The USS Zumwalt can't fire its guns because the ammo is too expensive
The USS Zumwalt can't fire its guns because the ammo is too expensive

Guns, chocolate and dope – the supply chain in numbers

10 November 2016


The cost of a round of ammunition for the US Navy’s USS Zumwalt destroyer which was commissioned three weeks ago. The bad news for the warship’s captain and crew is they can’t afford to actually use the ammo. The Navy is now searching for a cheaper replacement round and, until it does so, the guns on the $400bn destroyer will remain silent. Officials blamed the increased expense on the fact that, because it only ordered three of these destroyers – rather than 32 as originally envisaged – it ordered fewer rounds at a higher unit cost.


The number of France’s nuclear reactors that will be out of operation in December so regulators can check their facilities. The country only has 58 nuclear plants, which supply 75% of its electricity. French grid operator RTE has warned households and businesses that the balance between supply and demand will be so tight there could be power cuts.

8 minutes

The duration of the world’s shortest international flight, between St Gallen in Switzerland and Frierdichshafen, 20km across the other side of Lake Constance, in Germany. The route, managed by Austria’s People’s Air Group, has been criticised for using a disproportionate amount of fuel to travel such a short distance.


The number of wholly-owned stores Marks & Spencer is to close in ten countries: Belgium, China, Estonia, France, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. The high street giant, which reported a 19% drop in pre-tax profits for the first half of this financial year, also plans to close 60 clothing and home stores in UK and is in talks to cut around 900 jobs in London.


The amount McDonald’s is suing Florence for after the local authorities rejected its request to open a branch in the Piazza del Duomo even though it had been modified to introduce local products and respect the square’s heritage. The amount is based on revenue the fast food chain thinks it will lose over the next 18 years – though why it chose 18, not 20, is a mystery only its legal team can resolve. There are already nine McDonald’s restaurants in Florence, and the proposal for a tenth, in the Duomo’s shadow, provoked 24,000 Florentines to sign a petition in protest.


The number of anti-doping officers at LSI Medience, the only lab in Japan accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Given that around 6,500 drug tests will be carried out at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, all of which must be completed within 24 hours, this is 185 short of the number of officers required.


The initial fall in the share price of Vestas, the Danish company that is the world’s largest wind turbine maker, after the election of Donald Trump as the 45th US President. Bloomberg estimates that 41.3% of the company’s revenue in 2015 came from the Americas. Trump is expected to favour industries such as coal which will secure American jobs and doesn’t see the environmental necessity for wind power, having once tweeted that climate change was a hoax invented by China. Vestas’ shares later bounced back.


The number of Facebook likes for a post by consumer Sid Nicholson who asked Mondelez, which has reduced the size of Toblerone bars: “Did you even test market this?” Justifying its decision to shrink the 400g bar to 360g – and the 170g to 150g – and increase the gap between the bar’s triangles, Mondelez said it had to choose between changing the design or raising the price, as it was experiencing “higher costs for numerous ingredients”. Notably, Mondelez did not blame Brexit. So David Davies the Conservative MP for Monmouthshire, who gave up Marmite for patriotic reasons after Unilever tried to use Brexit to raise the price of the spread, can tuck into a Toblerone with a clear conscience.

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