In the morning we went to Tan Cang, Cat Lai Terminal. There, we got a little talk about what they did and some of the logistical difficulties exist in our modern time. For example, only company mother ships are able to ship internationally. Also, Vietnam can’t ship directly to the United States. They have to ship the cargo to a designated trading center like Singapore. There, the cargo can be transferred to the necessary vessel to get to the US. From what it seemed like, the reason for these transfers seemed to be the result of international trade bureaucracy and inefficiencies.
We also got to go around to some of the different areas of the terminal, finishing at the command center. We saw some of the vessels being loaded. It was a pretty cool spectacle. There were huge trucks that would grab the containers from their stacks and drive then over to the loading area, where a giant crane would grab it and put it onto the ship. I believe our guide said there were cranes that could load 17 or 25 crates per hour and that a maximum of 4 cranes were used on one vessel. We also saw shipments of rice from the Mekong Delta being brought by boat to the terminal. These bags of rice were put onto a conveyor belt to bring them ashore. On the conveyor belt, the bags were manually counted by two pairs of men. The first would put a stick down on a bag and the next would pick it up off of the bag. This way, they had two people counting the bags. At the end of the conveyor belt, there was a line of men waiting to carry them somewhere else. At the end of the conveyor belt the men would put the bag on their head and carry it off. Finally, we went to the command center. There was a spectacular view of the shipping yard and inside there were maybe ten men with all the information they could possibly need. They had to a digital map of the yard and all they had to do was click on a container to find out what it was, how much it weighed, and where it was going and when. It was pretty cool. It’s amazing that all this comes together with little error. I’m definitely not totally sure how the international shipping logistics work but I’m intrigued and ready to explore it in future studies.
Later, we went to Independence Palace, which is what it was named before the fall of Saigon and the northern government renamed it Reunification Palace. We took a tour that was filled with beautifully decorated rooms. It seems that in every meeting room, there was a large, extremely detailed painting. It really was a beautiful sight. We also went to the roof and saw the helipad area. Finally, we got to see the bunker which wasn’t too far underground. It was also super hot. It was a cool visit with a lot of history.
Finally, we got our traditional clothing for our last day on Friday. The garment is called an ao dai. It’s a long traditional shirt that splits into its front and back. They’re pretty cool but hard to put on. Even though it’s going to be super hot, it will be cool to wear it on Friday.
Thank you for reading,