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SO, how’s that globalism working out for ya, anyway?

Not too good.

So, have you heard about the massive international shipping crisis coming out of China, and the accompanying shortage of overseas shipping containers?

Actually, I have, lots of times—seeing as how my brother hauls containers out of Charleston and Savannah for a living, and calls me about five-six times a day, five and sometimes six days a week, to yell about one dipshit “good enough for gummint work” problem or another he’s currently dealing with while he’s sitting in endless lines at the port waiting to get either a container or the chassis the container sits on to pull back to NC. He’s been particularly perplexed over the sudden scarcity of both containers and chassis lately, and we’ve spent a good bit of time on the phone trying to suss out what the reasons for that might be.

Turns out, it’s a pretty complex problem.

Freight shipping is in the midst of a unique and unusual predicament. An unforeseen cascade of events caused by the pandemic has us facing a worldwide container shortage crisis. It’s a crisis because the lack of containers has a ripple effect down entire supply chains, disrupting trade on a global scale.

As the pandemic spread out from its Asian epicentre, countries implemented lockdowns, halting economic movements and production. Many factories closed temporarily, causing large numbers of containers to be stopped at ports. To stabilize costs and the erosion of ocean rates, carriers reduced the number of vessels out at sea. Not only did this put the brakes on import and export, it also meant empty containers were not picked up. This was especially significant for Asian traders, who couldn’t retrieve empty containers from North America.

Then, a unique scenario developed. Asia, being the first hit by the pandemic, was also the first to recover. So while China resumed exports earlier than the rest of the world, other nations were (and still are) dealing with restrictions, a reduced workforce and minimal production.

A consequence of this is that almost all of the remaining containers in Asia headed out to Europe and North America, but those containers did not come back quickly enough. Massive workforce disruptions due to coronavirus restrictions in North America affected not only ports, but cargo depots all across the country as well as inland transport lines. Without adequate staffing, containers started to pile up. As borders tightened, customs became more complicated to clear as well, worsening congestion. In addition, there were rapid shifts in tradelane demands that were challenging for carriers to adapt to. 

Now, that seems a little odd, since it doesn’t explain why containers and chassis would be so difficult to find on the US East Coast at all. In fact, the central premise of the article seems to completely contradict the issue my brother has been dealing with every day, for a cpl-three months now. But attentive readers can pick up at least one solid hint from the piece, involving what happens when instant despots—Just add Covid!!™—start behaving as if economies as sprawling as ours can be stopped and started as easily as flicking a light switch on and off, with no unanticipated ill effects.

Maybe Buck’s next link can clear things up a little further.

Never before has the humble ocean shipping container been this important to American business. If you can’t get one, you can’t move your international cargo — and supply has never been tighter. The cost of global trade is now contingent on how many containers exist, where they are and where they aren’t.

How many containers exist is controlled by China. Virtually every ocean shipping container in the world is built there.

Just three Chinese companies account for the majority of production, with Chinese factories now building more than 96% of the world’s dry cargo containers and 100% of the world’s refrigerated containers, according to U.K. consultancy Drewry.

Ahh, the Dinks, then. Quelle surprise.

Buck has plenty more along these lines, but the above ought to provide sufficient confirmation that allowing FederalGovCo to incentivize nominally American corporations to stab their employees in the backs with their own weaponized tax dollars via relocating virtually all US manufacturing to Red China might not have been such a hot idea after all. His closer:

I’ve got a simple idea that can mitigate a whole lot of these problems. Products that are to be sold in the USA can also be manufactured in the USA. Once manufactured, they won’t be impacted by exotic new virus outbreaks in China, or by a lack of Chinese containers, or by backups in Chinese ports, or even by the ick factor of China’s slave labor.

Even if manufacturing is simply moved from China to other countries, it is way past time to disengage from China.

Do I even need to remind anyone that Trump had made a pretty good start on that during his term, having already secured agreements with major US firms to either keep domestic plants running that they had been planning to shut down, or to build new facilities here? Of course, we all know how that ended up.

No Sooner Is Trump Out Of Office, Ford Is Switching US$900 Mln Investment From Ohio To Mexico
The Ford Motor Company has backed out of a pledge to invest US$900 million in an assembly plant near Cleveland, Ohio and will instead switch production to Mexico.

In 2019 – when Donald Trump was president – Ford had promised to invest in the factory in Avon Lake, which employs 1,700 workers producing the Ford E-series van and Super Duty pickup truck.

As a lifelong Ford fanatic, you can easily imagine how I felt about that. Bastards.


18 thoughts on “SO, how’s that globalism working out for ya, anyway?

  1. As a lifelong Ford fanatic, you can easily imagine how I felt about that. Bastards.

    Toyotas and Nissans are built here in the U.S., some of them in Texas.

      1. *snicker* Knew that’d get a rise. 🙂

        Meh. I personally find the Ford vs Chevy/GM vs Dodge people wars to be fucking stupid.

        All I want out of a vehicle is for it to do what I bought it for, start when I crank it, run well, get me from point A to point B, and be reliable. It does that, then I really don’t give a runny shit what emblem it has on the grill.

        I’ve had Fords, Chevys, Dodges, AMTs, Mazdas, and Datsuns that I would swear by, I’ve also had Fords, Chevys, Dodges, AMTs, Mazdas, and Datsuns that I would swear at, loudly and frequently.

        Oddly enough, most of the ‘Yotas I’ve known have been fucking bulletproof.

        At this point in my life, a pox on all their houses, I say!

        But, hey, if y’all Ford Aficionados and Chevy Fanboys want to slug it out in the Great Eternal Feud until the very last Hatfield and McCoy are up on blocks rusting in the front yard, go fer it.

        1. Meh. I personally find the Ford vs Chevy/GM vs Dodge people wars to be fucking stupid.

          While they are less pertinent than they were in my youth, they still persist in my mind because of loyalty I suppose.

          Chevy Vs Ford. I was a Chevy guy. I think that is because we had a Chevy while I was growing up.

          The best car wars came in the 60’s when Henry Ford the 30th decided to buy Ferrari. When Enzo backed out with some nasty wording, ole Henry decided to whip Ferrari’s ass on the race track where it mattered. Ford assembled perhaps the best team of racing talent ever in one place and not only beat Ferrari in the greatest of the european races, the 24 hours of Le Mans, but beat them badly. Ferrari, winners from 1960 – 1965 would see Ford win the next 4 years in the GT-40 and place positions 1-3 in 1966.

          That was a car war where I was pulling for Ford, and it was one hell of a car war. The best ever.

          1. We had a Chrysler station wagon when I was growing up, until my dad had a severe leg injury and couldn’t drive (he couldn’t walk for almost two years, much less drive) and it was sold to help with expenses. Then we were carless until I got my hardship lisence and my first car: a shit brown Chevy Monte-carlo.

            I learned how to drive on my great uncle’s ’49 Ford pickup truck at the age of around 11 or 12, in a pasture and on Oklahoma back roads.

            My second car, and the one that actually ran well, was a ’71 Dodge Challenger. My third was a Jeep.

            One of my best cars was a Datsun 280ZX that was pretty hot.

            I suspect that it’s because I owned or drove just about every single brand at one time or another over a 40 year period with a variety of experiences with them that kept me from having any brand loyalties.

            1. I’ve had something other than Chevy’s a time or 2.

              A partial list would include:
              MG +
              Buick +
              Oldsmobile +
              Cadillac +
              Mercedes +
              Plymouth (Mitsubishi actually)

              + means more than one
              I’m sure I left something out.
              At the moment I have two Chevy’s (Suburban, Avalanche) and a Mercedes, all were purchased used.

              Chevy is the king. Unless it’s Le Mans. Ford owns that place forever.

          2. In drag racing it was the factory wars of the 60’s -80’s between Ford, Chevy, and Mopar plus Pontiac, Olds, AMC and Buick factions that were competitive.

            My “Chevy” allegiance is based upon that. I haven’t actually owned a Chevy since my first hand me down car. Then an Olds or two (both used) and I’ve owned Japanese brands ever since. Oops and a second car that was a Benz when I lived in HK.

            1. Those “wars” worked well and made the whole scene much more exciting.

  2. As I keep saying, the problem isn’t Trump failures, the problem is Trump’s not in office.

    Trump did damn near everything as well as it could be done given the situation. Rewriting history doesn’t change that. Pretending that pointing out the truth of the situation makes one a sycophant is just deliberate misrepresentation.

    Trump is the only candidate that we know will take on China. Others may talk a big game, but then R’s always do and then they do nothing. Trump is the only one we know will do it.

    The problem is that Trump is not in office.

    And China is the number one problem.

    1. It is remarkable (to the low info types and all Democrats, anyway, but I repeat myself) how many issues Trump was pushing in the right direction. Less successfully and fully than we might have hoped in many cases, perhaps, but in the right direction.

      So the Biden misadministration took control and defined their policy platform as “reverse everything Trump did, because Orange Man Bad.” And to their immense shock, pretty much everything has quickly gone to hell. Unexpectedly (to them), we are back to seeing the media call economic and employment numbers “unexpectedly” bad.

      1. And he did it with no help. By “no help” I mean the entire federal government and both parties fighting him in a death match.

      2. Agreed, Haz, except with the caveat that I think they intended it to all go to hell.

        Sufficiently advanced malice is indistinguishable from incompetence..

    2. The more I think about DeSantis the more unsettled I get.

      Cruz is another one that had come around to Trump’s position and was at least talking about the Stolen Election and investigating it.

      DeSantis is sucking the air out of the room for people like Cruz, Rand Paul, Pompeo and even Trump himself.

      Which makes me think I’m being played here. It’s so typical GOPe to establish the Frontrunner and Expected Conservative Champion early after the last election. Well, the DeSantis Parade pretty much started Jan 21 if not sooner.

      1. While I have some uncertainty about DeSantis, I’m thinking the ticket is Trump/DeSantis.

        Might be surprised though if Trump decides to run again. Personally I think he’d be crazy to do it.

      2. He did start making the headlines constantly shortly after the Pretender was inaugurated, didn’t he?

        As my housemate and I were joking, we pictured Noem and Stitt looking at all of the “DeSantis! DeSantis! DeSantis!” all the time and going, “The ‘fuck are we? Chopped liver? We were saying ‘Fuck you’ to the COVID hysterics before anyone even heard of DeSantis!”

        Has anyone checked DeSantis’ bedroom to see if there’s a live girl or a dead boy in his bed?:)

        1. While checking, look around for alien pods and human skin suits as well.

        2. You mentioned that here somewhere or other.
          Noem sorta ended her speculative run by bowing to the NCAA.

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