May 17, 2020

FedEx accused of shipping illegal online pharmacy drugs

FedEx
US logistics
Pharmaceutical Supply Chain
road freig
Admin
2 min
FedEx could be the latest firm to face illegal shipping charges, after UPS last year
The US Justice Department has announced that package-delivery giant FedEx has been indicted for allegedly facilitating the distribution of controlled su...

The US Justice Department has announced that package-delivery giant FedEx has been indicted for allegedly facilitating the distribution of controlled substances and prescription drugs sold by illegal online pharmacies.

A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted the company for having ‘knowingly and intentionally conspired to distribute’ the substances from unauthorised pharmacies, the Justice Department said.

US authorities had warned FedEx of the illegal activities of some online pharmacies which were not authorised to market products in the United States, the department said.

A statement from the department said: “From as early as 2004 the indictment alleges, federal authorities and members of Congress informed FedEx that illegal Internet pharmacies were using its shipping services.”

Meanwhile FedEx employees in the states of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia expressed safety concerns to senior management.

Complaints included trucks that ‘were stopped on the road by online pharmacy customers demanding packages of pills’ and delivery addresses that would sometimes be a parking lot, school, or vacant home where several carloads of people were waiting for the FedEx driver to arrive.

In some instances ‘customers were jumping on the FedEx trucks and demanding online pharmacy packages’ and ‘drivers were threatened if they insisted on delivering packages to the addresses’ the statement said.

Instead of putting an end to activities, FedEx “adopted a procedure whereby Internet pharmacy packages from problematic shippers were held for pick up at specific stations, rather than delivered to the recipient’s address.” the statement added.

The indictment resulted from a nine-year investigation by US authorities. In a similar case, Google agreed to pay $500 million to settle charges that it sold advertisements to Canada-based online pharmacies that marketed drugs to Americans in violation of US law.

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Jun 21, 2021

Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight

BoringCompany
supplychain
freight
elonmusk
2 min
Elon Musk’s tunnelling firm plans underground freight tunnels with shipping containers moved on “battery-powered freight carriers”, according to reports

Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports. 

A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers. 

Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US. 

The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two. 

 

Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels

The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.

The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete. 

Tesla’s supply chain woes 

Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue. 

Elon Musk Tweet

Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely
 

Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany

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