The supply chain week in numbers

17 June 2016

A weekly round-up of the key numbers from a supply chain point of view.

648 days

The average age of coffee beans sitting in warehouses. Arabica beans, stored in 2013 when demand slumped, are now reaching the market and attracting buyers because they are discounted at US$0.35 a pound. The Wall Street Journal reports that some beans now being used were picked before Barack Obama became president.



The amount by which the British energy industry cut its unit operating costs in 2015. The standardisation of subsea projects – and cross-sector collaboration on projects such as inventory management – has helped make UK oil and gas companies more efficient. Last year, for the first time since 2000, it actually increased production.


The year in which Congressman John Culberson (Republican, Texas) has asked NASA to land on Alpha Centauri to mark the 100th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Culberson’s request carries some weight as he chairs the House of Representatives committee that oversees NASA’s funding. As Alpha Centauri is 4.4 light years – or 40 trillion km – away, any spacecraft would need to travel at the speed of light to reach its destination in less than five years.



The amount raised in funding for Didi Chuxing, the Chinese rival to ride-hailing pioneer Uber. The fundraising values the company at almost £16bn. One of the lead investors is Apple, which has pumped more than £600m into the company. Jean Liu, the president of Didi Chuxing, is the daughter of Lenovo founder Liu Chuanzhi.



The percentage drop in infrastructure spending in Brazil in 2015, according to a new report by the World Bank. Last year, just US$4.5bn was invested in the country’s infrastructure, less than a tenth of the US$47.2bn spent the year before. Similar, but less dramatic, declines are reported in infrastructure spending in China and India.



The year Greenland voted, by 53% to 47%, to leave the European Union. Now a member of its coalition government has called for it to rejoin as a way to attract investment to reduce its economic dependence on fishing. This self-governing part of Denmark, population 56,000, is suffering because the fall in commodity prices has deterred foreign investors from tapping into its rich mineral resources.


5,000 years ago

The period in which, new archaeological evidence suggests, beer was being brewed in China. Analysis of ancient pottery in Shanxi, northern China, suggests the beer was made from tubers, millet, barley and a gluten-free, grain-bearing tropical plant called Job’s Tears.

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