Amazon Flex is piloting new safety features for its drivers. This follows a series of incidents in which Flex drivers, who use their own cars for deliveries, have reportedly been met with violence or threat by residents: since 2022, five Flex drivers have been shot in four different incidents and five others said they have had guns drawn on them. In many of these incidents, homeowners were reported to have mistaken delivery drivers for intruders due to their cars being unmarked. Amazon is now implementing measures to prevent this, including a feature in its app that would display a Flex driver’s name and photograph to customers awaiting delivery. At this time, the company does not provide customers with any information about who is delivering their packages. In addition, a select group of Flex drivers is being given Amazon-branded merchandise to display on their cars, such as magnets and lights. These will be handed out to drivers beginning this month. Amazon is also working on a text feature automatically alerting customers when a delivery is about to be made. Drivers currently have the option of independently texting customers themselves.

Logistics operators added jobs in January, though employment was down over the previous 12 months as companies continue to grapple with a downturn in the goods-moving economy. Trucking, warehousing, and parcel-delivery companies added a combined 10,700 jobs from December to January, according to seasonally adjusted preliminary employment figures released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The industry added jobs at a time when logistics companies have been coping with a faltering freight market for the past 20 months. Employment across the sectors was down by 117,300 jobs in January from a year earlier as companies adjust their payrolls following a two-year hiring spree driven by a surge in e-commerce demand during the pandemic. The growth in logistics hiring came as the broader U.S. economy added a seasonally adjusted 353,000 jobs last month, according to the BLS report, the strongest month in a year.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Monday said her department plans to make several funding awards within two months from the government’s $39 billion program to boost semiconductor manufacturing. The semiconductor fund is intended to subsidize chip production and related supply chain investments, and the awards will help build factories and increase production. In December, Raimondo said she expected to make around a dozen semiconductor chips funding awards within the next year, including multi-billion dollar announcements. Raimondo said she is personally involved in regular conversations with chip company CEOs. The department has made two small awards from the “Chips for America” semiconductor manufacturing and research subsidy program approved by Congress in August 2022. Raimondo said she did not think the government was behind in making awards.

Delta Cargo, a unit of Delta Air Lines Inc., is offering a new shipping and delivery service through DeliverDirect, an online platform Delta developed with logistics technology firm SmartKargo. Delta says DeliverDirect uses the Delta Air Lines domestic network of more than 2,500 daily flights to offer small-parcel 2-day door-to-door delivery “coast-to-coast.” It adds that DeliverDirect will “soon” launch next-day delivery service. DeliverDirect’s service includes: customized pick-up times for shippers; simultaneous tracking of up to 10 deliveries; geofence notifications of approaching deliveries; dedicated cargo capacity; signature-required deliveries; photo-proof of delivery; and flat and customizable rates.

That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend, the Super Bowl, and the song of the week, Taylor Swift’s Don’t Blame Me.

The post This Week in Logistics News (February 3 – 9) appeared first on Logistics Viewpoints.