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XPO Logistics says these robots will reduce an employee's walking time in the warehouse and eliminate heavy lifting. Photo: XPO Logistics.

Trucking and supply chain service company XPO Logistics is adding as many as 5,000 robots in its warehouses, where XPO fulfills online orders for its retail clients and other shippers.

Why it matters: Although XPO already used robots alongside its warehouse employees, this is the biggest commitment it has made to automation. But CEO Bradley Jacobs tells Axios more robots will "help with employee recruitment and retention" and aid — not replace — its human workforce.

The details:

  • XPO has a strategic partnership with GreyOrange, a robotics manufacturer.
  • This is part of the company's planned $450 million investment in technology this year, but specific financial terms of this announcement were not disclosed.
  • Each robot can bring racks of products that weigh up to 3,500 pounds to workers in the warehouse to fulfill the orders. XPO says this process will now take 20 to 40 minutes — compared to a couple hours with just human labor — while reducing manual errors.

The bottom line: Companies that operate warehouses and fulfillment centers need to be faster and more efficient to keep up with e-commerce demand. That means more automation. But the question is what happens to the lower-skilled workers whose jobs will inevitably replaced in a more automated economy.

Go deeper

26 mins ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Tony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.

Updated 32 mins ago - World

At least 3 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least three people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Tuesday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. Officials in Tonga confirmed three deaths in the country's first official statement since the crisis began.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Charted: GOP surged as Biden slumped

Expand chart
Reproduced from Gallup. (Independents were asked their party leaning.) Chart: Axios Visuals

Gallup polling found a huge shift in party preference over the course of 2021, from a 9-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter to a 5-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter.

Why it matters: It's the biggest swing in one calendar year for Gallup's 30 years of tracking.

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