Triple Moving Average Crossover
|Bid||96.81 x 1100|
|Ask||97.20 x 1300|
|Day's Range||95.70 - 97.57|
|52 Week Range||82.00 - 125.31|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||0.83|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||19.58|
|Earnings Date||Jul 22, 2020 - Jul 27, 2020|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||4.04 (4.15%)|
|Ex-Dividend Date||May 22, 2020|
|1y Target Est||103.22|
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Air fleet will grow to about 200 planes -- up from 42 now -- in the next seven or eight years, creating an air cargo service that could rival United Parcel Service Inc., according to a study.“At a time when many other airlines are downsizing due to the pandemic, Amazon’s push for faster and cheaper at-home delivery is moving ahead on an ambitious timetable,” said the report issued Friday by DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute of Metropolitan Development. “Amazon Air’s robust expansion makes it one of the biggest stories in the air cargo industry in years.”Amazon unveiled the air cargo service in 2016, prompting speculation that it would ultimately create an overnight delivery network to rival delivery partners UPS and FedEx Corp.Prime Air operates out of smaller regional airports close to its warehouses around the country, helping Amazon quickly move inventory to accommodate one- and two-day delivery. For that reason, some analysts have dismissed Amazon as a potential competitor to UPS and FedEx since it can only offer limited service to a small number of destinations and seems designed to handle Amazon packages.Key to its ability to take on the entrenched players, the report says, is Amazon’s new $1.5 billion facility near Cincinnati that will accommodate up to 100 planes and as many as 200 flights each day. Amazon’s lack of a central hub has kept it from competing in the overnight delivery services offered by UPS and FedEx, which have more planes flying to more destinations.“The massive investment being made in a large hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, however, could change everything,” the report says. “This hub appears to be the linchpin to Amazon’s efforts to develop a comprehensive array of domestic delivery services.”A separate report released Monday noted Amazon’s lack of a central hub in concluding it was not a competitive threat to FedEx, which has a hub in Memphis, or UPS, which has one in Louisville. FedEx’s network can offer 9,000 daily flight connections, UPS’ 5,500 and Amazon Air just 363, according to the report from Bernstein.“The viability of a commercial overnight offering from Amazon remains very limited,” Bernstein analyst David Vernon wrote. “Offering a low cost on shipping to a small number of markets every so often will never be a serious competitive threat.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Investors should watch what happens, because changes for the U.S. Postal Service have big implications for FedEx and UPS, and for companies involved in e-commerce.
UPS (UPS), a global leader in logistics, in partnership with McLane Global, a leading food and logistics company, today announced the delivery of the five millionth meal through the Emergency Meals-to-You program, designed to deliver shelf-stable, nutritious meals to students in rural areas of the country. The program is a partnership between McLane Global, UPS, USDA, the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, and PepsiCo to deliver meals to students in rural areas who would otherwise go hungry due to the impact of the novel coronavirus. The logistics solution was developed with support from The UPS Foundation, which leads UPS’s global citizenship programs.
Due to flight restrictions on the pharmaceutical company’s supply chain because of the Coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Reddy’s teamed up with UPS Healthcare to get 30 tons of temperature-controlled medical cargo from India to the U.S. ATLANTA, May 18, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- UPS (UPS) today announced a collaboration with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories to get 30 tons of pharmaceuticals from India to the United States via Europe. Given the supply chain challenges and restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic, UPS Healthcare and Dr. Reddy’s created an emergency supply chain plan to replenish pharmaceutical stocks in U.S. markets.
The coronavirus crisis is accelerating a shift in the world of autonomous cars toward delivering packages instead of people, as big players open up a lead over startups in the race for funding. "The reality right now is that goods delivery is a bigger market than moving people," John Krafcik, chief executive officer of self-driving technology company Waymo, told Reuters in early May. Waymo, a unit of Google’s parent Alphabet, started out focusing on autonomous taxis.
ATLANTA, May 14, 2020 -- The UPS (NYSE: UPS) Board of Directors today declared a regular quarterly dividend of $1.01 per share on all outstanding Class A and Class B shares..
One of the country's largest small drone manufacturers is ready to begin durability and reliability testing of one of its cargo delivery units with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this year.Mountain View, California-based Matternet announced Tuesday that the testing with the agency brings the company's M2 drone closer to receiving special type certification for unmanned aircraft systems.Achieving this certification from the FAA will establish that Matternet's M2 drone is airworthy and eligible for use by commercial air carriers. While numerous cargo delivery drones are undergoing development and testing, none has received this level of certification.Since March 2019, FAA-approved drone airline UPS Flight Forward has used Matternet's M2 drones to carry out various urban cargo delivery tests throughout the country.In partnership with WakeMed Health, UPS Flight Forward used M2 drones to complete more than 1,850 deliveries of lab samples within its Raleigh, North Carolina, medical campus in 2019. The FAA requires UPS drone operators to maintain a clear line of sight of the machines during flight.This month UPS Flight Forward will use M2 drones to make short-distance deliveries of prescription drugs from a CVS Health Corp. pharmacy to The Villages in Florida, the largest U.S. retirement community and home to more than 135,000 residents.The potential for "touchless" drone deliveries of medical supplies, lab samples and pharmaceuticals has taken on increased significance with efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 within communities."The Matternet M2 has been purpose-built for its mission of urban medical delivery, combining solid engineering, years of flight experience, and the safety and security required for medical logistics," said the company's CEO, Andreas Raptopoulos, in a statement.Receiving this type of certification from the FAA will allow UPS to scale operations much more quickly, Matternet said.However, industry experts say the agency's durability and reliability testing to certify airworthiness is rigorous."This will probably be measured in years rather than months," said Michael Blades, vice president of aerospace, defense and security at investment strategies firm Frost & Sullivan. "The strict safety requirements will require a lot of testing over a relatively long period of time."Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) began developing drones in 2013 for consumer deliveries. Since then, other express delivery companies, such as United Parcel Service, Inc (NYSE: UPS) and FedEx Corporation (NYSE: FDX), have initiated their own plans for the technology.Blades told American Shipper during an interview in mid-April that FAA regulations for drone flight ceilings, times of operation and visual contact by operators during flight continue to hold back the technology's commercial cargo potential in the U.S.He estimated in a recent Frost & Sullivan report that between 2019 and 2023, about 100,000 drones will be in use for cargo delivery applications, and they will be operated by firms providing niche services.Photo credit: MatternetSee more from Benzinga * Avianca Receives Preliminary OK For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy * Today's Pickup: How A Canadian Carrier Recession-Proofed Its Business * Double-Digit Percentage Declines Persist For US Rail Volumes(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
UPS (UPS) today announced the expansion of its express air network to Gary/Chicago International Airport. Gary will be served by a UPS Airlines Airbus A300. With a maximum payload of more than 120,000 lbs., the wide body cargo jet can carry more than 14,000 UPS Next Day Air® packages.
Online shoppers are buying from more sellers and in more product categories amid shelter in place orders and social distancing practices, according to a survey by Ware2Go, a UPS (NYSE:UPS) company that helps merchants simplify fast delivery to customers. More than half (55%) say they’re purchasing from online retailers they’ve never shopped with before and buying a broader range of products: 61% buying groceries, 45% purchasing clothing, and 34% buying vitamins and supplements online.
The U.S. Postal Service lost $4.5 billion in the quarter ended March, and more pain is coming. Logistics investors should be aware of results the USPS reports because it is a huge player in the shipping industry.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Amid the worst jobs report in the history of jobs reports, a few industries actually added jobs from mid-March to mid-April.“General merchandise stores including warehouse clubs and supercenters” is the North American Industry Classification System category for Walmarts, Targets, Dollar Trees, Sam’s Clubs, Costcos and such. It seems likely that supermarkets also saw job gains, but for them and most other industry subcategories employment is reported with a one month lag, so we won’t know until the next jobs report. Food and beverage stores, the supersector that includes supermarkets, saw a 42,000-job seasonally adjusted decline in employment in April.Among the other job-gaining sectors, “other information services” may require some explanation. About 80% of its jobs are at “Internet publishing and broadcasting and web search portals,” which covers the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter. The remainder are at other digital information providers such as, well, the publisher of Bloomberg Opinion. “Couriers and messengers” is FedEx, United Parcel Service and their ilk.One thing that stands out here is that the job gains are really, really tiny compared with the 20.5 million jobs lost. We may well see a more significant shift of employment into pandemic-resistant or pandemic-fighting sectors in the coming months, but that takes a while. And given that the shifts in demand that have had everybody lining up at Costco for toilet paper are not (one hopes) permanent, such companies are unlikely to go overboard with hiring.Another thing that stands out is that a lot of sectors that would seem to be quite essential in a pandemic nonetheless shed jobs. I’ve listed a selection here, ranked by percentage job losses rather than the absolute numbers because that seemed more informative.Other health-care sectors were even harder hit as almost all non-coronavirus-related care was put on hold for the month, with employment down 15.2% at ambulatory health-care services and 52.5% at dentists’ offices. Then again, a lot of those jobs ought to return quickly as well, although things are definitely going to be tough for dentists and dental hygienists, whose work probably entails more intense coronavirus risk than any other.The bigger message here may just be that a U.S. economy that is pared down to “essentials” isn’t much of an economy. Here’s hoping we all start doing a lot more nonessential (but also non-virus-spreading) things soon.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Justin Fox is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He was the editorial director of Harvard Business Review and wrote for Time, Fortune and American Banker. He is the author of “The Myth of the Rational Market.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
In the center of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the question on income investors' minds is whether any stock can afford to pay its dividend. United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) stock can handle that load.Source: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com For the March quarter, UPS had net income of $935 million, $1.11 per share diluted, on revenue of $18 billion. That was higher than its quarterly dividend payout of $1.01 per share. The company also announced free cash flow of $1.6 billion, also enough to clear the dividend's cost.Analysts whined about the revenue mix, which was higher for residential than commercial deliveries, and terrible for international. But UPS opened for trading May 8 at about $93, and that dividend yield is about 4.3%.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips Income Investors Take NoteAt a time when retired investors are reaching for yield in high-risk corporate bonds, the UPS dividend should be attractive. While common stock investors are always last in line for corporate obligations, behind bonds and all other bills, UPS proved this winter it can deliver results in all economic seasons.This has not made it a stock for all investors. Those seeking capital gains will see its down 20% so far in 2020. Those seeking growth will see that March revenue was just 5% ahead of last year. Analysts are updating their models to reflect UPS' slow, steady and profitable growth. * 7 A-Rated REITs to Buy NowUPS isn't coming away from the pandemic unscathed. Home deliveries are less profitable than bulk deliveries to business. First-quarter profit was down from a year earlier, even while revenue grew.UPS is also finding new ways to compete with Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN). Its network of UPS Stores means it has a physical presence that can even take Amazon returns. This will expand through an agreement to take packages from The Michaels Companies (NASDAQ:MIK) chain of crafts stores, when retailing reopens.While longtime rival FedEx (NYSE:FDX) has gotten itself into trouble by picking fights with Amazon, UPS learned to adapt. I have speculated it's because FedEx is still led by founder Fred Smith, while UPS has recharged its management with outsiders from Home Depot (NYSE:HD), PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) and Walmart (NYSE:WMT). For them, Amazon is less an existential threat than a part of the business environment. A Trump Bump?UPS may also benefit from Trump's insistence that the U.S. Postal Service stop "subsidizing" Amazon and raise rates. Such a move would bring UPS more incremental business, cash with which to expand its own delivery network.During the current quarter, UPS drivers are hitting the road more, but making less for the company. That should change as stores and factories re-open over the next few months. UPS has also proven it can make money in a tough environment so that, if the lockdowns return, it is ready.Competition with Amazon also steeled UPS in the use of new technology. It is now delivering prescriptions to some senior centers using drones, in conjunction with CVS Health (NYSE:CVS). The pandemic is giving UPS the cash flow to move ahead in areas that had previously been theoretical. The Bottom Line for UPS StockUPS stock is not for everyone.In today's market it's the equivalent of an old-line industrial. It's a slow growth company with a steady stream of income.That means if you're looking for capital gains, look elsewhere. UPS' share price should recover as the pandemic retreats, but it will never be a high-flyer. It will continue to ride low to the ground.But at a time when high-flyers are out of fashion, with conservative investors doing triage on their portfolios against the virus' siege, UPS stands out at its current price. It will still pay you to own it, and that's saying something.Dana Blankenhorn has been a financial and technology journalist since 1978. His latest book is Technology's Big Bang: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow with Moore's Law, essays on technology available at the Amazon Kindle store. Write him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @danablankenhorn. As of this writing he owned shares in CVS and AMZN. More From InvestorPlace * America's 1 Stock Picker Reveals Next 1,000% Winner * 25 Stocks You Should Sell Immediately * 1 Under-the-Radar 5G Stock to Buy Now * The 1 Stock All Retirees Must Own The post UPS Stock Can Handle the Load appeared first on InvestorPlace.
(Bloomberg) -- The only person who didn’t speak at a White House briefing on a massive federal effort to aid mom-and-pop firms crushed by the coronavirus pandemic was the woman actually running the initiative, Jovita Carranza.President Donald Trump, his daughter Ivanka and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin all lauded the program despite its rocky start at the beginning of April. Carranza, who was charged with processing hundreds of billions of dollars in loans only months into her new job as the head of the Small Business Administration, smiled approvingly, but was never asked to speak.Carranza’s sideline role at the April 28 event was emblematic of the challenges facing her agency, which has long been treated as a backwater in Washington. Despite its checkered track record in disaster response, the SBA is now responsible for a $669 billion program to rescue the 30 million small firms that make up nearly half the U.S. economy.The SBA has approved more than half a trillion dollars in loans in a matter of weeks and has about $125 billion left before a second round of funding runs out. Advocates fear that the money will be exhausted again before all small firms that need it get help. At the same time, Trump is pushing to reopen the economy with polls showing Americans are wary about returning to business as usual.For years, Congress hasn’t set up the SBA to adequately respond to crises. And lawmakers have never before asked it to handle an effort as massive as the Paycheck Protection Program, meant to help devastated small businesses survive the pandemic.Working with the Treasury, Congress decided that to get money out fast, it had to put the SBA in charge because the agency already had an established loan program with a network of pre-approved banks. That left Carranza, who was a deputy administrator under President George W. Bush, to make the best of a situation everyone worried would be fraught with problems.‘Massive, Massive Program’“They gave the SBA, an agency that has repeatedly botched previous disaster responses, the responsibility to handle this massive, massive program,” said Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center who has studied the agency’s history.An agency spokesman called the SBA’s performance an “historic achievement.” A Treasury spokeswoman agreed that the SBA is performing well under Carranza and said that she works closely with Mnuchin. White House spokespeople didn’t respond to a question about why she wasn’t invited to address the April 28 White House event.Carranza declined to be interviewed for this article.“She’s been faced with about the most challenging circumstance a head of the SBA has ever had to operate under,” said Representative Steve Chabot of Ohio, the top Republican on the House Small Business Committee. “I mean, the very survival of the American economy rests on your shoulders.”The SBA, which was elevated to a cabinet-level agency by President Barack Obama, supports the nation’s small businesses through loan programs and training for entrepreneurs. In times of crisis, including after Hurricanes Katrina, Irma and Harvey, the agency bolstered its funding programs to supply mom and pop firms and homeowners with emergency capital.The rocky launch of the PPP program featured some of the same problems the SBA hadn’t fixed after past disasters, in addition to new ones. Technology meltdowns and the way the program was structured led to delays in getting the money to those who needed it the most.In the first round of funding, many small companies were left stranded while hundreds of publicly traded companies got more than $1 billion. Major banks favored large corporate clients, whose bigger loan amounts gave lenders fatter fees. Congress was forced to replenish the fund just two weeks after it began.The SBA has been especially handicapped under Trump, according to John Arensmeyer, who heads the Small Business Majority, an advocacy group that has a network of more than 58,000 small business owners, most of whom have less than 100 employees.When Carranza took up her post in January, the agency had had a leadership vacuum and was being run by its general counsel. Its former head, Linda McMahon, a Trump donor and co-founder of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., left in April 2019 to chair Trump’s 2020 Super-PAC America First Action. Carranza was picked for the post last July after serving as U.S. treasurer since June 2017. In that role, she advised Mnuchin and oversaw the printing of money. Her signature appeared on bills.The White House still hasn’t nominated a new No. 2 -- the deputy administrator who normally handles the day-to-day affairs -- after the last one left in 2018. In February, Trump proposed cutting the agency’s 2021 budget by 25%.The Government Accountability Office, Congress’s watchdog agency, has repeatedly warned that the SBA’s technology needs to be revamped. Its budget is about $1 billion and its staff of more than 6,000, compared with the Commerce Department, which has 52,000 employees and a budget of $15.2 billion. Although Congress eventually added $2.8 billion for SBA salaries and other expenses in its pandemic relief measures, some said it was too little, too late, given the magnitude of the task.“The SBA is going to need to be better-funded and more of a priority agency simply because of the disaster that’s befallen small businesses across the country,” said Arensmeyer. “I would hope that the administration and Congress recognize that.”Despite the difficulties, Carranza has earned the respect of key lawmakers and small-business groups, who said she’s been accessible, willing to listen and a problem-solver.She is no stranger to challenges. A native of Chicago and the daughter of first-generation Mexican-Americans, she worked two jobs and raised a child as a single mother, according to her testimony during her December Senate confirmation hearing.She spent 30 years at United Parcel Service Inc., where she started as a part-time, hourly employee on the warehouse docks, loading packages onto trucks. She climbed the ladder to eventually lead the company’s operations in Latin America and the Caribbean, managing thousands of employees. She retired as the highest-ranking Latina in the company’s history.Carranza ran the SBA’s day-to-day operations under Bush from 2006 to 2009. As deputy administrator, she oversaw 80 national field offices and a portfolio of loans worth tens of billions of dollars. She developed the SBA’s disaster recovery plan after the agency faced a torrent of criticism over how slowly it administered loans after Hurricane Katrina.Her former SBA colleagues describe her as a hands-on manager who can speak authoritatively on minute details. Eric Thorson, who was the SBA’s inspector general at the time, said agency heads often had antagonistic relationships with their inspectors general. That wasn’t the case with Carranza, who was eager to address issues his office highlighted, he said.Carranza began her second stint at SBA with ambitious goals to reform the agency, including doing more to support women and minority-owned businesses and making the agency’s emergency loan systems more efficient.Then catastrophe struck. By mid-March, the pandemic had prompted businesses to close their doors as stay-at-home orders stretched across the country. Hotels, airlines, media, restaurants and manufacturers shed jobs by the millions as revenue dried up.Carranza and Mnuchin met with lawmakers including Senators Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, and Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, to hammer out a small business aid package as part of the administration’s multi-trillion-dollar relief initiative. Democrats on the small business panel wanted to set up a grant program, which Republicans opposed because they thought it would take too long and instead pushed for a loan program, according to a person familiar with the matter.Lawmakers worried that the SBA wouldn’t be able to handle the job. Mnuchin dispatched Deputy Secretary Justin Muzinich, his No. 2 at the Treasury, to the SBA to smooth out the program’s rollout, according to a person familiar with the matter.Representative Nydia Velazquez, a New York Democrat and chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, said she called Carranza after the program was approved and told her: “You got to be prepared.” Carranza replied that she had her team working overtime to be ready because she knew how important it was to the economy, Velazquez said.‘She Is Committed’“She has been there, what, three months?” said Velazquez. “I know she is committed. I know they are working hard.”The SBA has moved much more quickly amid the coronavirus pandemic than in past crises, despite a flood of applications and technology glitches. It made changes to ensure the money gets to those who need it the most, including creating a window when only the smallest lenders could apply. Lawmakers, the White House and even Carranza herself have boasted about how rapidly the agency was able to distribute the loans.The SBA’s pandemic response could face more attacks as it distributes an additional $320 billion. It missed an April 26 deadline for providing guidance on how loans will be forgiven -- meaning that small business owners who struggled to get funding still don’t know how much they may have to repay.Cardin said the pandemic has underscored the need to fix the country’s response to disasters. “There’s two parts to this,” Cardin said. “One is to triage this current situation to make sure underserved communities get loans” and the other is to build capacity for the future, he said. “Whether they’re economic downturns or natural disasters or other pandemics,” Cardin added, “there will be other problems.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
In a move unlikely to surprise anyone, UPS followed FedEx (NYSE: FDX) in withdrawing its full-year guidance due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The contrast is most striking in the U.S. domestic package segment, where a high-single-digit revenue increase matched with a 42.2% fall in operating profit.
ATLANTA, May 04, 2020 -- Solutions and expertise deployed include UPS Temperature True® shipping services, air freight services and warehouse optimization. Edwards’ monitoring.
United Parcel Service is the world’s biggest express carrier and package delivery company. But amid the coronavirus crisis, is UPS stock a buy right now?
Last week, you might have seen that United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS) released its first-quarter result to the...
In this daily bar chart of UPS, below, we can see that prices rolled over from August to January and then "fell out of bed" in February and March. UPS is back below the declining 50-day moving average and the slower-to-react 200-day average line has a negative slope too. The On-Balance-Volume (OBV) line has been in a decline from November and recently made a new low for the move down telling us that despite the price bounce, sellers of UPS have been more aggressive.
On CNBC's "Mad Money Lightning Round," Jim Cramer revealed that he is worried because Royal Dutch Shell plc ADR Class A (NYSE: RDS-A) has cut its dividend for the first time since the World War II. He is not a buyer of the stock.Cramer is not recommending any retailers other than the "WATCH" retailers, which are Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT), Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST) and Home Depot Inc (NYSE: HD).Franco Nevada Corp (NYSE: FNV) has been real good and Cramer sees it as a winner. He would buy more on a pull back. He likes Barrick Gold Corp (NYSE: GOLD) even more.Cramer has always felt that Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBRL) is cheap, but right now he would stay away from the stock because people aren't driving that much.United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE: UPS) posted a quarter that was not that good, but Cramer would buy it if it drops to $90.Cramer likes Exelixis, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXEL). He sees it as a great cancer treatment spec.Raytheon Technologies Corp (NYSE: RTX) traded lower on Thursday. Cramer doesn't like the aerospace sector right here, but he would be a buyer of Raytheon Technologies a little bit lower.See more from Benzinga * Analysts Share Stocks They Would Buy In This Environment: Exxon Mobil, P&G And More(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
(Bloomberg) -- A program created by Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has airlifted millions of gloves, masks and other coveted coronavirus supplies into the U.S. from overseas -- but it isn’t clear who’s getting them and at what price, or how much private-sector partners are earning through the arrangement.Kushner’s “Project Airbridge” provides transportation via FedEx Corp. and others for supplies that medical distributors, including McKesson Corp. and Cardinal Health Inc., buy from overseas manufacturers, mainly in China. Once a supplier’s goods arrive in the U.S., the companies must sell half the order in government-designated hotspots. They sell the rest as they see fit.The U.S. government provides the air transportation for free, to speed the arrival of the products. The six distributors keep the profits, if any.The program has won praise from some states, where officials say it provided hard-to-find supplies at a critical time in the Covid-19 outbreak, even if it met a fraction of demand.“We are very supportive of Airbridge and other federal programs that can provide PPE to our first-line responders,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis, a Democrat. “But it doesn’t meet our full needs.”Other governors and lawmakers have raised questions, saying they have no visibility into how supplies are distributed and the government has only limited power to direct it. The program appears to run largely outside the standard federal channels for competitive bidding, disclosure and transparency -- the government hasn’t documented how the products are sold, how prices are determined or which hospitals and other customers receive the supplies.Senate QuestionsThe House Oversight Committee is seeking answers, and Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren and Richard Blumenthal wrote to the medical supply companies this week requesting details about their participation in Kushner’s program. “The American people need an explanation for how these supplies are obtained, priced, and distributed,” they said.The letter went to all six participating distributors: McKesson, Cardinal, Medline Industries Inc., Henry Schein Inc., Owens & Minor Inc. and Concordance Health care Solutions.McKesson issued a statement saying that its work with the government “reflects our commitment” to fighting the pandemic, but declined to answer specific questions. The other five companies declined comment or didn’t respond.“Providing free flights for supplies sold by the private sector may help, but it is not a substitute for a comprehensive federal response to this crisis,” Representative Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat who chairs the Oversight committee, said in a statement. She said her panel seeks to “understand how our taxpayer dollars are being spent and whether supplies are reaching those who need them most.”Project Airbridge has become a fixture at the president’s news conferences, where Trump regularly ticks off the number of flights it’s completed and the millions of pieces of gear it’s delivered. Its development is characteristic of an administration that’s shown little patience for the traditional processes and pace of government. Slow to prepare for the coronavirus outbreak, Trump turned to Kushner in March to try to quickly fill shortages of vital medical gear.In Trump’s telling, the nation is fortunate Kushner stepped in, because the program relieved a bottleneck causing shortages of protective gear at the front lines of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, the largest in the world. The country has had more than 1 million documented cases of the disease and at least 61,000 deaths since February.Kushner’s program is not the only way medical supplies are imported into the country. The U.S. government has bought gear on its own, and states, hospitals, medical suppliers, retailers and others have placed their own orders. The president has encouraged states to source and buy most of their own medical equipment, and Kushner has described the federal stockpile as a backup.Suppliers and middlemen trying to keep hospitals equipped say that securing a flight out of China has become their biggest logistical hurdle, with a surge in demand doubling and even tripling prices for the limited number of cargo planes handling shipments.For about $69 million in flight costs so far, the Airbridge project has flown at least 746 million pairs of gloves, 71 million surgical masks and 10 million surgical gowns to the U.S. market, mainly on planes operated by FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc., according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The program has also brought in about 2 million thermometers, 768,000 N95 masks and 562,000 face shields.The Department of Justice said it would not mount an antitrust challenge to the “collaborative efforts” of the distributors “to address supply needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic,” for which, DOJ said in a statement, the companies “should be applauded.”‘Young Geniuses’Airbridge is run out of FEMA, but its leadership includes what Trump has referred to as “military people and young geniuses.” That includes Kushner and his longtime friend, Adam Boehler, the chief executive officer of a new government agency created in 2018, the U.S. International Development Finance Corp. Navy Rear Admiral John Polowczyk, a logistics expert who is Trump’s top adviser on the medical supply chain, also helps direct the effort.Speaking Wednesday on Fox News, Kushner said he took “a custom-tailored approach” to Airbridge because the U.S. health care system is mostly run by private firms or non-profits, not government.“We created a control tower approach with the private company distributors in order to make sure that we can be as efficient as possible, and it’s been quite successful,” Kushner said.FEMA says the effort has slashed shipping time to two days, from the 30 to 40 days that a conventional sea shipment would normally take.Still, Airbridge accounts for only a small portion of the protective medical gear sold in the U.S., according to a person at one of the participating companies who spoke on condition of anonymity. The person said the company sells Airbridge supplies at prices consistent with what customers have previously paid.Polowczyk said the administration doesn’t want to try to direct distribution. “I’m not here to disrupt a supply chain,” he said on April 2, shortly after the program was struck up. “I’m putting volume into that system.”A spokesman for Medline Industries Inc., one of the distributors involved, told CNN that it sells some items transported by Airbridge at a loss.The White House declined to provide any information on prices charged by the distributors, nor did it offer any accounting of the products brought into the U.S. or their final destination -- even for the half of the products designated for areas the government considers hotspots.“Why isn’t there transparency?” Representative Ted Deutch, a Florida Democrat, said in an interview. Deutch and colleagues have introduced legislation that would require the White House to report on the program and other elements of the medical supply chain every two weeks.“If they’re so willing to hold press conferences touting the importance of putting together this program to bring a hundred cargo planes worth of equipment to the United States in this time of a global pandemic, then they ought to be willing to answer some basic questions about what’s coming,” he said. “How much it costs, where it’s going, so that we can make sure that every life that can be saved is being saved.”Some health-care executives are similarly concerned.“There does need to be more transparency here, because this is the sort of thing that people investigate and wonder about,” said Blair Childs, a senior vice president at Premier Inc., which helps 4,000 member hospitals purchase supplies. “What are they paying? Is it a competitive price?”FedEx, UPS ContractsUnder Airbridge, FEMA pays the cost of shipping and ensures that the U.S. gets the supplies quickly. The goods are transported by FedEx, UPS, Landstar System Inc. and Radiant Logistics Inc., according to FEMA. The agency doesn’t know the specific contents of shipments until the cargo is loaded, the agency says.FedEx received a $60 million sole-source shipping contract for the program while UPS was awarded a “not competed” contract for “warehousing and distribution” worth as much as $9.8 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Government. Total figures for the program remain unclear.Bonny Harrison, a FedEx spokeswoman, said the cost of the flights is consistent with market rates. The company’s coronavirus work includes flights of supplies, distribution and collection of test kits and shipment of other things like swabs, she said. UPS did not respond to a request for comment, Landstar declined comment and Radiant referred questions to FEMA.The program plans to shift cargoes to lower-cost sea freighters once the need for equipment isn’t as urgent, an administration official said. The person wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about Airbridge and asked not to be identified. Airbridge had completed 89 flights with 21 more scheduled, FEMA said, but the number of total flights has ticked down over the past week.Terms of the shipments can vary. If they’re ordered by the six participating medical supply companies, those firms retain control of the goods throughout, with the understanding that they have to sell half to hotspot regions. There are no other known constraints on the distributors.Under the agreement with participating companies, the U.S. government can take up to 20% of supplies it finds on its own, while the companies distribute the remaining 80%. Project Airbridge has flown in at least 18.6 million masks and respirators procured by FEMA, the agency says.Pence CallGovernors discussed Airbridge in an April 24 call with Vice President Mike Pence. While Polis has complimented the program, another governor said allowing private distributors to manage deliveries means the equipment isn’t necessarily going where it’s most needed.“The White House has not delivered what it has said it would deliver,” Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker, a Democrat who has sparred with Trump, said on April 20. Allowing companies to distribute the supplies is “a far cry from delivering to the states so that we can distribute to, for example, a nursing home that has an outbreak.”A spokesperson for Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, said the program “appears fairly small-scale,” and that the state doesn’t know how the distributors decide where to sell the supplies.Buyers in New Jersey have received about two million pieces of equipment through Airbridge, according to a person familiar with the matter.“To classify it as significant might be a bit of an overstatement,” Patrick Callahan, superintendent of the New Jersey state police, said Friday. “We’ll take everything we can get.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
UPS was downgraded to underperform by BMO Capital Markets, which cited a virus-related profitability decline at the package-delivery icon.