SCDigest Editorial Staff
In its most recent quarterly earnings call, FedEx says it will add six new long range Boeing 777F long distance cargo planes in the next year to the six it has already taken delivery on starting last September, in a move that legendary CEO Fred Smith calls a “game changer.”
Why the big fuss about an airplane?
Currently, cargo-ladened air freighters leaving Asia for many US cities cannot make the flight without stopping for fuel (in FedEx’s case, a station in Anchorage, Alaska. Ditto for cities in Europe.
With the 777s, which sport a range without refueling of 2100 more miles than the Boeing MD-11s FedEx has been using on most global routes, FedEx says it an expand its shipping cutoff out of Asia from one to three hours, giving companies more flexibility to meet schedules or get urgently needed goods or parts to US or European destinations one day earlier.
FedEx rival UPS, not surprisingly, disagrees.
“We don’t believe it is a game changer,” UPS spokesman Norman Black told The Wall Street Journal this week. “If we seen any material change in competitive pick up times, we have ways of adjusting our own network to address that.”
UPS currently relied on MD-11s and Boeing 747-400s for its global freight hauls.
The special Boeing “triple sevens,” designed for cargo hauling in a collaborative effort between Boeing and FedEx, can carry 14,000 more pounds of goods (for a total of 178,000 pounds) than the MD-11s, and the 2100 thousand mile range improvement allow the plane to go an impressive 6675 miles at that weight without refueling, according to FedEx.
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