747 Flights With Potatoes En Route to McDonald’s Japan to Ease Fry Shortages

By Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.
December 29, 2021 Updated: December 29, 2021

Planes are being loaded with potatoes for Japan, according to a recent tweet by a U.S. freight forwarder, as the country faces potato shortages leading McDonald’s Japan to ration fries and sell them in smaller portions.

“Flexport just contracted to fly three 747 loads of potatoes to Japan to help with the French fry shortage,” Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen wrote in a Dec. 29 tweet. “We considered involving Flexport.org for this humanitarian relief operation but in the end decided that the for profit side was a better fit.”

A Twitter user replied, “Thank you very very much!!! You are a hero for Japan,” while many others lamented the current situation where people can only purchase small portions.

Last week, Petersen had commented on the social media platform that he learned about the Japanese situation. “One of the fun things about working at Flexport is that for any company in the world you want to learn about, someone at Flexport understands their operations at an incredibly granular level. This morning I’m learning about McDonald’s french fry shortages in Japan.”

When user HumboldtProject asked the reason for the shortages, Petersen replied, “They come from the U.S. and our ports are screwed up.”

McDonald’s Japan said in a Dec. 21 statement that its supply shipment was disrupted due to flood damages in Vancouver, Canada. Plus, there is the issue of disruptions in global supply chains affecting raw materials and deliveries worldwide following the economic recovery from the pandemic.

The company halted the sale of medium- and large-sized orders of fries in its outlets across Japan starting Dec. 24. McDonald’s fries are first processed in the United States and Canada before being shipped out to Japan.

“While it is difficult to procure raw materials in a stable manner, we have cooperated with importers and suppliers to proactively take alternative measures,” the company stated. As they work to resolve the crisis, customers are offered a 50 yen (44 cent) discount to reflect smaller portions.

Media footage revealed long lines in front of stores by customers waiting to get their hands on large size orders of fries before the start of the ration.

The company was said to be considering airlifting supplies to the country. Normal sales are expected to resume by Dec. 31, based on a telephone conversation with a spokeswoman by Bloomberg.

In October, KFC faced a similar situation in Japan, mainly in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Owing to supply chain constraints, the company could not serve fries at a fifth of its outlets, even with suppliers based in Europe. KFC Fried Chicken is an extremely popular Christmas treat in the country.

Flexport did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.

Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.