Afternoon Coffee: $150 billion in PPP loans untouched; FAA to allow cargo in passenger plane cabins; Gravity Supply Chain Solutions & UST Global to partner

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The Small Business Admiration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) still has about $150 billion in loans available for businesses that need assistance during the coronavirus crisis, according to a report from Reuters. After the initial barrage of applications to the SBA once the program went live, new applications have fallen drastically since mid-May and some businesses have returned the funds they received.

Of the $660 billion allocated to the program, only $512.2 billion had been taken out by about 4.4 million businesses as of May 21, the report said. Additionally, some borrowers haven’t touched the PPP funds they received, partially because many are still confused about the terms of the loans.

FAA to allow cargo in cabins of empty passenger planes

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is granting an exemption that will allow cargo to be put in the cabin of passenger airplanes if there are no passengers on board, Supply Chain Dive reports. The move is meant to help facilitate the cargo supply chain after airlines saw a dramatic decrease in passengers due to the coronavirus pandemic and grounded thousands planes that would have otherwise carried belly cargo. The exemption will allow cargo to be placed in overhead bins, under seats, in storage areas and on seats (given stipulations on weight limits and fire crew accessibility).

The move should help ease the cost of air cargo rates and lessen the demand on actively running cargo flights. Airlines for America, the trade association requesting the exemption, asked for it to remain valid until April 2022, but the FAA has only granted it through Dec. 31, 2020.

Gravity Supply Chain Solutions & UST Global partner on integrated platform

Gravity Supply Chain Solutions, the Hong Kong-based supply chain technology provider, and UST Global, the U.S.- and India-based digital transformation provider, have announced a partnership to develop an end-to-end supply chain visibility digital platform, the companies announced in a press release. The partnership will allow UST Global to expand its offerings in retail, telecom, manufacturing and healthcare supply chain visibility.

UST Global's Chief Customer Officer Krishna Prasad said of the partnership: "Supply chains are becoming increasingly complex especially with the significant disruption due to COVID-19 and global economic issues. With Gravity's purchase order management capabilities and UST Global's digital transformation expertise, we have the capability to support our clients and improve their customer experience."

Americold & Ahold Delhaize to build automated cold chain warehouses

Ahold Delhaize, the Netherlands-based food retailer, is partnering with U.S.-based temperature warehousing company Americold to create two fully-automated frozen warehouses, Supply Chain Dive reports. The facilities will be a combined 500,000 square feet and hold 59,000 pallet positions.

The warehouses will be built in Pennsylvania and Connecticut, near large cities in the northeast. The warehouses are part of Ahold Delhaize’s plan to transition toward a self-distribution supply model and will include end-to-end forecasting, integrated transportation management systems (TMS) and inventory replenishment technology.

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