beat the record profit the auto maker expects to post for 2016. (WSJ)
Gildan Activewear Inc. won a court-supervised auction to buy American Apparel LLC's brand and other assets out of bankruptcy for $88 million.(WSJ)
The retail industry Global Port Tracker estimates imports to major U.S. ports grew 7% year-over-year in December. (DC Velocity)
Global air freight demand grew 6.8% year-over-year in November, according to the International Air Transport Association. (Reuters)
China's Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan will spend $18.3 billion on projects aimed at improving cargo handling. (Port Technology)
Hong Kong-based Kerry Logistics acquired German forwarder Multi Logistics. (The Loadstar)
The U.K. post office is closing 37 branches in its ongoing cost-cutting effort. (The Telegraph)
Xerox Corp. will close a distribution center in Groveport, Ohio, as it advances a global restructuring effort. (Business Journals)
Phoenix-based freight broker GlobalTranz Enterprises Inc. bought Wisconsin-based Global Freight Source Inc. (Business Journals)
Texas furniture maker KLN Manufacturing will shut its San Antonio manufacturing operation. (San Antonio Express-News)
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 11, 2017 07:02 ET (12:02 GMT)
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