Remember when the humble shipping label had a single job: indicating the address of the parcel’s recipient? Today, many have additional
roles and responsibilities. For example, some now serve as multipurpose documents, with the address printed on one side and additional
info—like the packing slip, return instructions, warranty, or even
marketing material—printed on the back.
Now, Amazon.com Inc. has won a patent for a shipping label with
a built-in parachute. Designed for drone deliveries, the parachute is
capable of supporting the parcel as it drifts through the sky and helps
ensure a soft landing.
The new system builds on Amazon’s ongoing efforts to cut the
time and cost of last-mile delivery by using unmanned aerial vehicles
instead of trucks. This latest wrinkle—equipping parcels with parachutes—would allow the company to avoid some of the problems
associated with drone deliveries, such as the presence of obstacles
like trees and power lines, and the power requirements of descending
and ascending at each location, Amazon’s patent application states.
The parachute concept follows other recent patents from Amazon,
including blimp-like airborne fulfillment centers and networks of
underground tunnels that avoid congested surface roads.
Amazon made its first drone delivery in Britain last December,
when it dropped off an Amazon Fire streaming device and bag of
popcorn to a residence in the countryside. In March, it made its first
public U.S. drone delivery, when it dropped off a bottle of sunscreen
at an Amazon-hosted conference in Palm Springs, Calif.
Amazon patents shipping label with
If you’ve ever wanted to enter one of those “guess how many” contests, Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. is providing the opportunity.
The Thomasville, N.C.-based less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier will
award a pair of tickets to one game of each of the next three World
Series to the contestant who comes closest to guessing the number of
baseballs it takes to fill its custom promotional baseball trailer. The
trailer, which was designed and built by Lafayette, Ind.-based trailer
manufacturer Wabash National Corp., features a see-through design
that gives people a clear look at the unusual cargo.
Old Dominion introduced the trailer in Miami during All-Star
Week in July. From there, it embarked on a cross-country tour to visit
the seven teams that Old Dominion sponsors: the New York Mets,
Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers,
Los Angeles Angels, and Kansas City Royals.
Fans can enter the sweepstakes online at odfl.com/tickets. The deadline for entries is Aug. 31.
For the record, David G. Ross, who covers Old Dominion for
the investment firm Stifel, guessed that the trailer holds 125,000
We may think of them as safety devices,
but the windshields on our cars and
trucks play a big role in making the
vehicles more aerodynamic, helping to
reduce both fuel costs and carbon emissions. But all the shields or fairings in the
world couldn’t help a hulking containership slip cleanly through the wind and
waves … could it?
The Japanese shipping company Mitsui
O.S.K. Lines now says it has proved otherwise, demonstrating that windshields
work for slow-steaming cargo vessels
too. Mitsui recently announced that an
in-service test of a wind resistance-re-ducing windshield for ships showed
the device reduced emissions of carbon
dioxide (CO2) by an average of 2 percent, thanks to lower fuel consumption.
To test the concept, Mitsui installed
the enormous windshield on the bow
section of the 990-foot-long MOL Marvel
and compared the vessel’s performance
with that of an identical ship moving at
the same speed ( 17 knots, or 20 mph)
without the device. Engineers collected
data during the vessels’ service on various routes between Asia and the East
Coast of North America, then massaged
the data to eliminate the effects of ocean
waves and to isolate the change in performance that was due solely to reduced
Based on the trial’s success, the company said it plans to continue efforts to
confirm the windshield’s seaworthiness,
analyze the sailing data, and apply more
A windshield for a
Take me out to the … trailer!