by WO_ShippingNews

5 facts about FedEx

1. Flight courier service for transporting bonds

FedEx didn’t start life as a courier company servicing as it does today. The business plan crafted by founder Fred Smith in 1971, was that FedEx would be a company which would pick up cheques from the 12 Federal Reserve banks in the United States, fly them to a central hub and then deliver the cheques to the federal reserve member banks the next day. He presented the idea to the Federal Reserve and the response was favourable.

Smith bought two Dassault Falcon jets from Pan-Am, funded from his own personal savings and a loan from his family trust fund.

Later, the federal reserve directors changed their mind - and the company was left with no client, two Falcons and $3.6 million in debt. Forced to re-consider his business plan, Smith decided to instead to create a service providing USA-wide delivery for time-sensitive documents for businesses and consumers.

federal reserve bank


2. Gambling it’s last $5,000

In 1974, three years after the company’s birth, FedEx was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. The company was losing $1 million a month and Fred Smith was unable to raise capital, get loans and attract investors.

At the end of the working week - Friday, there was only $5,000 left in the company accounts, which wasn’t enough for the company to continue operating. Smith decided to take drastic action. He flew from the company headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas to Las Vegas and he spent the weekend playing blackjack with the company funds.

Smith returned to the company headquarters in Little Rock on Monday and told astonished executives that he had managed to turn the $5,000 into $27,000. Soon afterwards, the company captured $11 million in funding and two years later in 1976, FedEx recorded its first-ever profit of $3.6 million.

gambling chips


3. The hidden design in the FedEx logo

Look closely at the letters E and X. You should see an arrow in the white space between the two letters. The arrow is intended to provide a subliminal message as FedEx being a company which delivers from A to B. However, the arrow was created by accident in 1994 as the logo designers happened to discover the hidden arrow whilst in the midst of designing over 400 different versions of the logo.

hidden arrow fedex logo


4. Inventors of the Tracking Number

In the late 1970’s FedEx created the tracking number – a set of numbers designed to the track the journey of a package. The system was originally intended for internal quality control but was later released to the general public. Today, tracking numbers are used throughout the courier industry and millions of tracking numbers are entered everyday into fedex.com.

The use of tracking numbers has since been developed into fully automated tools, allowing customers to track their shipments online visually.

tracking number


5. FedEx Fast Facts

  • Every day Fedex handles over 19 million packages
  • FedEx owns over 670 airplanes, which makes the FedEx air cargo fleet the largest in the world.
  • There are 125 million tracking requests received by FedEx every day.

row of fedex planes

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