Above the Fold: Supply Chain Logistics News (September 15, 2023)

I don’t speak Catalan, but I speak Spanish, and I’ll get to speak plenty of it next week at the Transporeon Summit 2023 conference in Barcelona. I’ll be leading a panel discussion on “Automation, Real-time Insights, and Collaboration” with various industry leaders. I’ll also be interviewing several shippers and carriers during the event to get their insights and advice on current trends in the transportation industry. I look forward to learning and networking with the 500+ attendees next week. Stay tuned for my takeaways from the conference when I return.

This will be the first of several conferences I’ll be speaking at in the coming weeks, including:

I’ll be in so many time zones, I won’t know whether the sun is rising or setting some days.

If you’re planning an event in 2024 and are interested in having me present or moderate a panel discussion (in English or Spanish), please contact me to discuss ideas.

Moving on, it was a busy week in the supply chain and logistics world. Here’s the news that caught my attention:

What Happens In California…

If I didn’t have so many tasks to complete today before hitting the road, I would spend some time commenting on the Flexport and Amazon announcements this week. Is this a chess match between these two? A tit for tat? Who should customers trust and bet on? I’ll keep thinking about it and share my thoughts in a future post.

Instead, I’ll briefly put the spotlight on California.

The state’s Senate passed a bill that would “force large corporations that do business in the state to disclose all greenhouse-gas emissions associated with their operations, [including Scope 3 emissions],” as reported by Christine Mai-Duc in the Wall Street Journal. The state’s Assembly is now considering the bill and it’s unclear whether it will pass there, and if so, whether Governor Newsom would sign it into law or veto it.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“There’s no way for a frozen pizza company to be able to calculate the emissions of the tomato farmer who plants the seed, grows the tomato, that gets processed into sauce that gets put on their pizza,” said Ben Golombek, chief policy officer for the California Chamber of Commerce. “It’s about trying to shame companies over inaccurate data as opposed to generating good public policy.”

Several of California’s largest technology companies, including Apple and Salesforce, have said such calculations are possible and are supporting the proposal. 

The challenge is with Scope 3 emissions, as I commented back in February 2022 in “The Difficulty Of Measuring Scope 3 Emissions.”

In short, stay informed of this proposed legislation because if it becomes law in California, it effectively becomes a national requirement for large companies to measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions across their supply chains.

The California Senate also “passed a bill Monday that requires a trained human safety operator to be present any time a self-driving, heavy-duty vehicle operates on public roads in the state,” as reported by Rebecca Bellan in TechCrunch. “In effect, the bill bans driverless AV trucks.” Here are some excerpts from the article:

AB 316, which passed the Senate floor with 36 votes in favor and two against, still needs to be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom before it becomes law. Newsom has a reputation for being friendly to the tech industry, and is expected to veto AB 316. 

Advocates of the bill, first introduced in January, argue that having more control over the removal of safety drivers from autonomous trucks would protect California road users and ensure job security for truck drivers.

Compared to the fact that California is already planning to ban diesel-powered drayage trucks, which will certainly have a disruptive impact on the industry, this proposed ban on autonomous trucks is not that big a deal — especially since AV trucks, aside from some small-scale pilot tests, play virtually no role in supply chains today.

Unfortunately, what happens in California doesn’t always stay in California, so keep all of these developments on your radar.

And with that, have a happy weekend!

Note: Talking Logistics will be on holiday next week. We’ll be back the following week.

Song of the Week: “Compulsion” by Martin L. Gore