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Did Tesla recently buy some trucking companies for the Model 3? There are only a few crumbs to go on

Tesla’s Elon Musk said Thursday on Twitter that the company has “acquired trucking capacity” to help with the delivery of the Model 3, a statement issued without further elaboration.

The slight bit of elaboration came in an interview with Bloomberg. Musk told Bloomberg that Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) had made acquisitions of trucking companies, but provided no further information.

If a trucking company–or a few–was acquired by Tesla in recent weeks, it was apparently not considered a “material event” by the company. Such an occurrence, under SEC regulations, requires the filing of an 8-K form. A search of all of Tesla’s 8-K filings for the last 4-5 months reveals no 8-K filings related to the acquisition of trucking companies. A search of its second quarter 10-Q, its most recent, also reveals nothing about acquiring trucking companies or capacity. An acquisition could be considered non-material if small enough, and would not carry with a mandate to report it as a material event.

But if the acquisition of a company or companies is moving the needle on its supply chain, it’s hard to envision how it would not be material.

In the one 8-K filed recently about operations, there is no mention of the acquisition of trucking companies or trucking capacity though there is extensive discussion about the state of the Model 3 supply chain. Acquiring capacity could involve securing dedicated transportation services without actually buying a company.

Musk’s tweets also said they were moving away from rail to move completed Model 3 cars in favor of trucks. “Skipping rail saves over a month for East Coast deliveries,” he said in the tweet from Thursday. “All things considered, it’s better to use trucks. Single load/unload & direct to owner location.”

Musk also tweeted that it would secure dedicated maritime shipping for its exports. “Will also be using dedicated roll-on, roll-off fast ships for transporting cars to Europe & Asia in Q1,” he wrote. “Major focus on minimizing time from factory to new owner. Did not fully appreciate the working capital impact until recently.”

FreightWaves sent several follow-up questions to the Tesla public relations office. But the Bloomberg story said a Tesla spokesman had declined comment to that news service on the identify of the trucking companies or capacity that Musk says Tesla bought.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.
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