Occupy Wall Street protesters disrupt U.S. ports
The Occupy Wall Street movement is starting to have a big impact on the supply chain industry.
Weeks after 10,000 protesters shut down Oakland’s busy port in early November, some shipping terminals were blocked by protesters at Portland, Ore., Longview, Wash. and again in Oakland, Calif.
“The truckers are still here, but there’s nobody here to unload their stuff,” protest organizer Boots Riley told The New York Daily News. “We shut down the Port of Oakland for the daytime shift and we’re coming back in the evening. Mission accomplished.”
OCCUPY PORT OF OAKLAND, ROUND TWO
While the immediate supply chain economic impact is not yet clear, Oakland’s seaport is one of the busiest in the eastern Pacific. The Port of Oakland is the fifth busiest container port in the U.S., trailing only Los Angeles, Newark, Savannah and Long Beach.
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There is a bit of good news for supply chain managers up and down the West Coast. Occupy protesters attracted far fewer people than what the movement had hoped for, while their protesting tactics are reportedly losing popularity among working-class Americans.
“Support is one thing,” wrote Robert McEllrath, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, in a letter obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle to local union chapters. “Organization from outside groups attempting to co-opt our struggle in order to advance a broader agenda is quite another and one that is destructive to our democratic process.”
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
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.
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