Sunday, July 09, 2006

Shipping Containers

In my little bubble world, I thought that shipping containers were something that merely clogged up the highways at inopportune times. I had never given any thought to what happens to all those shipping containers. I had assumed, that they were reused for shipping goods back and forth.

What happens, when the goods are shipped only one way? The shipping containers would be sent back empty for reuse. Surely they were too valuable to let pile up?

I was wrong. Read this article in the LATimes. The shipping containers are piled up in poor neighborhoods-sometimes stacked 7 high. The print version of the article has an accompanying graphic showing the number of incoming and outgoing shipping containers in Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors by year. (The graph is missing in from which is another good reason to subscribe to the hardcopy.) In essence, the graph shows the outgoing shipping containers remaining relatively constant, 2.4 million in 2005, while the incoming climbs relentlessly from 2.6 million in 1995 to 7.2 million in 2005.

earlier post: Goodie Bags and the Wealth of Nations

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