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pages: 473 words: 154,182

Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them by Donovan Hohn


carbon footprint, clean water, collective bargaining, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, Exxon Valdez, Filipino sailors, Google Earth, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, intermodal, Isaac Newton, means of production, microbiome, Panamax, Pearl River Delta, post-Panamax, profit motive, Skype, statistical model, Thorstein Veblen, traveling salesman

You’re wondering when and why yellow ducks became icons of childhood. You want to know what it’s like inside the toy factories of Guangdong. You’re marveling at the scale of humanity’s impact on this terraqueous globe and at the oceanic magnitude of your own ignorance. You’re giving the plight of the Laysan albatross many moments of thought. The next thing you know, it’s the middle of the night and you’re on the outer decks of a post-Panamax freighter due south of the Aleutian island where, in 1741, shipwrecked, Vitus Bering perished from scurvy and hunger. The winds are gale force. The water is deep and black, and so is the sky. It’s snowing. The decks are slick. Your ears ache, your fingers are numb. Solitary, nocturnal circumambulations of the outer decks by supernumerary passengers are strictly forbidden, for good reason. Fall overboard and no one would miss you.

What made Frankel start wondering now was a fax he received from the headquarters of APL, American President Lines, which, despite what its name suggests, belongs to a shipping company in Singapore. “Please be advised that the APL China v. 030 has been delayed due to severe weather encountered enroute to Seattle,” the fax began. “The ship has suffered some weather damage, but we do not yet know the full extent.” To appreciate the full extent of the damage the APL China had suffered, one must first appreciate the full extent of the APL China. The China was a C-11-class post-Panamax ship, meaning that—at 906 feet long and 131 feet wide—it was too big for the locks of the Panama Canal. Standing on a dock beside it, you would have felt as though you were standing at the foot of an unnaturally smooth cliff, a palisade of steel. The carrying capacity of a container ship is measured in TEUs, or twenty-foot-equivalent units, because a standard shipping container is twenty feet long.

In mid-January, when I’d be returning from China, there were no NSB ships departing from Hong Kong for Seattle, but there was one ship—the Hanjin Ottawa—departing from Pusan, South Korea, for Seattle, following roughly the same route the Ever Laurel had taken sixteen years before, and roughly the same route the China had taken in 1998. Along this route, the toys had broken free, changing from containerized cargo into legendary characters. Along this route, some oceanic force had beaten a post-Panamax ship to ribbons. Now, from Pusan, I’d travel this route. I also had other, vaguer, more philosophical reasons for shipping out, reasons that the actuarial phrase “act of God” helps explain. I didn’t expect an ocean crossing to restore my faith in God, exactly—at least not in a biblical God; I lost that irretrievably long ago. But I did hope that it might refresh my capacity for awe. Rich Austin thought the sight of the devastated China was ominous.

pages: 326 words: 29,543

The Docks by Bill Sharpsteen


affirmative action, anti-communist, big-box store, collective bargaining, Google Earth, intermodal, inventory management, jitney, Just-in-time delivery, new economy, Panamax, place-making, Port of Oakland, post-Panamax, RAND corporation, refrigerator car, strikebreaker, women in the workforce

Therefore, you could find yourself driving Toyotas off a ship one day and lashing the next. (However, those in skilled positions such as crane drivers are often sent only to jobs that require their particular expertise.) When the lashing jobs are doled out, longshoremen will occasionally refuse them, a decision called flopping, and wait their turn for another, easier position. While the lashers are busy, the crane drivers position the terminal’s four Super Post-Panamax cranes, better known as hammerheads, that can reach over any ship’s girth and, with a 1,000-ton capacity, snatch the containers one by one. The eight-story cranes creep almost silently along rails that are buried in the asphalt dock and covered by a thick rubber strip that ripples off to the side as the wheels push through it. While the cranes slowly move, they announce themselves with a sirenlike whoop-whoop that echoes against the ship’s hull and produces ╯ ╯ ╯ ╯ A lasher at the bottom of a container stack releases a lashing bar in preparation for cargo discharge.

., 108, 109 SAFE boats, 240 Salcido, Ray, 106 Samra, Balwinder, 254, 262; background, 255 San Francisco Daily News, 112 San Pedro and Peninsula Homeowner’s Coalition, 62, 68, 87 San Pedro Coordinated Plan Subcommittee, 64 San Pedro Magazine, 63 “Saving Lives” initiative, 82 Schmidt, Henry, 122 Schneier, Bruce, 238 Schomaker, John, 108 Sea-Land Service, 36, 130 “Seventh Heaven,” 105 shape-up, 102 Shibley, George, 213 ship chandler, 47 “shirt time,” 192 shoreside electrical power, 34, 50, 69, 81 Sierra Club, 174, 177 slings, 96 Smith Act, 121 Snyder, Christina, 179 “Song for Bridges” (Almanac Singers), 121 South Coast Air Quality Management District, 71 Southern Counties Express, 170, 172 Southern Pacific Railroad, 3 Spanish missionaries, 3 Sperry, Howard, 114 Spinosa, Jim, 82, 125, 136; on Dave Arian, 199; on TWIC cards, 249; 2002 contract talks, 138; on union busting, 201 SSA Marine, 223 S.S. Sansinena, explosion of, 84 Stahl, Joe, 106 Stallone, Steve, 126 strad (straddle carrier), 40, 173 strikebreakers, 104, 107 strikes: “big strike,” 107; “Bloody Thursday,” 112, 114; ILA strike of Indexâ•… /â•… 309 1916, 99; ILA strike of 1934, 104, 107; riot of July 3, 1934, 110; San Francisco general strike, 115; use of tear gas, 109, 110, 113 St. Sure, Paul, 123, 193 Super Post-Panamax cranes, 38 swampers’ board, 190 Swift Transportation, 172 Taft-Hartley Act, 140 Takasugi, Robert M., 212, 218 Teamsters, 115, 174, 177, 192 Terminal Island, 27 terrorist attacks, 232, 233 Terrorist Watch List, 249 Tier II Community Advisory Committee, 63 “topping the boom,” 189 Torm Sara, 273 Total Transportation Services, Inc. (TTSI), 177, 180, 181 trade deficits, 160 traffic mitigation fee, 165 tramp ships, 100 Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), 171, 249 transtainers, 223 TraPac terminal, 274 troquero, defined, 166 TTSI (Total Transportation Services, Inc.), 177, 180, 181 tugboats, 273; availability of, 16; Leader, 264, 269, 270; Master, 264 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU), 34, 77 TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Credential), 171, 249 ultra-fine particles, 73; distances traveled, 74.

pages: 477 words: 135,607

The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger by Marc Levinson


air freight, anti-communist, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, British Empire, call centre, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, global supply chain, intermodal, Isaac Newton, job automation, knowledge economy, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, manufacturing employment, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, oil shock, Panamax, Port of Oakland, post-Panamax, Productivity paradox, refrigerator car, South China Sea, trade route, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

By the 1980s, new ships holding the equivalent of 4,200 20-foot containers could move a ton of cargo at 40 percent less than could a ship built for 3,000 containers and at one-third the cost of a vessel designed for 1,800.5 And still the vessels grew. The economies of scale were so clear, and so large, that in 1988 ship lines began buying vessels too wide to fit through the Panama Canal. These so-called Post-Panamax ships needed deeper water and longer piers than many ports could offer. They were uneconomic to run on most of the world’s shipping lanes. They offered no flexibility, but they could do one thing very well. On a busy route between two large, deep harbors, such as Hong Kong and Los Angeles or Singapore and Rotterdam, they could sail back and forth, with a brief stop at each end, moving freight more cheaply than any other vehicles ever built.

pages: 497 words: 144,283

Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna


1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, 9 dash line, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Boycotts of Israel, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, capital controls, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, digital map, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, forward guidance, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Hyperloop, ice-free Arctic, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, LNG terminal, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, mass immigration, megacity, Mercator projection, Metcalfe’s law, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, out of africa, Panamax, Parag Khanna, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-oil, post-Panamax, private military company, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transaction costs, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day

Panama City is now positioning itself as the Dubai of Central America—the longest flight in the world now connects the two cities—upping its game in sectors such as real estate, free trade zones, and aviation, even attracting Asian airlines to make stopovers in Panama en route to South American destinations. And with a major expansion of the canal under way (just missing the centennial completion goal) to allow for simultaneous two-directional flow of large post-Panamax tankers, Panama will once again dent Valparaíso’s recent comeback as a pit stop for ships once too wide for the Panama Canal. Already Valparaíso’s container traffic trade with the United States is falling by double digits every year. Eventually, cruise ships may outnumber tankers as the city refashions itself into a cultural tourism hub. Efficiently reaching America’s Eastern Seaboard is a strategic imperative for consumer and tech goods exporters such as Japan, South Korea, and China.

pages: 437 words: 113,173

Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance by Ian Goldin, Chris Kutarna


2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, clean water, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dava Sobel, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk,, epigenetics, experimental economics, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, full employment, Galaxy Zoo, global supply chain, Hyperloop, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial cluster, industrial robot, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Lyft, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Network effects, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, Occupy movement, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, open economy, Panamax, Pearl River Delta, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, post-Panamax, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, Snapchat, special economic zone, spice trade, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, uranium enrichment, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, zero day

Rather, it was because a 5,000 TEU ship was the biggest that could squeeze through the locks of the Panama Canal (such ships are labeled “Panamax”), and no one wanted to buy a container ship that could not serve global shipping’s most important route: the canal link between the Americas’ Atlantic and Pacific coasts. In 1996, however, one of the biggest shipping companies in the world, Maersk of Denmark, decided to challenge that orthodoxy. It took delivery of the 6,400-TEU “post-Panamax” ship Regina. The economic center of gravity, Maersk reasoned, was shifting. The Panama Canal was irrelevant to the fastest-growing trade routes: the Pacific routes connecting the Far East (China, Korea, Japan), the Asian Tigers (Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan) and the west coasts of North and South America; the Atlantic routes connecting Europe to South America; and the Indian Ocean routes connecting Europe to the Middle East and Asia (via the Suez Canal).

pages: 795 words: 212,447

Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy, Grant (CON) Blackwood


active measures, affirmative action, air freight, airport security, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Benoit Mandelbrot, defense in depth, failed state, friendly fire, Google Earth, Panamax, post-Panamax, Skype, uranium enrichment, urban sprawl

The question that Allison didn’t let herself wonder too much about was the nature of the information her employer was seeking. Why in the world, she wondered, did they care about groundwater in the middle of a desert? As Panamax “box ships” went, the Losan was small, a “twelve abreast” 2,700 TEU—twenty-foot equivalent units—vessel measuring 542 feet, whose capacity had long since been surpassed by Post Panamax descendants, but Tarquay Industries of Smithfield, Virginia, was less interested in modernity than it was in cutting its losses. Of the 120 five-hundred-gallon propane tanks it had sold to the government of Senegal, forty-six had proved defective, having slipped through quality control with improperly welded lifting lugs. By itself this was not an insurmountable problem, one that Tarquay had offered to fix at no cost and on-site, but an examination by both Senegalese government inspectors and Tarquay’s lead engineer in Dakar had revealed that the welds had compromised the shell integrity; none of the tanks could have withstood the mandated 250-pounds-per-square-inch pressure capacity.