I recently read a joke in which the wife tells her husband she needs new clothes. He tells her she doesn’t to which she responds, “My clothes are so old, the tags still say ‘Made in the US’”
But this is the sad truth. The US is now importing goods more than ever rather than manufacturing in order to save money. Everything from door handles, bicycles, electronics, cars, building supplies are being imported here via ocean containers. Some of us don’t realize how important this is to our economy. 90% of our world trade depends on ocean shipping. According to Mediterranean Shipping Company’s website, about 141 million containers were moved across the ocean in 2007.
Containers come in various different sizes and types. Most commonly (1) they are 20’ or 40’ dry containers or (2) refrigerated containers referred to as “reefers” and can last up to 26 years. They are loaded onto (3) container ships or vessels from trucks via a series of cranes only after the exact layout has been mapped out using a sophisticated computer mapping program. One vessel can carry up to 33,000 containers at a time. The vessels are (4) “towed” (if you will) in and out of the ports by a single tug boat. A container ship is 1,000 x’s more powerful than a normal size car yet emits 40 x’s less Carbon Dioxide than a commercial airplane and is 7 x’s more efficient than land transportation.
Ocean transportation accounts for about 35% of total shipping costs. In essence, we could say it would be a lot cheaper to ship a car from New York to Paris than from Los Angeles to Miami; unless you choose a routing that takes you through the Suez Canal or the Panama Canal (5 & 6). (Pix is worth 1,000 words) you can see why this would spike up the price. My job highly depends on ocean transportation. We are a chemical manufacturer and all of our customers are in different parts of the country. We sell them chemicals for production of denim and my job is to make sure I consolidate...