Today our planned activities revolved around ports as we did both a port visit and also a visit to a logistics company that is partially responsible for exporting the goods you and I use and love in our everyday lives.
We start at Ocean East International Logistics where, Lin Sen, General Manager of Ocean East, gave us an amazing presentation. He did an exceptional job explaining the work of his company and furthermore the future of the logistics industry as a whole. Our “tour guide,” Mac, who was more of an instructor as he himself was in the logistics industry, explained most of the industry jargon before we arrived so we weren’t completely confused with high level logistics wording. Also, Mac joined us on the company visit which was a subtle but important aspect to the day. Mac and Lin Sen went back and forth at times with more in depth conversation regarding different aspects of the industry. Naturally, I tried to follow those two along and also pay attention as much as I could because listening to those two brains brought heightened insight, in comparison just what we had as a group. One thing that I thought was quite interesting was that Lin Sen originally studied finance. I, currently studying finance, was intrigued because his field and current position are not what most finance majors dream of. Not saying he was not successful, I mean he was the General Manager of a massive subsidiary of DAMCO, but logistics is just not the typical path for finance majors. So I asked him how he ended up there at Ocean East. He told me that his current position is a labor of love, he truly enjoys his work now as compared to where he could have ended up if he continued with finance. So who knows, as I continue to develop as a profession maybe I, as well, will end up in a completely different field. After the presentation, we had the opportunity to see on of their warehouses. We got our safety equipment and took the short walk over to one of their warehouses. While this may not seem like it would be the most exciting thing, it really was interesting and thought provoking. How so? They were currently in Phase I of automating their warehouse. So, instead of having humans pilot forklifts to do the work they had Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) doing that work. It was really interesting to see driverless forklifts moving around the factory. We even got to see on the fork lights grab a pallet from the highest level without any human intervention. All the AGVs brought their loads over to the door where humans were necessary to complete the next step, loading the packages from pallet to truck. All in all, the automation allows for 2,000 pallets a day to be moved, they forklifts can work 24/7 and have abilities to take themselves back to their charging docks. Automation, in Ocean East specifically, reduces costs 37%, increases productivity 32%, reduces labor dependency, labor risks, and streamline costs as well. Our world and technology are headed in an interesting direction full of opportunity and excitement, can’t wait to see where we’re headed!
After our visit we went to the Yang Shan port on the east coast of China. I guarantee you have all have products that you use in your daily life that come thru this port on a daily basis. The lot has roughly 1M containers in the yard at any given day and within three days, all 1M of those containers will have been shipped out and replaced with other containers. While I did not originally seek out China to go to the world’s biggest port, I can now say I have been there and it was extremely interesting, even if it was not as big a of a tourist hub as the other sights I have seen. The 20 and 40 foot containers that decorated the massive courtyard went on for seemingly forever. It was like nothing I have ever seen before. Maybe, in the ports I have seen, there have been 5 to 10 cranes helping to load and unload boats, but here there was hundreds. Like I said, I would go to China to see this port specifically, but I am grateful for having the opportunity to have seen it.
Once we got back to the hotel some friends and I decided to head to M50, one of the biggest art districts in all of Shanghai. While some galleries were closing by the time we got we had opportunity to view a multitude of galleries that were still open as well as the beautiful graffiti that decorated the area. One interesting aspect of Chinese culture is that the only places I have seen graffiti have been the two art districts that I visited. What I really liked about M50 was that they were all individual studios that doubled as galleries. What I mean is, artists rented out galleries within M50 to be their galleries where they can sell their art, but it was also their studio and we got see artists in the middle of painting in a view different studios. I wish I would have done my due diligence before I came to China about their artists because it was a coveted area and I had no context to the artists and their importance which would have been awesome to know along with viewing their works.
After meandering around the gallery we found a little cafe that served the best homemade ice-cream I have ever had. My cone was quite unique. I included a picture below, I want you all to try and guess what flavor the top and bottom scoops were. In tomorrow’s blog I will reveal what they were so make sure you come back to find out.
Next door to the cafe was a streetwear consignment store called Cash. This was right up my alley as it had tons of the brands that I know and love. It was an extremely nice shop so it was another opportunity to see all the clothes I have only ever seen online. They also had a tattoo shop on loft level above the shop and by the looks of the art around the tattoo shop, it must been extremely sought after because it all looked beautiful. I wish I spoke the language so I could have interacted with the employees more than just “hi,” “thank you,” and “bye.” I loved the culture of this consignment shop. If I ever sell a startup to a tech giant for millions you may find me opening up a consignment somewhere in the world, but stay tuned for that.
Finally, it was time to head back to the hotel. As we were searching for a cab we stumbled upon Urban Grille, a Mediterranean restaurant and after 10 plus days of primarily eating Chinese food this was much needed. I ended up getting a Mediterranean style pizza topped with an array of peppers and meat, it was quite excellent and like I said, much needed.
After the busy day, me and my friends went back to the hotel and had an extremely fun table tennis tournament between us.
Tomorrow brings two company visits. Come back tomorrow to find out more!