SC business notebook, July 12

July 12, 2014 

Local & State

Coast

PTR Industries forced into layoffs

Two quarters of slow sales throughout the U.S. economy have ensnared PTR Industries, which has laid off eight workers and cut the pay of management employees by 10 percent, company CEO Josh Fiorini said Thursday afternoon.

PTR moved its headquarters to Aynor from Connecticut earlier this year and hired more than 20 local employees to add to those who transferred in the move. The workforce was at 51 before the layoff.

Experts said they plan to rehire the workers as soon as possible and that ups and downs are common to the gun industry. A summer slowdown, coupled with an abundant supply of firearms by retailers, resulted in the layoffs.

Cosco to close several offices, including N. Charleston

Cosco Container Lines Americas is planning to close several regional offices, including its location in North Charleston as part of a restructuring and consolidation plan announced this week.

In addition to the space on Lacross Road in North Charleston, Cosco is planning to shutter offices in Boston, Chicago, New York, Norfolk, San Francisco and Seattle for the formation of a North America Operation Center, officials said.

Cosco officials added that services will be uninterrupted during the restructuring, which is expected to be completed by this year. Cosco provides cargo vessel services to several ports along the East Coast, including Port of Charleston. The company has not named a location for the new centralized location.

Nation & World

Chrysler recalling 895,000 SUVs

Following an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Chrysler is recalling almost 895,000 sport utility vehicles because a wiring problem in the vanity mirror can cause a fire, the automaker said in a report posted Friday on the safety agency’s website.

The action covers 2011-14 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango models, including about 651,000 in the United States, 45,700 in Canada, 23,000 in Mexico and 175,000 outside North America.

To correct the problem, Chrysler began making a series of changes to the manufacturing process, the last one early in 2013, “to ensure a repair operation was more robust.” The company said it also discovered problems when repairs to the visor or headliner had been performed at dealerships.

Ride-sharing app gets temporary restraining order

New York officials say they’ve obtained a temporary restraining order against Lyft, the on-demand ride-sharing app, from operating in New York City.

The attorney general’s office and the Department of Financial Services sued only hours before San Francisco-based Lyft planned to enter the market. The lawsuit said the company actually operates as a traditional for-hire livery service using mobile technology, not a peer-to-peer transportation platform as claimed.

According to the lawsuit filed in state court in Manhattan, the company operates “in open defiance” of state and local licensing and insurance laws. A spokeswoman said the company was “in a legal process with local regulators” on Friday “and will proceed accordingly.”

Amazon asks FAA to use drones for deliveries

Amazon is officially asking the Federal Aviation Administration permission to use drones as part of its plan to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less. The online retailer created a media frenzy in December when it outlined a plan on CBS' “60 Minutes” to deliver packages with self-guided aircrafts that seemed straight out of science fiction.

In a letter to the FAA dated Wednesday, Amazon said it is developing aerial vehicles as part of Amazon Prime Air. The aircraft can travel over 50 miles per hour and carry loads of up to 5 pounds. About 86 percent of Amazon’s deliveries are 5 pounds or less, the company said.

The FAA allows hobbyists and model aircraft makers to fly drones, but commercial use is mostly banned. Amazon is asking for an exemption so it can test its drones in the U.S. The FAA did not respond to a request for comment.

The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News, Charleston Post and Courier, New York Times and The Associated Press contributed.

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