NOTED: The Supply Chain in Brief-December 2020

Sealed Deals

  • COVAXX, which developed a synthetic peptide-based vaccine to fight COVID-19, partnered with Maersk for transportation and supply chain services to deliver the vaccine around the world once it receives regulatory approval.
  • BMW Manufacturing selected Penske Logistics as the lead logistics provider at its South Carolina plant. Penske will help optimize inbound and outbound transportation of parts to and from the factory, and manage truckload and less-than-truckload carriers. Penske’s predictive analytics and robotic process automation will provide increased transparency.
  • Finland-based Metsä Group signed a contract with the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Port Administration to expand operations at the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore. The renewable products company will consolidate all its Mid-Atlantic volumes through the port.
  • Sesen Bio, a late-stage clinical company developing targeted fusion protein therapeutics for patients with cancer, selected Cardinal Health as its exclusive third-party logistics provider. Cardinal will provide specialty pharmaceutical distribution services for Sesen Bio in the United States.
  • Tesco Lotus, a retailer in Thailand, selected DHL Supply Chain Thailand to provide warehouse logistics and transportation of fresh and frozen food products at its distribution center in Surat Thani. The 51,500-square-meter facility houses its inventory of groceries for consumers in Southern Thailand.

Green Seeds

  • Timberland pledged to achieve a net-positive impact on the environment within one decade by committing to regenerative agriculture and the circular economy. The retailer will source 100% of its natural materials, such as leather and cotton, from regenerative sources and design all products for complete circularity.
  • Ford unveiled the E-Transit, an all-electric version of its Transit delivery van. The vehicle, which has connected technology to help commercial fleet owners better manage cargo operations, is the second major electric vehicle to be released as part of Ford’s $11.5-billion electrification efforts.
  • The Absolut Company plans to produce its vodka fossil fuel-free by 2025 and be carbon neutral by 2030 with no offsets needed. The company is also collaborating on green packaging initiatives with Paboco, a paper bottle company, and working with its supply chain partners to move toward circularity.

Shovel Ready

  • Furniture manufacturer Ashley Furniture Industries plans to build a 1-million-square-foot warehouse in Etna, Ohio, investing $70 million and creating 300 new jobs. The facility will serve as a regional distribution hub, expanding the company’s network of eight distribution centers servicing the United States. The warehouse will handle global e-commerce fulfillment and store shipments.


  • Dayton Freight Lines, a provider of regional less-than-truckload transportation services, received the Ryder Carrier Quality Award. This award is presented to top-performing carriers that are reliable, efficient, and safe when moving freight for Ryder customers.
  • Logistics services provider Schneider was chosen among the 2020 Top Companies for Women to Work for in Transportation by the Women in Trucking Association. The award recognizes companies focused on employing and advancing women in the trucking industry.

Up the Chain

  • Phil Kelaart joins Ergotron as executive vice president of global supply chain operations. He will manage the home office equipment retailer’s supply chain, manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, and facilities, as well as environmental health and safety. Kelaart brings nearly 30 years of experience at Emerson, where he held roles of increasing responsibility in operations, supply chain, engineering, and general management.


  • Hillebrand, a forwarding, transport, and logistics provider for the alcoholic beverage industry and products that require special care, acquired Braid, a bulk liquids logistics provider.
  • Logistics software-as-a-service solutions provider Descartes Systems Group acquired Canada-based ShipTrack, a provider of e-commerce final-mile shipment tracking solutions.
  • Healthcare performance improvement company Vizient signed an agreement to acquire healthcare supply chain solutions provider Intalere from Intermountain Healthcare.
  • Pilot Freight Services, a global transportation and logistics services provider, acquired its Metro New York franchise, which focuses on delivering heavy and bulky freight.
  • Americold Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust focused on temperature-controlled warehouses, acquired South Plainfield, New Jersey-based Hall’s Warehouse Corporation.

Good Works

  • Transportation provider Leonard’s Express, based in New York, collaborated with Arizona-based craft kombucha maker Wild Tonic and The Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester to help bring awareness to breast cancer and early detection efforts.
  • AIT Worldwide Logistics donated more than $45,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. More than two dozen fundraising teams took part in a virtual walk and raised $22,621 for the hospital, and AIT matched the donation.
  • BYD donated a clean-energy electric forklift and two electric pallet jacks to the AV Dream Center, a food bank serving Northern Los Angeles County. No special equipment is required for BYD forklifts, making them uniquely suited for operation at the Dream Center, where pallets of canned goods can weigh up to 3,000 pounds.