The FedEx [FDX] share price has had a solid 2021 so far, gaining 17.4% in the year to 24 June. After a slow start which saw the FedEx share price fall 9.4% from the start of the year to $235.34 on 29 January, a strong recovery has been staged since. Over the following months, the FedEx share price rallied 33.7% to close 7 May at $314.69.
A subsequent dip preceded another rally, which brought the FedEx share price to its all-time high of $319.90 during trading on 27 May. However, the FedEx share price has been on a downward trend since, falling 7% in the following month to close 24 June at $303.69. Over the trailing 12 months, however, the FedEx share price has seen solid gains of 127.6%.
FedEx's trailing 12 months share price rise
FedEx has recently revealed details of a partnership that forms a key pillar of efforts to modernise the logistics and delivery giant’s operations.
FedEx and driverless vehicle firm Nuro launched a multi-year, multi-phase partnership in April. The move sees FedEx step closer towards its goal of autonomous delivery by testing Nuro’s autonomous vehicles in the Houston area. While giving Nuro a foothold in parcel logistics, the partnership enables FedEx to trial autonomous vehicle use cases such as multi-stop and appointment-based deliveries.
FedEx’s first major step into autonomous delivery was the 15 October 2019 release of its autonomous SameDay delivery robot, Roxo. The FedEx share price rise 2.2% following the launch of the automaton.
Delivery logistics companies are facing challenges at present, thanks to a shortage of labour and a rapid rise in e-commerce following the coronavirus pandemic. A FedEx press release announcing the collaboration with Nuro stated that the company “believes that continued innovation and automation will improve safety, efficiency, and productivity for the company’s more than 570,000 team members”.
“We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations” - Rebecca Yeung
Rebecca Yeung, vice president of advanced technology and innovation at FedEx, said: “We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations.”
Nuro has previously partnered with grocery, pharmacy and restaurant companies, including an autonomous pizza delivery partnership with Domino’s Pizza [DPZ] in Houston, which began in April 2021.
“Working with FedEx — the global leader in logistics — is an incredible opportunity to rethink every aspect of local delivery,” said Cosimo Leipold, head of partnerships at Nuro. “Our collaboration will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener.”
“Our collaboration will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener” - Cosimo Leipold, head of partnerships at Nuro
In May, FedEx redeemed $5.8bn debt accrued during the early stages of the pandemic, and in the process made history as the first North American transport and logistics company to issue a sustainability bond. The €600m sustainability bond tranche in Europe will fund FedEx’s pledge to render its operations carbon neutral by 2040. The redemption, which reduced FedEx’s total debt by 11%, had minimal impact on the FedEx share price, however.
All HAIL the BOTZ
The partnership between FedEx and Nuro reflects the later company’s continued move towards two fast-growth areas for the logistics and transport sectors: autonomous vehicles and robotics.
The SPDR S&P Kensho Smart Mobility ETF [HAIL] focuses on autonomous and connected vehicle companies as well as transportation tracking and optimisation businesses, and those involved in drone technologies. The Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF [BOTZ] likewise reflects the performance of companies linked to the adoption and utilisation of robotics and artificial intelligence.
Returns rise of the SPDR S&P Kensho Smart Mobility ETF in 2021
HAIL has gained 13.3% in 2021 to 24 June, while BOTZ has seen more modest gains of 6.2% over the period. HAIL has also outperformed BOTZ over the trailing 12 months, with gains of 108.3% in the period compared to BOTZ’s gains of 49.6%. Despite this impressive growth over the past year, even HAIL’s performance still lags behind that of the FedEx share price.
The L&G Ecommerce Logistics UCITS ETF [ECOM], which focuses on the logistics and e-commerce sector and tracks the Solactive E-commerce Logistics Index, gained 23.8% in the year to 18 June, and 56.3% over the trailing 12 months. The fund will be partially swayed by the FedEx share price: FedEx was the 26th-largest holding in the fund with 2.3% of its weighting, as of 31 May.
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