What’s Amazon Up To?

I was considering writing an article about which company will be most disruptive to supply chains over the next few years, when lo and behold what pulls into my driveway but an Amazon-branded panel truck delivering a drill I ordered a couple days ago. Is that fate or what? At the very top of my list in the ‘Disrupter Hall of Fame’ would undoubtedly be Amazon, and their recent moves in logistics represent yet another supply chain area that ought to be preparing itself for disruption from this ecommerce giant.

Sure, there are other companies worthy of consideration. You could check out Elon Musk’s Tesla, with its electric cars, battery technology, and rocket ships. Or maybe Google, with autonomous vehicles, Google Glass, and their ubiquitous search functionality. Apple might be a good call, with their phones, tablets, watches, music, and gadgets. And Facebook is always worth a look. I’d stick with my pick of Amazon, though. There’s nothing out there to indicate they’re slowing down.

It isn’t only logistics where Amazon has focused its innovation. I’ve been an admirer since they opened their virtual doors back around 1997, and the breadth of their accomplishments is amazing. To reach the pinnacle as the world’s largest ecommerce site they’ve disrupted a number of different businesses and processes, along the way raising the level of innovation to a point where almost everyone else is playing catch-up.

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MBTA commuter trains achieve best on-time rating in December

Keolis Commuter Services, operator of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) commuter-rail system, logged an on-time performance rate of 92.4 percent in December 2015.

The figure marks the best on-time performance last year, Keolis officials said in a  press release.

When adjusted for delays beyond Keolis’ control, such as trespassers or police activity, December’s on-time performance rate was 95.5 percent. December is typically a challenge month because of the transition between falling leaves, falling temperatures and winter’s first snow, Keolis officials said.

The numbers show that the service improvement agreement between MBTA and Keolis is producing positive results, said Keolis Commuter services General Manager Gerald Francis.

In August 2015, Keolis developed a service improvement plan for the last five months of 2015 that set performance benchmarks for commuter-rail service in areas of on-time performance, fare collection, staffing levels and locomotive availability. By year’s end, Keolis had met or exceeded those goals, company officials said.

Additionally, between July and December last year, the number of late trains on the commuter-rail system decreased by 25 percent when compared with the average for that period over the last decade.

Ports along FL’s Atlantic Coast busy enhancing infrastructure, adding services

Deeper channels and enhanced on-dock and connective infrastructure, as well as new service offerings, are becoming downright commonplace at ports along the East Coast of the Sunshine State.
The Panama Canal expansion, expected to finally be completed later this year, has been a propelling force, while the opening of Cuba to post-embargo maritime commerce promises to drive additional future volumes for some Florida Atlantic ports.

Here’s the latest, starting in Miami and moving northward up the Florida coast to just south of the Georgia line:

PortMiami

With its newly achieved 50-foot channel and alongside berth depths, Miami-Dade County’s PortMiami, having completed more than $1 billion in infrastructure projects, is positioning to handle the larger containerships with capacities of as many as 13,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units that will be able to transit the expanded Panama Canal.

In addition to the Deep Dredge project, completed last summer, PortMiami now counts six super-post-Panamax cranes among its contingent of 13 container gantries. Its multimodal links have been significantly enhanced with the opening, in conjunction with Florida East Coast Railway, of on-dock intermodal rail service and entering into service of the new PortMiami Tunnel, carrying traffic beneath Biscayne Bay to directly access the Interstate highway system.

PortMiami, which in mid-2015 saw the return of service by Hamburg Süd, receives calls from Asia via three of the world’s four largest ocean carrier alliances, augmenting the port’s traditional strength in Latin American and Caribbean trades. This activity helped PortMiami eclipse the 1 million TEU mark in containerized cargo moves in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2015, the port’s best performance in a decade.

Connecticut panel OKs $17.5 million to improve Danbury Branch Line

The Connecticut State Bond Commission has approved $17.5 million in state funding for the design, engineering and construction of a new rail yard on the MTA Metro-North Railroad Danbury Branch Line in Norwalk, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced late last week.

The funding will be used to modify and enhance the rail yard where the Danbury Branch Line connects with the main New Haven Line that will accommodate the replacement of the 119-year-old Walk Bridge, according to a press release issued by Malloy’s office.

“Various improvements such as adding track sidings, signal work, and electrification will be made at the southern end of the branch line and will promote train operational efficiencies, including room for train storage and passing of trains during the Walk Bridge replacement project,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker.

The recently approved funding is part of Malloy’s initiative to invest state dollars in modernizing the state’s transportation system.

“Rail is increasingly becoming a popular method of transportation, and the upgrades that we are making to the Danbury Branch Line will serve to accommodate the commuters and businesses who depend on this service for their day-to-day needs,” Malloy said.

Gas-related explosion suspected in East Village fire that injures 22, takes down buildings, mayor says

Crazy Pasta Child

A blast from a suspected gas leak set off a seven-alarm inferno that burned four Manhattan buildings, collapsed one, partially collapsed two others and injured 22 people, four of them critically, New York City officials said.

At least two people are unaccounted for on Friday afternoon, the mayor’s office and the NYPD said.

The explosion, which injured four firefighters, rocked the block where employees of a private contractor were adding a new plumbing and gas system to an existing one inside a sushi restaurant at 121 Second Ave. in the East Village, authorities said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday there could be a possiblity that a gas pipe had been accessed improperly.

Although city officials said it didn’t appear that anyone was missing, late Thursday Tyler Figueroa, 19, of Manhattan said his 23-year-old brother, Nicholas, had disappeared after going on a date at the sushi restaurant, which was…

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