Day 10: A Day of Great ImPortance

Today when we boarded the bus, we were met with a new face. Mac Sullivan, the China Trade Lane Manager for Toll Global Forwarding was to be our personal tour guide for the day. The travel time to the Yangshan port was almost 2 hours, but he kept us engaged by talking about how international shipping works. Though I am studying engineering, many of the topics he talked about, such as efficiently booking ships and minimizing travel time and cost, were very relevant to the engineering profession. He also kept saying that in a few years his job would most likely be obsolete, replaced by advanced algorithms. The last leg of the journey was over the second longest bridge in the world, and by the time we were halfway across we could barely see land in any direction. The island itself was beautiful, looking like something that might be found of the coast of Maine… that is until we saw the shipping yards. For miles, the containers seemed to stretch out along the shoreline, with dozens of cranes, and hundreds of lifts scattered throughout. It almost seemed as if we were peering into an anthill from our hilltop viewing point. As Mr. Sullivan explained, these facilities shipped out over 30 million containers a year, making it the largest in the world. Unfortunately, we only had 45 minutes to look around before we were back on the bus. The bright side of this is that we returned to the hotel by 2 pm. I used this time to meet up with my friend, Ian, who had been studying in Shanghai NYU this year. I took a few other kids from our group with me on the subway to the Pudong section of the city. There, Ian took us to a place that sold shanghai style dumplings for only 8 yuan. Afterwards we walked around the city while we caught up about the events of the past year. It seemed like Ian was happy here, and I couldn’t believe how successful he had been in adjusting to the culture. I felt really excited for all the opportunities China was presenting him.

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