Third-party logistics provider Flexport has chartered three Boeing 747 freighters to rush potatoes to Japan where McDonald’s stores are experiencing a shortage of french fries because of ocean shipping delays.
The fast-food chain last week said it was using airfreight to get around the import delays, but declined to provide any details. On Wednesday, Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen announced on Twitter that the company is helping McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) by arranging an emergency airlift of spuds from North America.
McDonald’s Japan division said it is temporarily limiting the sale of medium- and large-size french fries in Japan because of delays loading vessels at the Port of Vancouver, which has experienced significant reductions in freight rail and truck traffic after flooding and landslides in British Columbia during mid-November. Although the CN and Canadian Pacific railroads have reopened rail lines serving the port, they are not operating at full capacity and certain highways remain washed out.
At one point earlier this month, the Vancouver port authority reported 60 vessels, including nine container vessels, were waiting for a berth. Officials say port operations and cargo recovery have recently stabilized.
A Flexport spokesperson declined to provide details about the arrangements for transporting the potatoes for McDonald’s. Bloomberg first reported Flexport’s involvement in arranging the air transport for McDonald’s.
The restaurant said french fries in small sizes are still available.