While most of the tech world is focused on new generative AI tools, Amazon has been chipping away at an ongoing challenge posed by modern consumerism: the proliferation of shipping materials. For several years now, the e-commerce giant has been developing what it describes as a “multimodal AI model” called the Package Decision Engine. The PDE’s job is to do a smarter job of selecting the right box, bag, or wrapper for each of the millions of unique items sold through the company’s warehouses. With the new program, Amazon says products are sent through a computer vision tunnel that gathers dimensions and particular features (like whether it has fragile parts or already resides in a box). Those images are then matched with a natural language processing of text-based description of the product, plus other quantitative data to match the item with its ideal shipping solution.

Pollution from the plastics industry is a major force behind the heating of the planet, according to a new report from the federal government. The industry releases about four times as many planet-warming chemicals as the airline industry, according to the paper from scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Its emissions are equivalent to those of about 600 coal plants — about three times the number that exist across the U.S. And if plastic production remains constant, by 2050 it could burn through nearly a fifth of the Earth’s remaining carbon budget — the amount of carbon dioxide climate scientists believe can be burned without tipping the climate into unsafe territory. The report from the national lab comes out as civil society and public health groups, plastics industry representatives and members of national governments prepare to travel to Ottawa, Canada, for the fourth meeting of the International Negotiating Committee, which seeks to create a legally binding treaty to reduce plastics pollution.

The Otay Mesa East Port of Entry, slated to open late this year, will not begin operations for at least another year, according to Baja California Gov. Marina del Pilar Ávila Olmeda. She blamed construction delays on the U.S. side of the border where the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) have yet to begin work on the crossing, which was supposed to be done by September. So far, a new highway connecting the future border crossing with the rest of San Diego’s highway system is almost done, but construction of the actual port of entry hasn’t started. The project on the U.S. side of the border is expect to cost $1.2 billion, said Mario Orso, project manager with Caltrans.

That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend and the song of the week, Cocaine by Eric Clapton.

The post This Week in Logistics News (April 20 – 26) appeared first on Logistics Viewpoints.