Welcome to our latest eCommerce and logistics news roundup!

This week, we’re seeing how UPS is taking logistics skyward, FedEx’s new 2020 shipping rates and how the U.S.-China trade war and Brexit are taking a bite out of global trade. Let’s see what’s been going on!

FAA Approves UPS’ Drone Delivery Plan

The FAA has approved a certificate of operation for UPS to operate limited drone delivery services in the United States.

Previously, the courier had made roughly 1,100 deliveries of medical samples in Raleigh, North Carolina as part of a pilot program. UPS now plans to expand the program to over 20 hospitals during the next two years.

Drone delivery on a consistent, nationwide basis is still a ways off for UPS and other couriers, however, as the Federal government is still studying how to regulate it and ensure safety.

Easyship’s Take: Although full-scale drone delivery is still much more of a vision than a near-term reality, the development is still positive news for online merchants. Drone delivery can help make same-day delivery much more accessible for eCommerce companies in the future and is something worth exploring as technology and government regulation steadily progress to accommodate it.

FedEx Shipping Rates to Rise in 2020

FedEx has announced that its FedEx Ground, FedEx Express and FedEx Freight services will see rate and surcharge increases starting on January 6, 2020.

FedEx Express, FedEx Home Delivery and FedEx Ground will all see 4.9 percent rate hikes on average, while FedEx Freight shipping rates will increase 5.9 percent. New surcharges for hard-to-handle FedEx Ground and FedEx Express parcels will also become effective on January 20, 2020.

However, the courier also announced that it won’t implement any residential surcharges for the 2019 holiday shipping season.

Easyship’s Take: Online merchants should definitely keep these shipping rate increases in mind as 2020 approaches and budget accordingly. It may also be prudent to compare couriers and seek out more affordable shipping solutions if needed.

Global Trade Growth Slows Sharply

Global trade has slowed sharply as of late, according to reports.

World merchandise trade is expected to grow just 1.2 percent in 2019, the weakest since the depths of the Great Depression in 2009, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Earlier in the year, the WTO was forecasting trade growth as high as 2.6 percent.

The WTO has warned that the ongoing trade war and escalating tariffs between the United States and China as well as uncertainty about Brexit will continue to harm cross-border trade in the future.

Easyship’s Take: This is unfortunate, though not entirely unexpected, news for online merchants. eCommerce entrepreneurs should carry on with cross-border trade, but also be cognizant of developments like the U.S.-China trade war and Brexit to be better prepared for an uncertain future.