Breaking: Disruption in operations and deliveries as serial bomber hits FedEx facility

(Photo: Shutterstock)

President Donald Trump is blaming a “very sick individual or individuals” for a series of bombings in Austin, TX. Trump said during an Oval Office meeting Tuesday with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that the situation is “terrible.”

“This is obviously a very sick individual or individuals,” he says, and authorities are “working to get to the bottom of it.”

Trump’s comments came hours after an early-morning explosion at a FedEx distribution center near San Antonio in Schertz about 60 miles southwest of Austin. Authorities say it was a bomb addressed to an Austin home.

Attorney General Ken Paxton also told television station KXAN that a second parcel bomb that didn’t explode was found at the FedEx facility. San Antonio police chief William McManus told a news conference there that the second package was no longer at the facility.

Authorities believe the latest parcel bombs are linked to the four bombings this month in Austin that have killed two people and injured four others.

Authorities say the parcel bomb detonated at around 1 a.m. Tuesday while it was on a conveyer belt in the facility. One worker suffered minor injuries. No details were provided on where the packages were addressed.

Just Sunday night, a blast was triggered along an Austin street by a nearly invisible tripwire, suggesting a “higher level of sophistication” than agents saw in three early package bombs left on doorsteps. It means the carnage by a suspected serial bomber is now random, rather than targeted at someone in particular.

There have now been a total of five bombings with two dead and four injured, and authorities don’t appear closer to making any arrests.

E-commerce continues to fuel a growth in package volumes—and with that comes increased risks of counterfeit, theft, and hazardous packages.

Federal regulators tightened security on air cargo after the 9/11 attacks, requiring the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to screen 100% of packages transported via passenger jet.

Ground shipping, however, hasn’t faced the same scrutiny. FedEx Ground moves more than 8 million packages a day through 37 hubs—an enormous volume that would require next-level technology and facilities to screen such volume. FedEx did not respond to questions about its screening and detection protocols.

Of the previous bombings in Austin three were in cardboard packages left on doorsteps. None of the packages, however, were delivered by FedEx. 

As investigations continue at the Schertz facility, operations and deliveries are bound to be disrupted. The string of bombings may also increase calls for security measures and screenings on parcel deliveries.

This is a developing story.

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Chad Prevost

Chad is radio host and broadcast media specialist for FreightWaves.