When the chips are down


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News and insight for North America's fresh produce buyers
Luisa Cheshire


When the chips are down

The US west coast port dispute is cutting potato portion sizes in Japan's McDonald's restaurants

When the chips are down

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The protracted US west coast port dispute is causing a potato shortage in Japan, reports UK newspaper The Guardian.

More than 3,000 McDonald’s restaurants in Japan – the biggest Asian market for US frozen potato products – said on Tuesday (16 December) they would sell only small-sized portions of fries for the foreseeable future amid severe delays in imports.

The ongoing dispute between 20,000 dockworkers and terminal operators and shipping lines at 29 ports on the US west coast has more than doubled the transit time for McDonald’s Japan frozen fries, the report said.

The supply line has been further disrupted by a shortage of equipment to handle cargo, as well as rail service delays and the introduction of super-sized cargo vessels, reports said.

In response McDonald’s Japan took the emergency step of importing 1,000 tonnes of frozen fries by air. They began arriving earlier this week but another 1,600 tonnes from ports on the US east coast won’t arrive until late January.

Management told Reuters they are bracing for a possible shortage during the normally busy holiday season, although they believe the portion restrictions will prevent them running out altogether.

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