Toyota plans to develop new, smaller engines that can run on carbon-neutral fuels, the latest move by the world’s largest carmaker to navigate the industry’s bumpy transition away from conventional internal combustion engines. The Japanese automaker said that to help decarbonize such engines, it will make smaller versions of them, compatible with various fuels that it says will produce net zero carbon-dioxide emissions. Toyota has been taking what it calls a multi-pathway approach in adopting alternatives to conventional engines powered by emissions-generating fossil fuels. It is offering consumers a range of vehicles, including hybrid-electric and hydrogen-powered cars, in addition to electric ones.

The Covid pandemic pushed e-commerce to a level that no one could have expected. But as things have returned to a sense of normalcy, the pendulum also swings back. According to a new report from CBRE, the majority of street retail districts appear to be thriving with foot traffic in prime trade areas expected to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels by Q3 2024 and surpass those levels by 2025. By Q4 2023, foot traffic in 10 prime trade areas tracked by had reached 81% of 2019’s levels, demonstrating a strong recovery. During the pandemic, retailers took advantage of low rents to lease more space. Now, investors are benefiting from rising rents in prime trade areas, with an increase of 9% in the Americas and 5.8% globally since 2021.

If looming labor negotiations at East and Gulf Coast ports break down before the Sept. 30 deadline, shippers may divert some cargo away from the East Coast, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a media briefing. Importers and exporters have told Seroka that they’ve “shifted fractionally back towards the West Coast” due to a myriad of issues, including security concerns regarding the Red Sea, previous drought restrictions at the Panama Canal and East Coast labor negotiations. The port director said there hasn’t been “a wholesale shift,” however, estimating between 2% to 5% of shippers’ cargo has been moving from East and Gulf Coast gateways back to the West Coast.

Artificial intelligence has great potential to propel supply chain efficiencies, sustainability efforts, and regulatory compliance despite only limited use by companies today, according to research by Inspectorio. The survey found that 82% of supply chain professionals indicate technology advancements will have a significant impact on the supply chain over the next five years. Specifically, innovations in AI and machine learning have led to notable advancements in quality assurance, predictive analytics, and operational efficiency, supporting improved decision-making and transparency. Despite this, 77% of respondents indicated that AI is not yet integrated into their supply chains. The current lack of AI-powered tools was cited by 47% of respondents as the primary barrier, highlighting a significant gap in the market for industry-specific AI solutions. Restrictive IT policies were cited as the second largest barrier to adoption (22%).

The rollout of the Biden administration’s CHIPS Act award money has so far focused on providing major awards for major companies, with just four leading-edge semiconductor manufacturers receiving the lion’s share of the $33 billion that has been allocated to this point. Now, with $6 billion remaining, the focus is shifting to sending smaller awards to smaller companies—dozens of them, up and down the supply chain. The goal, government officials and industry experts say, is to leverage the remaining grant money to lure in as much private investment as possible, while boosting supply chain resilience and economic security by funding U.S.-based facilities in areas like materials and packaging.

That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend and the song of the week, Bill Walton’s favorite Dead tune, Fire on the Mountain.

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