The first major building permit issued by the City of Hanford was approved last month for Faraday Future’s sprawling auto manufacturing plant in the city’s industrial park.

It is the first clear sign the start-up company is making good on its promise to make cars here after an influx of $1 billion in new capital earlier this summer.

The city issued a $7 million foundation permit for a new paint shop that will put a shine on Faraday’s signature FF 91 high-end electric car they promise to begin selling next July. Of course, they need to make them first.

Still some naysayers argue that futuristic auto will never be built, a charge the company calls nonsense. Short seller J Capital claims to have visited the FF’s factory three times in August and September and found the plant that will supposedly start mass production in seven months “awfully quiet.” Short sellers try to drive a stock price down.

Recent news reports quote Faraday CEO Carsten Breitfeld  — a former BMW exec — on plans for the Hanford plant.

The initial FF 91 production plans are logically and necessarily limited, then. Given the size of the factory and that niche appeal, Faraday Future hopes to build 2,400 cars in the first nine months of production, with a very slow initial ramp. Eventually, Breitfeld said, the company can produce up to 10,000 cars annually at its Hanford facility.

There's more to come. In about 18 months, Faraday Future will launch the smaller, more affordable FF 81. That car will eventually drive the company to a production volume of 100,000 units per year. "We are going to be cash flow positive after three years," Breitfeld told me. Somewhere around year five, a third model will debut, and the company is also working on a last-mile delivery van on the FF 91 platform, partnering with a "big player" in the online retail space.

The company also is showing off its highly automated robotic manufacturing units that will assemble the FF 91 in Hanford — yet to be installed.

As for employment, the company has listed positions open on 26 different jobs in Hanford.

NAS Lemoore getting $50 mil for F-35 Hangar

The recently-passed National Defense Authorization Act authorizes $50,000,000 to Naval Air Station Lemoore to complete Hangar 6 Phase 2.This will allow the base to support the mission requirements for the F-35 plane. This news was announced by local congressman David Valadao. The bill also calls for a 2.7% pay increase for service members, increases parental leave, expands the in-home childcare pilot program, and improves support available to military families with special needs children.

Contractor Harper Construction already has completed the first phase of the hangar, with the adjacent 2 modules to be delivered in late 2023, “providing the first complete Type 1 purpose-built home for the F-35C Lightning II.”

Hangar Six is the first NAS Lemoore hangar built, from the ground up, specifically for the 5th Generation strike fighter: the F-35C Lightning II .

24 hr ports could help solve ship congestion backlog

This week President Biden announced an agreement with all parties involved with Los Angeles ports to implement 24-hour, 7 day week work that could help break the logjam of ship congestion off the California coast. The backlog is worrying both retailers who want to get a supply of toys for Christmas from the Far East and Valley farmers who have suffered slow progress shipping their crops to Asia like walnuts and almonds as well as high shipping prices.

The White House announced Wednesday that they helped implement an agreement for the Port of Los Angeles to become a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation in an effort to relieve supply chain bottlenecks. Over 60 stranded container ships are offshore where the Ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach account for 40% of all shipping containers entering the U.S.

Fueling the crisis, Biden says “the pandemic has led to a surge in e-commerce, with sales increasing 39 percent in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the first quarter of 2020. At the same time, COVID has disrupted workers in key transportation and logistics nodes – the jobs of 1,800 Southern California port workers were disrupted because of COVID earlier this year.”

Overseas, COVID-related disruptions are not helping either. In September, hundreds of factories closed under lockdown restrictions in Vietnam, halting production that supports thousands of retailers worldwide.

With the agreement, the Port of Los Angeles is expanding to 24/7 operation. The Port of Long Beach expanded operations in mid-September.

These huge ships, when emptied, pick up Valley exports. But for now they are full of goods heading to US retail stores. Ironically it is booming demand for these goods that is fueling the congestion along with labor issues and driver shortages in the US. Biden is also trying to calm fears that inflation is out of control and that it will ease as the economy normalizes.

The Port of Los Angeles has seen a 30% increase in cargo volume so far this year. That's as exports from the Port of Los Angeles dropped 23% in August.

Not just congestion but high shipping rates have plagued the supply chain but new data shows shipping rates between the U.S and China have recently dropped by more than 50% in just a month.

Milk powder price soars but so does crude oil and ketchup

Oil prices have doubled this year, now around $80 a barrel. That’s good news for the Valley oil industry but adds costs to travel and shipping goods for consumers. Demand for energy continues to skyrocket in the post-COVID recovery with oil hitting a seven-year high

Oil analyst Tom Kloza says “every nook and cranny of the economy” could be affected. “Everything that moves tends to move cross-country by truck or by train, so we’re looking at a more expensive year for that.”

If costs for moving products are up, local dairymen are cheering the price they are getting for their big export product — milk powder — this month.

CME spot nonfat dry milk (NDM) is at $1.48 per pound Wednesday, a seven-year high.Press reports say hot weather weighed on U.S. milk yields and slowed milk powder output in August. Meanwhile, CMP reports that U.S. NDM exports were record-high in 2020, and 2021 exports are running an impressive 12.4% ahead of that pace.

Meanwhile Kraft Heinz reports the cost of ingredients such as cereals and oils has pushed global food prices to a 10-year high.

Kraft Heinz has increased prices on more than half its products in the US including Ketchup, made from Valley processing tomatoes here. "We are raising prices, where necessary, around the world," says the company president.

Another reason to wear a mask

This past week’s dust storm may be a result of both high winds and empty farm fields putting the drought’s impacts right in your face. Could be another reason to wear a mask even if COVID-19 rates continue to slow. The dust storm this Monday caused a dozen big-rigs to flop over on their side in eastern California’s Highway 395. In the Valley, the air quality index spiked, combining smoke from the Sequoia fire with blowing dust.T he AQI in Three Rivers ballooned to near 600 on Oct 7.

Skies in Kings County were not that bad but dust storm events may become more frequent with a potential Valley Fever spread. A prayer for rain may be in order with a possible wet storm coming into California around the 25th of this month according to some models. With the retirement of more farmland at hand how about USDA promoting cover crops to lessen the dust blowing effect?

Advance Auto Parts has opened in Hanford

Pep Boys-owned Advance Auto Parts has opened at 1840 W Lacey Blvd, Hanford. The new store is co-located with a Pep Boys Auto Service and Tire Center.

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