Think about it …

Seen in the “Asia News” on March 26, 2006:
“Seaports urged to prepare for arrival of mega-container ships”

“SINGAPORE (AFP) – Global seaports must carry out massive expansion and modernization within the next decade to cope with the entry of mega-container ships carrying an ever-increasing volume of global trade, industry players say.

“As countries build new airport terminals or renovate existing ones to accommodate the new double-decker Airbus A380 jetliner, seaports also need to build wider berths, automate cargo handling and storage facilities and invest in bigger cranes, the industry players told a cargo-handling conference in Singapore …

“‘The size of the vessels is increasing, yet ports … have been struggling over recent years to cope,'” said Satoshi Inoue, secretary-general of the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH).

“‘Already, we are experiencing serious congestion in major ports in the world, particularly in the United States and Northern Europe,'” he told the conference on Wednesday organised by the International Cargo Handling Coordinating Association (ICHCA). ‘In 10 years’ time, the world’s ports need to more than double their capacity in handling if they are to play a central role in the global logistics system.’

“This means having to turn around much bigger ships, including vessels being planned to carry up to 14,500 20-foot container boxes – more than double the size of current sixth-generation ships with capacities of between 6,000 and 7,000 boxes.

“By 2010, the number of ‘post-Panamax’ ships – modern vessels that are too big to pass through the Panama Canal – would number 682, nearly double the current fleet of 391, ICHCA International Ltd director Peter Bosmans said.

“He said the biggest container ship currently in service can carry 9,200 20-foot equivalent units (TEU), but there are plans to construct even bigger vessels capable of 14,500 TEUs.

“These planned mega-container ships would be nearly 400 meters (1,320 feet) long, 54.2 meters wide and 27.2 meters in height, with the draft – the depth of water needed to float them – similar to other big ships at 15 meters.

“The highest point on these ships would be 60 meters, meaning bridges along commercial sea lanes need to be constructed higher.

“‘These (mega-container) ships are not yet expected for the next five years, but boy, we are ready to build them,’ Bosmans said …”
“Mervin Chetty, chief strategy officer of the South African Port Operations, said 57 percent of container vessels currently on order are for those that can carry more than 8,000 TEUs.

“‘It is interesting to note that some of the terminals and the ports and the hinterland connectivity … are not keeping up with some of these developments,’ Chetty added.

“No estimates were given on how much investment is needed to build new seaports or upgrade existing ones. But Barry Cable, director of the transport and tourism division at the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) said the region needs 260 billion US dollars in investment in the transport sector, including the shipping sector, between now and 2115.

“Bosmans said there is evidence that container terminals, especially in Asia, are preparing to handle bigger ships and larger cargo volumes. For example, 234 ship-to-shore cranes were sold worldwide in 2005, with 56 percent of the deliveries going to China and other Asian ports. More than 20 percent were delivered to Europe, 10 percent to North America and 7.3 percent to the Middle East.

“Nearly 48 percent of the cranes have a height of at least 60 meters, enabling them to service ships with a capacity of more than 12,000 TEUs. Seventy-two of the cranes are designed to handle ships that could carry more than 14,000 TEUs.

“‘It is becoming clear that more and more container terminals are already preparing for the next-generation of ultra-large container ships,’ Bosmans said.

“Inoue of IAPH said aside from physical expansion, ports need to invest in high-speed sorting systems and automated storage facilities, build logistics hubs within the complexes, and connect ports that are serviced by trains.

“Cable of UNESCAP said the building of more inland ports would bring the fruits of economic development to land-locked regions and countries.”
These overseas billionaires feel they can manipulate gullible U.S. taxpaying consumers. Such gall!!

– The “serious congestion … particularly in the United States and Northern Europe” is a result of the ever-increasing numbers and sizes of mega-ships designed and built in Asian shipyards … so why shouldn’t the Asians bear the cost of accommodating their own behemoths?
– In spite of the fact that neither the mega-ships nor the goods being shipped are made in America, Americans are expected to continue paying “cost-plus” for everything.
– “… some of the terminals and the ports and the hinterland connectivity … are not keeping up with some of these developments.” [We’re being scolded as well as scalded.]
– “Bosmans said there is evidence that container terminals, especially in Asia, are preparing to handle bigger ships and larger cargo volumes.” [Why not? Americans are paying for it.]

[What would the Asians do if we ignored the “urging” and told them to pay for the U.S. expansion they’re demanding? Would they risk losing the U.S. market, shutting down their manufacturing facilities and putting their fleets in mothballs? They’d pay, that’s what they’d do. Think about it.]