Feb 01 2009

Why does a FedEx package go +1,200 miles?

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A friend of mine received a FedEx package. The route it took left him scratching his head because it left the state and flew 1,200 miles farther than it should have.

Why ship a package 160 miles when it can travel 1,342 miles?

Why ship a package 160 miles when it can travel 1,342 miles?

Logically, this FedEx package should travel from Charleston, SC to the sorting facility in Columbia. From there it should travel down the road to Sumter. It’d never leave the state. See a Google map of the short route it should take.

Instead, it reached Columbia and then got tossed onto a plane bound for Memphis, TN. The sorting facility in Memphis flew it right back to Columbia. Then it traveled to Sumter. See a Google map of the long route it took.

“But Rob, it reached its destination on time and it only weighed eight ounces. What’s the big deal?” Well, the airline industry used a simple calculation back in the day: “every ounce on the plane costs one pound of fuel per year.”

If FedEx mis-routes one 8oz package per plane, and if they make 100 flights per day, five days a week — it adds up to 200,000 pounds of wasted aviation fuel per year…

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