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IAMC News Briefs—Week of November 6, 2023

By John Salustri

Fed Passes on Rate Hikes in Nov

CNBC—The Federal Reserve last week opted to take a pass on further rate hikes—at least for now. That holds the line at between 5.25% and 5.5%, where rates have rested since July. This is the second such hold the Fed has made since March of last year, amid a string of 11 hikes to fight back inflation. But further hikes, possibly before year end, are anticipated. “The process of getting inflation sustainably down to 2% has a long way to go,” said Fed Chair Jerome Powell at a news conference.


Amazon’s Next-Gen Tech Push Takes a Step Forward (Literally)

SUPPLY CHAIN DIVE—Warehouse workers might be getting more robotic helpmates at Amazon facilities. The e-tailer is currently testing a two-legged model, appropriately dubbed “Digit,” at its R&D site outside of Seattle. The robot will handle repetitive tasks such as picking up and moving totes after the inventory process. Digit is the creation of Agility Robotics, one of partners in Amazon’s $1-billion Industrial Innovation Fund.


Morgan Stanley Fund Gains 1.2M SF in $218M Deal

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY EXECUTIVE—In what’s being called the Garden State’s largest industrial sale of the year, Urban Edge Properties has sold a 1.2-million-square-foot portfolio for $217.5 million.  A Morgan Stanley investment fund, in partnership with Saxum Real Estate, is now in possession of the seven-building pack in East Hanover, NJ. The assets are geared for light industrial use and are all fully leased. JLL brokered the deal, a 1031 exchange that allowed Urban Edge to fund a part of its $309 million acquisition of two Boston-area shopping centers. https://www.commercialsearch.com/news/urban-edge-sells-nj-industrial-portfolio-for-218m/


Aurora Opens New Terminal and Driverless Lane

TRUCKING DIVE—A commercial-ready terminal for autonomous trucks is now operational in Houston, thanks to the efforts of Aurora Innovation. The facility, with a twin in the Dallas suburb of Palmer, opens a path for the firm to introduce a driverless shipping lane on Interstate 45, slated to begin operations late next year. The route is an extension of a pilot program already underway for Aurora clients such as FedEx and Schneider National, through which autonomous vehicles have already logged more than 20,000 commercial miles.


SoCal Ports Face Challenges to Future Growth

URBAN LAND INSTITUTE—The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles will be handling double their current volume by 2040. So predicted Noel Hacegaba, chief operating officer of the Port of Long Beach, at the recent ULI fall meeting. That will be a massive goal since, “We process more than $500 billion in goods annually, and that translates into a lot of positive economic development.” His optimism was not shared by other panelists, such as Los Angeles City Councilman Tim McOsker, who pointed to the Clean Air Act, which dictates that the AQMD--the South Coast Air Quality Management District--reduce emissions in the port regions, which “constitute the biggest single stationary contributor to air pollution in Southern California.”

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