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FMI endorses food safety platform

BY Dan Berthiaume

Arlington, Va. – Supermarket industry trade group Food Marketing Institute (FMI) will exclusively endorse and encourage the use of ReposiTrak among its food retail and wholesale members.

Under a new joint agreement, ReposiTrak will be the exclusive solution provider endorsed by FMI in connection with the food and drug safety traceability of goods and related services, including document management. FMI will introduce ReposiTrak to its members, which operate nearly 40,000 stores and 25,000 pharmacies.

Powered by Park City Group’s technology, ReposiTrak enables grocery warehouses, supermarkets, packaged goods manufacturers, food processing facilities, growers, drug stores and drug manufacturers, and logistics partners to track and trace products and components throughout the global food, drug and dietary supplement supply chains. The technology is completely interoperable with other systems without hardware purchase or software installation. ReposiTrak performs receiving, storing, maintaining, sharing, and providing compliance reporting and proactive expiration alerting of audit, inspection and regulatory documentation required between supplier and customer, all from one location.

“Food safety is the number-one priority for our members,” Dr. Hilary Thesmar, FMI VP for food safety programs, said.

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NRF: Retail imports up for December, full year 2013

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. — Import volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to grow 1.8% in December, compared to the same month last year, and the year should end with an increase of 2.3% from 2012. According to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates, U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.43 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in October, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available.

That was down 0.4% from September as the peak shipping cycle wound down but up 6.4% from October 2012. One TEU is one 20-ft. cargo container or its equivalent. November was estimated at 1.33 million TEU, up 3.6% from last year. December is forecast at 1.31 million TEU, up 1.8% from last year. January 2014 is forecast at 1.35 million TEU, up 3.3% from January 2013; February at 1.18 million TEU, down 7.8% from last year; March at 1.32 million TEU, up 15.9%; and April at 1.38 million TEU, up 6.6%.

The total for 2013 is forecast at 16.2 million TEU, up 2.3% from 2012’s 15.8 million TEU. The first six months of 2013 totaled 7.8 million TEU, up 1.2% from the first half of 2012.

“Imports have seen good growth over last year and retailers are well-stocked as the holiday season continues,” Jonathan Gold, VP for supply chain and customs policy NRF said. “Holiday merchandise has made it from the ships to the shelves and the rest is up to the shoppers.”

The cargo numbers come as NRF predicts that this year’s holiday sales will grow 3.9% from last year to a total of $602.1 billion. Cargo import figures do not correlate directly with sales because they count only the number of cargo containers, not the value of the merchandise inside them, but are an indicator of retailers’ sales expectations.

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Report: Amazon deploys robots in DCs

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle – Amazon.com is reportedly using robots from Kiva Systems at three distribution centers. According to the Wall Street Journal, the robots bring merchandise from shelves to warehouse workers and can potentially reduce the cost of filling an order by 20% to 40%, for an annual savings of more than $900 million.

Amazon purchased Kiva for $775 million in March 2012 and according to a recent financial disclosure now has 1,400 Kiva robots in service helping fulfill orders. The retailer declined to comment on the project.

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