May 17, 2020

Fixing a broken food supply chain

Supply Chain
Supply Chain Problems
Supply Chain Shortages
Supply Chain
Freddie Pierce
2 min
The food supply chain is breaking down. With prices for necessary good soaring, how can we solve the problem?
About a month ago, we talked about why the food supply chain needs to add visibility as part of an industry-wide overhaul. Now, some other outlets are...

About a month ago, we talked about why the food supply chain needs to add visibility as part of an industry-wide overhaul.

Now, some other outlets are starting to make sense of a problematic food supply chain.

With pricing reaching historic levels in wheat, corn, sugar, dairy and oils, costs are going up for the consumer, and one report says the recent price surges may only be the beginning.

With population growing at a startling rate, demand is soaring. Supply may not be there to meet that demand, however, with the recent push toward biofuels, which take millions of tons of cereals away from the food supply chain.

"There is a structural shift in the demand and supply balance of food on the planet," Dr. Bill Pritchard, a Sydney University economic geographer and food security expert, told The Sydney Morning Herald. "It's a pattern that is going to face us over the coming decades."

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Urbanization and pollution are adding to a scarcity of land and water, and some analysts predict that close to half of the world’s population will be living in areas under water stress by 2030 if current trends continue.

Focusing on improving production is only part of the problem, however. A report on Stock & Land suggests that the food supply chain will be critical if we hope to feed needy third-world countries in Africa and Asia.

The food supply chain is broken, and adding visibility is only part of the battle. Solutions need to be offered to get food out faster and more efficiently to help the food producers, who could then have more capital to invest on producing more food to meet a growing demand.

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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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