Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Announces Proposal Covering Drone Operations

WASHINGTON — January 15 2019

The U.S. Department of Transportation is prepared to issue a new proposed rule that will allow more freedom for people operating drones, according to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Secretary Chao delivered her remarks at the January 14th Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting. She announced that the forthcoming proposed rule would allow drone operators to fly their machines at night, and over the heads of people without special waivers with certain conditions. Conditions include the operator a.) Has received appropriate training, b.) Has completed approved testing, and c.)  Has equipped the drone with anti-collision lighting.

The proposed rules will be published soon in the Federal Register for public comment.

Source: Transport Topics

Austria to end De Minimis as of 1 January 2020

The Austrian Government has decided that online orders from third countries will be fully taxable, with no de minimis.

Currently, the import tax exemption limit is €22, which is used in particular by Asian online retailers. The new regulation should come into force from 2020, anticipating the entry into force as part of the EU VAT Ecommerce Reform.

By 1 January 2021, a new simplified customs and VAT procedure will be introduced for all postal items with a value of less than €150 (i.e. “Low Value Consignment [LVC]”).

This procedure will be applied to all economic operators (designated/national postal operators, as well as non-designated operators). To send commercial items cross borders, the use of electronic advanced data will be mandatory when sending the items.

According to figures made public by the Austrian retail association (Handelsverband), every year 560 million cross-border parcels from China are sent via dominant Chinese mail order companies to the European Union. 97% of these shipments are fully customs and VAT free in the EU and a large part of the remaining 3% enters the EU without customs fees.

source: Ecommerce Europe

Navy Takes First Big Step to Cloud, Pushing Logistics to Amazon’s Service – Echoes USPS EMS Contract with USAF

August 30, 2019

https://breakingdefense.com/2019/08/navy-takes-first-big-step-to-cloud-pushing-logistics-to-amazons-service/

The recent news item on the US Navy’s award to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its supply chain to meet the Navy’s requirements to unify the movement and documentation of some $70 billion worth of parts and goods into one accessible space, where the information can be shared, analyzed and protected in a more uniform fashion is significant. The Navy’s acquisition, logistics, and back office data will be moved to the cloud over the next two years.


While the contract is for IT cloud services, it is also significant in that it focuses on Supply Chain for parts and goods for Navy flight operations. So a good question is, will this lead to a ‘two for one’ win for Amazon; i.e., will Amazon’s ever growing logistics operations have an in on the transportation and delivery piece of the parts and goods business, offering full integration for both the shipments, and the information about the shipments? Amazon’s HQ2 will be the Pentagon’s next door neighbor starting in 2020 (one Metro stop away), and closer than Boeing’s campus to DoD.

And who else might be in the wings for the logistics piece of the business? In the late 1970’s the US Postal Service won a multi-million dollar, multi-year contract with the USAF to handle the exact same type of shipments for restock and repair parts and supplies for aircraft. Shipments, outbound and inbound were carried via the eponymous US Postal Service “Express Mail Customized Designed Service”, every routing leg was individually designed and programed by time of day for PUDO on a 24/7/365 day schedule for the Air Force, with full en-route tracking.

Today USPS ® Priority Mail Express ® service is a shadow of its former glory. However, another contender may very well be FedEx® Aerospace Solutions, possibly one of the reasons FedEx Express® cancelled its Amazon contract.

USPS Testing Cold Chain Packaging

An interesting story came across our USPS newsfeed this morning about an entrepreneurial SME that started up with USPS assistance. Of particular note, the Postal Service is testing a new package services feature – “Cold Chain Packaging Solution”. The company’s story was originally reported by CBS earlier this year – https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national-international/Sweet-Side-Hustle-Raises-Dough-for-Furloughed-Sisters-504134721.html

For more information on USPS Cold Chain Packaging Solution feel free to contact us directly – theCEPGroup@proton.mail.