National / International News
Fitbit’s initial public offering is scheduled for Thursday. Projected share prices value the fitness tracker company at roughly $4 billion.
But the newest entrant to the wearable technology market, the Apple Watch, has investors wondering about the future growth potential for competitors.
Dan Ledger, a principal at Endeavour Partners, says Fitbit isn’t trying to be the everything computer for your wrist.
“What they really are is sort of small cheerleaders that you wear on your wrist,” Ledger says. “And there are certain people in the population for whom these products are incredibly great medicine.”
With so many people around the world trying to take control of their fitness, Ledger thinks the market for fitness trackers will have a lasting appeal.
And Fitbit is dominating the market. Analysts say it has 85 percent of the entire market for fitness trackers. Ledger says that’s because of its retail strategy, placing its devices in all sorts of stores: “big box, pharmacies, sporting goods, wellness.”
“They have a far greater retail presence than any other consumer wearable device on the market today,” Ledger says.
Matthew Wong is an analyst at CB Insights, and he says Fitbit’s IPO and high valuation represent a win for the company’s early venture investors. But once it’s publicly traded, other investors will want to know its plans for growing the still-small activity tracker market.
FedEx reports fourth quarter results Wednesday morning. It’s enjoyed a stellar year, and the company hopes to keep the streak going.
While international shipping has not been great for FedEx, Richard Armstrong, chairman of supply chain consultants Armstrong & Associates, says FedEx has a plan.
“UPS and FedEx frankly have a duopoly in the US market,” he says. “They’re probably going to build the same kind of thing in the European market.”
Key, Armstrong says, will be FedEx's acquisition of TNT, a Dutch parcel delivery company. FedEx's share of the European market is small, but if it’s approved by European regulators, the $4.8 billion deal could change that.
Another game changer came in January, when FedEx bought GENCO, a company that’s strong in warehousing and shipping returns. Arnold Maltz, associate professor of supply chain management at Arizona State University, says before, FedEx only handled the transportation part of that process.
“A returns processing capability in-house, would give them a much better, much more complete product offering,” he says.
Maltz says FedEx taking in GENCO, a successful, high-margin operation, should also boost its bottom line.
More than 90 percent of global trade moves by ship. The Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest port on the East Coast (third largest after the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach) and supports about 175,000 jobs in both states.
Truck driver Rafael Alaverez.Adam Allington/Marketplace
Rafael Alvarez drives a truck for National Container Freight in New Jersey. Like most guys who get into trucking, he likes to drive, which as it turns out, is a shrinking part of the job these days.
“Oh man, this is a mess," Alvarez says. "This is pretty much like every day, living with the same thing. It's getting worse.”
“On a typical day, if you get lucky, you're talking about like one to one and a half hours just to get in," he says. "But over there, on the inside, let’s say it’s another one and a half to two hours. Pretty much you spend just like the whole day trying to make one move.”
Alvarez was sitting in a line of trucks over a mile long waiting to pick up containers at the Port of Newark.
Spending four to five hours just to pick up one load is not good. It translates into fewer deliveries and increased costs.
“You can't back a train into a loading dock, so we're the guy that delivers it the last mile,” says Tom Heimgartner, CEO of Best Transportation, which operates more than 100 trucks out of Newark. “A lot of our customers are doing basically just-in-time kind of thing, they don't have large inventories. And when loads are late it disrupts their whole supply chain.”
Heimgartner blames the backup on more containers coming through the port, and too few longshoremen to do the work.
New Maseratis sit at the Port of Newark.Adam Allington/Marketplace
Others says the backup isn’t a manpower issue. “They can't change the geography of the region, they can't change the number of roads that go into and out of the port," says Jim McNamara, spokesman for the International Longshoremen’s Association. And unlike say, airports, freeways, or even your local bank, the Port of New York and New Jersey doesn’t operate on nights and weekends, at least not for loading trucks. McNamara also points out that unlike ports on the West Coast, New Jersey doesn’t have the space available to build out better port infrastructure. “You have a port in New York and New Jersey that is nestled between one of the largest airports in the country, Newark Liberty Airport, and also right alongside the New Jersey Turnpike,” he says.
A more modern system for tracking and locating containers could help move trucks in and out faster, McNamara says. And, according to the New York Shipping Association, more than 650 new longshoremen have been hired since February.
The size of Donald Trump's net worth, according to the man himself in a speech announcing his 2016 presidential run Tuesday. As New York Magazine notes, it's the latest in a long history of figures offered by Trump, Forbes and other news organizations trying to figure out how much exactly "the Donald" is worth.$4 billion
That's the expected value of fitness tracker Fitbit for its IPO on Thursday. But with the market getting crowded with high-end competitors (namely: Apple Watch), some investors worry how other pieces of wearable technology will perform over time. The key to Fitbit's survival may be that it's not trying to be a full-fledged computer on your wrist. It just wants to be your cheerleader.$22.7 billion
Speaking of the super rich: that's the net worth of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal as calculated by Forbes, who sued the magazine for allegedly underreporting his wealth. Turns out tabulating fortunes is a tricky business, and one that's extra difficult when salary is almost a "rounding error."175,000
That's how many jobs are supported by the Port of New York and New Jersey, the largest port on the East Coast. Rafael Alvarez, who drives a truck for the National Container Freight in New Jersey, has one of those jobs. He got into trucking because he enjoys driving, but now he spends hours a day waiting to pick up containers from the port. The notorious congestion for truckers has sparked debates over what how to make the port more efficient.17 million
That's how many notebooks Moleskine sold last year, according to the New Yorker. Turns out the premium journals have a lot of fans in Silicon Valley, where tech entrepreneurs rely on old fashioned pen-and-paper note-taking, even as they're working on note-taking apps themselves.