wjcandee
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:12 pm

Accordiing to today's New York Post, because of the West Coast dock problems in the US, McDonald's is experiencing a fry shortage in Japan (they are imported from the US). They have suspended medium and large fry portions, limiting customers to Small fries only (although you can order as many of those as you want).

To combat the shortage, they are airlifting 1000 tons (2,000,000 pounds) of fries now, and ocean-shipping a similar amount to Japan from East Coast US ports.

So...the question becomes: who has the assignment?

Frozen french fries are going to weight out a 747 before they cube it out, by a wide margin (with a density of about 20 lbs per cubic foot), so maybe they can go in a 777 freighter efficiently as well.

On a 747 and a 777, you get about 250,000 pounds and 225,000 pounds of cargo capacity, respectively (and very roughly), so you are talking about 8-10 round-trips with a stop in Anchorage to fulfill the order. Presumably, it's most efficient and cost-effective to do dedicated runs.

The easiest way to accomplish this is to hire an air/ocean logistician like Menlo or DHL to coordinate the boxcars or trailers to get the product from factory to departure point and from arrival point through customs to McDonald's's broadliner (food distributor) in Japan. Of course, McDonald's may have the in-house chops to do this themselves. But no matter who sets it up, somebody has to fly it over.

Any word out there on who has the assignment? (It's probably a dead giveaway if we see Idaho-to-Narita 777s, but I'm guessing that the product may move West first before boarding a plane...)

http://nypost.com/2014/12/16/mcdonal...fries-as-us-port-dispute-drags-on

[Edited 2014-12-17 06:22:15]
 
COSPN
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:43 pm

Lots of empty space on USA Japan flights so should be no problem The USA does not export much to Asia so a few tons of fries on every flight will add up fast
 
gilesdavies
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:47 pm

You are thinking too much into this!
 
rlwynn
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:53 pm

Who carries large amounts of frozen freight?
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CitrusCritter
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:54 pm

Quoting gilesdavies (Reply 2):
You are thinking too much into this!

While it's not the Berlin Airlift, I think he has described a legitimate logistical issue. It's not an insignificant undertaking based on the amount being delivered.
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bmacleod
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:15 pm

Quoting COSPN (Reply 1):
The USA does not export much to Asia so a few tons of fries on every flight will add up fast

US does not export much to Asia? Are you including China for that figure?
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phxa340
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:25 pm

Quoting COSPN (Reply 1):

That statement is entirely incorrect.

US exports about 120 billion annually to Japan.
 
PHX787
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:26 pm

I'd assume mickey d's would just load stuff onboard the litany of TPAC flights to Japan. Maybe even Continental USA - HNL-KIX flights too, for more direct service.
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roseflyer
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:43 pm

Quoting COSPN (Reply 1):
Lots of empty space on USA Japan flights so should be no problem The USA does not export much to Asia so a few tons of fries on every flight will add up fast

Frozen cargo is outrageously expensive to ship on passenger airplanes. It has to be packed in dry ice and sent on relatively small pallets. Other than Alaska Airlines, I don't know of any US airline that ships large quantities of frozen cargo. Not all airplanes even have full temperature control in the cargo holds. Usually only the forward cargo hold is temperature regulated, and it is only going to be 40-60 degrees. Dedicated freighters provide more options.

Quoting wjcandee (Thread starter):

Any word out there on who has the assignment? (It's probably a dead giveaway if we see Idaho-to-Narita 777s, but I'm guessing that the product may move West first before boarding a plane...)

I would suspect that they could contract with someone like DHL who would charter a 747 from an airline like Atlas Air. Unfortunately, right now is the busiest 2 weeks of air freight in the entire world. FedEx, UPS and DHL have absorbed all the excess capacity in the market. I doubt anyone has any 747s available for ad hoc charters in the next 8 days.
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Bongodog1964
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:05 pm

I would guess this as a major logistical headache, McDonalds are well known for having precise standards for all their food items along the lines of refrigeration temperatures, cooking temperatures, cooking times etc.
Allowing the fries to either get too warm or too cold could affect how they turn out.

Not a problem with sea freight as the container would have a refrigeration unit attached to it, but as mentioned earlier not possible for air freight.
 
kl911
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:17 pm

They don't grow potatoes in Japan?? I don't get this.
 
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Heavierthanair
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:20 pm

G'day

From earlier A-Net threads I had the impression that the biggest contributor to freight revenue and even being a lifeline to some airlines is fish.   

From what I gather on this thread potatoes appear to be even more important to the airlines health   


Cheers

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gdg9
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:24 pm

Quoting wjcandee (Thread starter):
Frozen french fries are going to weight out a 747 before they cube it out, by a wide margin (with a density of about 20 lbs per cubic foot), so maybe they can go in a 777 freighter efficiently as well.

Interesting figures, I never knew the weight of fries!
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OzarkD9S
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:57 pm

Quoting phxa340 (Reply 6):


US exports about 120 billion annually to Japan.

How much if that is Boeing, whose products deliver themselves?  
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tsnamm
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 6:43 pm

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 8):
Frozen cargo is outrageously expensive to ship on passenger airplanes. It has to be packed in dry ice and sent on relatively small pallets. Other than Alaska Airlines, I don't know of any US airline that ships large quantities of frozen cargo. Not all airplanes even have full temperature control in the cargo holds. Usually only the forward cargo hold is temperature regulated, and it is only going to be 40-60 degrees




No airline to my knowledge uses a pit thermostat to control the temperature,of perishable shipments, they use TC ULD's that do...they could pack regular airline pallets with dry ice and cover with insulation, but more likely they would utilize specific designed temperature control units such as these...


http://www.envirotainer.com/en/activ...iner-Products/Envirotainer-RAP-t2/

UA carries a great deal of temperature controlled perishable shipments. They even have a specific TC dept. in the cargo division to handle them.
 
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thekorean
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 6:52 pm

Gonna be some expensive french fries over there.
 
INFINITI329
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:06 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 7):
I would suspect that they could contract with someone like DHL who would charter a 747 from an airline like Atlas Air. Unfortunately, right now is the busiest 2 weeks of air freight in the entire world. FedEx, UPS and DHL have absorbed all the excess capacity in the market. I doubt anyone has any 747s available for ad hoc charters in the next 8 days

There are 11 U.S. based cargo airlines with at least a 767 or larger aircraft in their fleet. You must be able to find capacity with one of those carriers.



Quoting tsnamm (Reply 14):
No airline to my knowledge uses a pit thermostat to control the temperature,of perishable shipments, they use TC ULD's that do...they could pack regular airline pallets with dry ice and cover with insulation, but more likely they would utilize specific designed temperature control units such as these...

That sounds awfully heavy
 
frostyj
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:28 pm

Surely they make chips with their own potatoes? What the hell why on earth would you import chips.
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frostyj
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:30 pm

Quoting kl911 (Reply 10):

Exactly what the frig.
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motif1
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:10 pm

Quoting Frostyj (Reply 17):
Surely they make chips with their own potatoes? What the hell why on earth would you import chips.

Japan's locally grown potatoes are mostly eaten fresh, rather than as fries, and production has been declining for years.

according to http://finance.yahoo.com/news/mcdona...limits-orders-fries-040711978.html

So nobody knows how these got airlifted?
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ORDJOE
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:11 pm

We export far more things to Asia then most of the public think. People seem to forget the USA is still one of the biggest manufacturers of the world. It is more the stuff we make and export is not things on peoples mind and what we see in everyday life.

It is my understanding that it is hard to grow things in Japan, so I would not be suprised if they have to import potato. McDonalds will find a way to get this in.
 
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jaybird
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:35 pm

My guess is - McDonald's won't actually handle it themselves .. we're not a shipping company (yes, I work for them) .. the logistics will fall to our fry partners and our distributors ..   .. but yes, I'm curious too ..

[Edited 2014-12-17 12:36:20]
 
goosebayguy
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:41 pm

Icelandair wxports huge amounts of frozen fish. Pretty much every aircraft leaving Iceland has a lorry load in the hold.
 
chrisp390
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:46 pm

Interesting why they wouldn't send potatoes from China or somewhere more local that grows them. Are they going to Japan as potatoes or have they already been prepared and cut for use as fries?

Anyway I think it's a very interesting situation and I'd love to know too at this time of the year who will be participating in this
 
max999
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:49 pm

Quoting kl911 (Reply 10):
They don't grow potatoes in Japan?? I don't get this.
Quoting motif1 (Reply 19):
Japan's locally grown potatoes are mostly eaten fresh, rather than as fries, and production has been declining for years.

According to this website, China is the world's largest producer of potatoes. http://www.fao.org/potato-2008/en/world/index.html

McD's could easily source tons and tons of potatoes from China more cheaply and shipped faster than the US. But after the McDonald's food scandal in that country earlier this year...Japanese consumers are not going to accept food sourced from there. Which leaves them sourcing from US, which is a much more expensive option.
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jaybird
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:51 pm

They're not going as fresh potatoes .. they're going as cut / frozen / bagged .. as they would be when delivered to individual restaurants (my guess) .. they're going to need to be redistributed throughout Japan to the individual restaurants.
 
mtnwest1979
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:57 pm

Maybe that is why I saw 2 Kalitta 747s at SEA this last week lol.  
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DocLightning
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:08 pm

Quoting wjcandee (Thread starter):

Any word out there on who has the assignment? (It's probably a dead giveaway if we see Idaho-to-Narita 777s, but I'm guessing that the product may move West first before boarding a plane...)

Might be a dead giveaway to you, but do you want to fill me in?
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hilram
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:21 pm

Quoting Heavierthanair (Reply 11):
G'day

From earlier A-Net threads I had the impression that the biggest contributor to freight revenue and even being a lifeline to some airlines is fish.

From what I gather on this thread potatoes appear to be even more important to the airlines health
Cheers

Peter
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frostyj
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:21 pm

Quoting motif1 (Reply 19):

But is it really feasible to import chips from so far away??
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frostyj
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:23 pm

Quoting ORDJOE (Reply 20):

Really? Most of my things say made in China, I bought clothes in America and it says made in China there too.
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roseflyer
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:28 pm

Quoting infiniti329 (Reply 16):

There are 11 U.S. based cargo airlines with at least a 767 or larger aircraft in their fleet. You must be able to find capacity with one of those carriers.

The problem right now is that no one has any spare capacity in the next week.
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CALMSP
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:29 pm

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 8):

thats why you ship in TC units that maintain a certain temperature level. UA ships lobsters all the time out of EWR to APAC.
 
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Spacepope
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:11 pm

Quoting mtnwest1979 (Reply 26):
Maybe that is why I saw 2 Kalitta 747s at SEA this last week lol.  

Actually I was thinking the exact same thing. Kalitta was routing the 742s SEA-ANC-Japan. If they need to make a fuel stop in ANC, they would have been going out pretty heavy.
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kanban
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:25 pm

seems to me that 747's can take 20 ft refrigerated containers.. maybe longer.. although I don't know about running the refrigeration equipment in flight.. that said, with the containers insulation and everything pre-frozen, I think one could make the trip without additional cooling as the frozen mass will keep things cold.
 
turn720
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:36 pm

McDonald french fries are literally their signature dish and if you understand McDonalds culture they control every aspect of those fries. From the quality and type of potatos, to how they are cut and frozen, to the fryer temperature and time.

They would really have trust you to supply their fries.
 
motif1
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:36 pm

Quoting Frostyj (Reply 29):
But is it really feasible to import chips from so far away??

I guess it is. I think McDondald's produces most of their stuff centrally and then distributes around the world ... but I don't know for sure.
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jaybird
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:13 pm

Quoting turn720 (Reply 35):

McDonald french fries are literally their signature dish and if you understand McDonalds culture they control every aspect of those fries. From the quality and type of potatos, to how they are cut and frozen, to the fryer temperature and time.

They would really have trust you to supply their fries.

Absolutely, positively correct!  
 
HNLPointShoot
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:14 pm

Quoting Frostyj (Reply 29):
But is it really feasible to import chips from so far away??

It's not that simple to turn fresh potatoes into pre-cut frozen french fries without having the equipment already in place somewhere, and as others have mentioned, McDonald's has extremely strict QC standards for their french fries (which implies they have regular audits done and paperwork in place at the processing facilities that produce the fries.) It's highly likely that air freighting in french fries from the United States is their only option that doesn't compromise their standards.
 
UA444
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:51 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 27):

Idaho is known for potatoes.
 
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kanban
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:00 am

Quoting UA444 (Reply 39):
Idaho is known for potatoes.

although I understand Washington now produces more..

Quoting turn720 (Reply 35):
McDonald french fries are literally their signature dish and if you understand McDonalds culture they control every aspect of those fries. From the quality and type of potatos, to how they are cut and frozen, to the fryer temperature and time.

definitely.. they even send a supply truck out here to the end of the known world twice a week to ensure quality..


Quoting JayBird (Reply 37):

so do your fries come by boat, barge or air cargo? I'd guess shipping to Japan is no harder than to Hawaii?
 
jetwet1
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Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:03 am

Stupid question of the day.

Why not just truck them down to Ensanada and ship them from there ?
 
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jaybird
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Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:08 am

Quoting kanban (Reply 40):

Quoting JayBird (Reply 37):

so do your fries come by boat, barge or air cargo? I'd guess shipping to Japan is no harder than to Hawaii?

Under "normal" circumstances - boat .. we have flown them and other things in when necessary .. and yes, we watch the dock situations closely, too .. not unlike many companies in Hawaii who depend on boat transportation ..
 
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SEPilot
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:20 am

Hey, Boeing has a few 748F white tails. Maybe McDonald's should buy them?
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
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jaybird
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:30 am

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 43):

Hey, Boeing has a few 748F white tails. Maybe McDonald's should buy them?

WAY too big for a corporate jet!  
Besides - we don't actually do the shipping - that's done by our suppliers ..
 
TheCheese
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:30 am

Most of McDonald's fries are grown as potatoes in eastern Oregon, southeast Washington and Idaho for the Simplot Corporation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simplot

If I was to guess as to where the fries would be shipping out of, I'd say Portland or Seattle would be the best bets.
 
wjcandee
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:58 am

Quoting JayBird (Reply 25):
They're not going as fresh potatoes .. they're going as cut / frozen / bagged .. as they would be when delivered to individual restaurants (my guess) .. they're going to need to be redistributed throughout Japan to the individual restaurants.

Right - I know enough about the airline and chain restaurant industries to know that: (1) McD's currently sends frozen Idaho McDonald's french fries to Japan in the same way it does in the US: the manufacturers ship the product frozen to McD's "broadliner", which is a distribution company (like Sysco but not Sysco) that sends one truck to the restaurant with everything they need, from plates to cups to burgers to shake mix to fries to toilet paper. A typical Sysco truck has a frozen section, a refrigerated section, and a dry goods section, and typically stops at several restaurants, representing many different chains, on its route. In this case, the Broadliner in Japan is who receives the ocean shipments of fries and stores them in its warehouses around the country, to go on trucks to the individual restaurants when ordered by the restaurants along with whatever else they need on that truck, and depending upon restaurant volume the trucks can come daily or weekly or any number of days in between, and each restaurant has a truck schedule against which they place their orders; (2) Currently, they float refrigerated ocean-containers of fries over there; it's probably not horrendously-more-expensive than railroading or driving the stuff from Idaho to the east coast, because floating stuff is an inexpensive way to get stuff places, but not a particularly-fast one; (3) because there are big delays in getting stuff out of the West Coast ports, they have a break in the supply chain that they need to fill, both immediately and in the slightly-longer near term.

So...airlift 2 million pounds of fries now, float another 2 million by the longer East Coast route. Much more expensive, but protects against running out of fries, which is a big deal and probably breaches some franchise agreements. Also avoids any question about whether they are substituting an inferior product, which could be much more costly in the long run than continuing to supply the expected product and eating the extra transportation cost. A company like McD's looks at the big picture, and this is the right decision (and also gets them some free publicity about the lengths they will go to preserve product quality).

Companies like ConAgra and Simpot doubtless have established departments that specialize in logistics, but if this is outside their core competency, DHL and Menlo (now a division of Con-Way, but formerly Emery) specialize in doing exactly this kind of stuff.

One obvious way this stuff could move is on DHL-chartered freighters already servicing Japan, just in smaller batches that max out the backhaul, given the relative-directionality of Japan-US airfreight. According to the NYPost, the first of several air shipments arrived last week.

Given that refrigerated ULDs can be used, they don't have to all move on the same aircraft; it just seemed like one way (and a cool way) to get the job done.

[Edited 2014-12-17 17:00:14]

[Edited 2014-12-17 17:17:07]
 
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SEPilot
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:04 am

Quoting JayBird (Reply 44):

Besides - we don't actually do the shipping - that's done by our suppliers ..

You could start.....
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
wjcandee
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:11 am

Quoting jetwet1 (Reply 41):

Stupid question of the day.

Why not just truck them down to Ensanada and ship them from there ?

That's not a stupid question. "Or North to Canada" is another option, and a recent article about how the Canadian government is investing heavily in ports like Prince Rupert in BC to make it a viable option over the next several years means that a lot of people are having the same thought: if the US can't handle it, why don't we handle it? Everybody and his brother right now is trying to find reliable alternative routes for stuff already in transit or about to be in transit, so the Canadian Pacific ports at least are running basically at capacity already. That's why the East Coast routes are heating up now.

The simple answer is that LGB and LA handle SO MUCH STUFF that even a fractional diversion of goods to other places will swamp those other places.

I also don't know what other challenges one faces shipping through Mexico.

This Reuters article from Yesterday (which actually mentions the McDonalds fries!!!) is interesting on the subject: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/...rts-capacity-idUSL1N0TZ1TF20141216

[Edited 2014-12-17 17:18:23]
 
wjcandee
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Who Is Flying McDonald's Fries To Japan?

Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:15 am

Quoting TheCheese (Reply 45):
Most of McDonald's fries are grown as potatoes in eastern Oregon, southeast Washington and Idaho for the Simplot Corporation.

Correcto. And Simplot is based in Boise, Idaho.

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Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos