Shipping containers and the economy

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An interesting story -- as the economy goes through a periodic adjustment, industrial practices have to compensate. From Telstar Logistics comes this story of shipping containers:
Shipping Container Shortage Plagues American Exports
As every wannabe titan of global industry knows, the value of the US dollar has fallen precipitously in recent months relative to other benchmark currencies like the British Pound, the European Euro and the Japanese Yen. That's bad news if you're an American planning a vacation in London, Paris, or Tokyo. But if you happen to be in the export business, it's a huge opportunity. The dollar's decline makes American-made products significantly cheaper � and more competitive � on international markets, but as the Wall Street Journal reports, a shortage of shipping containers has created big headaches for US exporters. In order to sell the goods, you need to be able to move the goods, but you can't move the goods if you can't find enough shipping containers. The WSJ says:
Finding enough of the big metal boxes used to be a cinch, because the nation's massive hunger for imports meant they were constantly arriving and stacking up from Long Beach, Calif., to Long Island, N.Y. Shipping companies typically scoured the country for anyone willing to fill outgoing boxes. But with the slump in the value of the dollar making U.S. goods more attractive to foreign buyers and many overseas economies continuing to hum, the tide has shifted in recent months. Trade figures being released Thursday are expected by many economists to show further growth in exports.

Shipping containers -- and the way they're handled -- reflect how the U.S. interacts with the global economy, which is one reason the problem has emerged now. For years, the U.S. crafted a trading system that was designed to pull in masses of imported consumers goods such as sneakers and VCRs as efficiently as possible from countries like China. Far less was expected to flow the other way.
A fascinating story -- other uses for shipping containers are as temporary buildings. I have one at the farm for the DaveCave(tm) annex. Works great.

1 Comment

And yet my morning paper had an AP article that said our trade deficit was unexpectedly up, as in the last period we have imported more than ever in history. AP seemed to think that it was a sign of a troubled economy that people were willing to spend so much on consumer purchases...

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on April 10, 2008 9:12 PM.

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