There is a question that everybody has pondered at some point, but anybody in the transport and logistics industry is likely to have given serious thought to – how does Santa manage to deliver presents to children all over the world in just one night? Well, today we are going to crunch the numbers and figure out just how Saint Nick plots this mammoth logistical feat and puts even the most complex of courier jobs to shame. |
So, firstly we need to identify how many homes he must visit when he sets off on Christmas Eve each year. Statistics show that there are 2 billion children under the age of 18 around planet, but with the religions that don’t recognise Father Christmas, this reduces his workload to just 15% of this figure. “Just” 15% of this total is 378 million, with an average (census) rate of 3.5 kids in each home. So, that works out to 91.8 million homes (we’ll assume that there is at least one good child in each…) as a very rough figure.
Now, you don’t have to be a logistics whizz to realise that Santa has longer than 24 hours to make his round. You must factor in the different time zones that he travels through and the rotation of the Earth. Assuming that he is logical and works east to west, this gives him 31 hours total to complete the task. Mathematically, this gives him 822.6 visits per second. With each visit, he needs to get down the chimney, (quietly) fill up each stocking, have a quick mince pie and then jump back on the sleigh. Impossible, right?
The Arguments for Santa
Whilst the numbers make this an unlikely prospect, there are a few factors which work in his favour. Firstly, you need to consider the uneven distribution of kids around the globe (there will not be many deliveries made in certain countries). Next, there will certainly be many houses around the planet with kids who misbehaved and did not make the cut this year (they should have listened to their parents!). Another factor working in his favour is that some Eastern Orthodox Church jurisdictions celebrate on January 7th, which gives him the evening before to cover many kids in Russia, Georgia, Ukraine and Serbia.
Father Christmas also has a team of flying reindeer at his disposal (Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph, in case you had forgotten). If his transportation defies logic, who knows what other kind of magic he has up his sleeves?
Christmas is a magical time of the year and Saint Nick is at the centre of all this, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for this unenviable delivery. Courier jobs do not come bigger, trickier or more complex than Santa’s run, but between him and his team of flying reindeer led by Rudolph, we have no doubts that it will be another successful year and happy Christmas for kids all around the world.
If you want to track Santa’s progress, log on to NORAD to see his journey across the globe from 1 December onwards.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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