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

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.

Kohl’s stores are now accepting Amazon returns

The latest news on Amazon’s retail projects concerns it’s deepening relationship with Kohl’s, via an enhanced customer experience (CX) for returns.  Returns Management is one of the critical factors in consumer choice of merchant as noted in current research.

“Have an Amazon return to send back? Kohl’s stores are now accepting Amazon returns”  The story is reported at – https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/07/08/kohls-stores-now-accepting-amazon-returns-no-box-required/1629966001/

Coming soon – the CEP Group is currently working on “eCommerce Retail Footprint Study – The Rise of Alliances”, covering Amazon, DHL, FedEx, US Postal Service and UPS, scheduled tentatively for late Summer 2019