Day 10: Holy Port!

Today we took a trip to the second largest port in the world: Yangshan Port. Since the port was a two hour drive from our hotel, a guest speaker, Mac Sullivan, gave us a crash course on the port and logistics. Sullivan is an American living and working abroad in Shanghai because of the opportunities the city presents for his career, logistics. Employed by Toll Global Forwarding, Sullivan works to drive freight forwarding along the bilateral trade line between China and the United States.

Before this experience, I honestly had no idea what logistics was or its importance in business. Furthermore, I never really considered how much thought and arrangement has to go into transporting goods overseas. I thought it was interesting how the speaker made the analogy between his job as a freight forwarder and a “travel agent for freight.” That made it easier for me to understand what exactly he does and the innumerable factors he has to consider beyond just the origin and destination, such as the commodity being shipped, the weight of the container, how the good will be passed through customs, and the insurance requirements of the shipping company.

Once we got to the port I was (for what seemed like the hundredth) astonished by the sheer size of it; it seemed to expand for miles into the horizon. After spending a half hour taking in the view from a hilltop, it occurred to me that China’s massive population influence innumerable aspects of its society, from the country’s use of technology to its port size.

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