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Where is your order? Tracking shipping delays.

SavannahMann

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The reality of shipping is that it is far more complicated than most people think. I just read this article and it explained it all rather well.


It isn’t a single problem point. You can’t just blame the Liberals in California, although that would be the choice of the folks of a certain type. Let’s start at the beginning.

Manufacturing. Manufacturing takes place in China for the most part. And there the problems begin. Not just COVID, but power. With the high cost of Coal, China has reduced power production, and limited factories to a single shift each day. This reduces what can be manufactured, and how much each day. So if the factory you contract with normally ran two shifts a day, their productivity is now cut in half.

But wait, we’re not even out of China yet. Now, the products go to get loaded into a container, but there is a shortage. It seems the empties are all stacked here in the US because Shipping Companies left them on the dock during the early stages of COVID to try and stay on schedule and cut costs. So there are not enough containers to load the products into now.

Ok, you find a container. Your stuff gets loaded into the container, and now, it’s moved near the port to await it’s turn to be stacked and prepared to be loaded on a ship. All of these delays are costing you money folks. Blame Biden for it, but so far, your suggestion of just sail somewhere else, or force the workers to keep working hasn’t even begun to rear it’s ugly head. In fact, it started under Trump since the decision to leave the containers on the dock was one of the early solutions to try and keep the schedule going.

Now, there is a huge backlog of containers waiting to move. So when the ship comes in, if you’re lucky enough to be booked, you might be bumped because of limits on the numbers of containers that can be carried, and the total weight that can be loaded. Perhaps it will cause a delay of another week, or two.

Sailing across the Pacific, well that takes time, and chances are that the ship has to call on other ports besides the one you’re supposed to be unloaded at.

If Weather rears it’s ugly head, and it will in the winter, then the journey is slowed, and perhaps your container is washed overboard. Or perhaps the ship is damaged and has to divert to be repaired, not even reaching your port.

Now, finally we get to the part of the problem that is somehow Biden’s fault.

First, trained people take time to actually, you know train. You can’t just hire someone off the street and tell them to climb a crane and start slinging boxes. It takes six months for them to learn enough of the job to be slow but careful. It takes years to become really good. And that means managing the industry goal of 40 moves per hour per crane.

Now, think about that for a moment. The ship has to unload and reload boxes. Total moves, more than 5,000 is not unusual. There is room for five Cranes to work the ship. That means you can move 400 containers per crane per day. If you are running a night shift, you might make 40 an hour, but probably you’ll fall short. Truthfully you probably won’t reach the goal a vast majority of the time

So during one 24 hour period you would be lucky to get 3,000 containers moved using five crews. And it is a crew.

You have people on the deck of the ship unlashing and unlocking the containers. You have people on the dock removing locking pins, called Dog Locks, from each container. You have people shuttling the bins of locks around to make sure every team has enough empty bins. You have clerks checking each container onto the ship, and recording exactly where the container is placed. The Crane Operator is there slinging the boxes. Then you have the drivers. They cycle between the ship and the stacks to move the containers as fast as possible away from the ship to make room for the next. Guess what. That’s right, you have people at the stacks taking the boxes off the trucks, and putting them into the stacks, and more people recording where those containers are now stowed.

Assume about thirty people per crew. All being paid by the hour. All trained and experienced. Just work more. We have overtime rules. Laws actually. And we have minimum rest rules for the people. Those containers weight twenty to forty tons in some cases. If your crew is tired, someone is going to make a mistake, and kill a few people. Their lives are not worth your container. Not to me. Not to anyone who would have to pay for the mistake. Oh and Accidents stop movement on the crew. Because dead folks have to be cleaned up before there can be more movement. It may stop work on the entire ship if the accident happens near the boat and blocks traffic.

The reverse is also done, loading more boxes onto the ships. Exports and empties.

Now we get to the next phase. All those people working the ships are busy, and can’t be loading trucks to take the containers out of the port, or unload the trucks bringing containers into the port.

So truckers who used to move a dozen boxes a day, are getting about half that.

More workers are loading and unloading containers onto trains. And the train has to move on time or the back up screws up the train schedule, and imagine trains backed up trying to get into LA sitting in Arizona. That would be the case. The train will leave empty if it has to, it can’t wait.

So the idea of making those lazy bastard work harder, isn’t going to work. Not in real life. Firing them means spending months, and years, trying to get productivity back to where it is now.

The article points out that the costs of shipping from China have increased 300%. That is a huge increase.

Now one would think that Conservatives would be clamoring to have Factories built here, so these products would be American Made.

Instead they scream that it’s Biden’s fault, because he isn’t doing what? I don’t know. Giving cheap coal to China so they can afford to run the power plants longer? Turning dock workers in China and America into slave labor? Work until we let you go. If they get exhausted and have an accident and die? Who cares? We need cheap shit from China. Or something.

Now we’re in the US. And getting the container off the port is hard, because everyone is working their asses off to unload the ships. So the truckers get half as much off the port, and with nearly a hundred thousand truckers needed nationally, this is now a problem.

Because Truckers are leaving the Port work. Why? They’re making half as much money as they were. They don’t get paid by the hour but by the trip. They get paid to unload a container, and load a container. And being Capitalists, they don’t want to work for nothing. They want to make more money, not less. You would think that Conservatives would understand this desire.

Yes, the environmental rules and regulations are a problem, but finding drivers is the biggest problem. Because turnover is high. You have to hire people for the same job over and over again all year long.

So instead of looking and saying. Hey, we could open factories here in the US and make the stuff here. Conservatives are blaming Biden and lazy workers. Workers who are working ten to twelve hours a day, six days a week, and sometimes seven, to do the job. At least they are in Savannah where we face similar backups and delays, and the port here is running 24 hours a day seven days a week.

The truth is that nothing is ever as simple as those who aren’t involved, believe it is. Of course those people are the loudest demanding that someone else do the simple solution. Usually get Liberals out of office. Somehow that will fix everything in China.
 

candycorn

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It would be a multi-generational project but high speed rail moving goods from the coasts to the hinterland via high speed rail is the answer. Driverless vehicles are not going to be trusted for decades and our wonderful system of 50 different sets of laws all but guarantees that driverless vehicles won't be allowed interstate.
 
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SavannahMann

SavannahMann

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It would be a multi-generational project but high speed rail moving goods from the coasts to the hinterland via high speed rail is the answer. Driverless vehicles are not going to be trusted for decades and our wonderful system of 50 different sets of laws all but guarantees that driverless vehicles won't be allowed interstate.

I don’t see that happening in the next couple decades. First. As was shown by the Airbus A-380 the market may not be the same as it was when you did the design work.

Let me explain. The A-380 was designed for Hub and Spoke style air travel. If you wanted to fly from Duseldorf to Charlotte you flew from a smaller airport to a hub airport. Then you flew hub to hub, and again smaller plane to your destination.

Now the business model is more direct with fewer connections. The A-380 was obsolete almost before it flew for the first time.

But let’s say we had high speed rail. Right now. Set up for cargo. It would rapidly move from choke point to choke point. Delayed at both ends by the very issues the article speaks of.

It wouldn’t address any of the other problems at any of the other steps.
 

candycorn

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I don’t see that happening in the next couple decades. First. As was shown by the Airbus A-380 the market may not be the same as it was when you did the design work.

Let me explain. The A-380 was designed for Hub and Spoke style air travel. If you wanted to fly from Duseldorf to Charlotte you flew from a smaller airport to a hub airport. Then you flew hub to hub, and again smaller plane to your destination.

Now the business model is more direct with fewer connections. The A-380 was obsolete almost before it flew for the first time.

But let’s say we had high speed rail. Right now. Set up for cargo. It would rapidly move from choke point to choke point. Delayed at both ends by the very issues the article speaks of.

It wouldn’t address any of the other problems at any of the other steps.
Fewer containers at the ports would allow for quicker unloading….true?

True…it would be a sea change…moving a potential bottle neck elsewhere. But, unlike having tankers miles offshore, the bottleneck can be addressed.

The rail could be used for passenger travel as well. Additionally it can be used to move people in and out of evac zones due to hurricanes and the like.

it will never happen though. We don’t do big things any more
 

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