We started our morning a bit earlier compared to yesterday because today we were going to two business sites – Ocean East International Logistics and Yang Shan Port. From our hotel, we drove 2 hours to go to the first company. While on the bus, a new guy named Mac joined us. He talked with us on the bus a little bit about who he was, his career, and how he got to where he was now. It was very interesting to hear the perspective of an American who has moved to China.
At the first site, we listened to a presentation by Li Shin, who talked with us about third party logistics and the history of warehouses. While that may not seem like a very interesting presentation, I really enjoyed it because I was able to learn a lot about a topic that I had not previously thought about. I never understood how much work third parties do for other companies or how they work between the two companies, so I was happy to learn about that.
After the presentation, we walked around the site of the company. Before we could do that, we needed to put on some snazzy vibrant safety vests which we all looked amazing in. We walked a little bit around and went to one of their warehouses. The cool part about this warehouse is that it had autonomous forklifts. So, instead of human workers placing pallets of goods on shelves, there were about 5 or 6 autonomous forklifts that did it instead. There was still the human component of unloading the material from the truck itself, but it was still so cool to see. I didn’t think that the technology was there yet for companies to start implementing autonomous technology like this. I was really cool to see how the forklifts interacted with one another because there was a moment when three of them were in the same area and they were able to wait for one another to pass to avoid collisions. This is something I have never seen before, but it’s very exciting to see and to see how companies are progressing as technology is advancing.
After the visit, we went to lunch where we had again such amazing food. I’ve been noticing, the food that has been provided for us has been a lot of the same stuff. I would love to have more variety because while the dishes are delicious, I am getting a bit tired of the same stuff. That being said, we had one new thing at lunch today that kind of resembled an airy rice cake. It was different but in a good way.
From lunch, we went to our next site visit which was the Yang Shan Port, the largest shipping port in the world. The port was located on an island, so to get there, we needed to go over the third largest bridge in the world which was 30 km long. That in itself was really cool because along the way, there were wind turbines in the water. Those wind turbines are only used to power the shipping port which just shows how much power is actually needed for a facility that size.
The port itself was extremely impressive. The first part of the port we passed was completely autonomous just like the warehouse we saw earlier, just on a much larger scale. This autonomous part was apparently finished just 3 months ago so it is fairly new, but still incredible that autonomous robots are able to be applied to a facility on such a large scale. As we continued on the insanely long bridge, we got to the main part of the shipping yard which was ginormous. It just kept going and going, and there were thousands of shipping crates spread out in front of us. Apparently, those crates only stay in the yard for about 24 hours before they’re moved which I just think is insane considering the scale of the yard. It was all very impressive, and actually made me excited to be an industrial engineer. I would love to learn how workers manage the yard and maximize the efficiency of the location of the crates. I just think it would be so interesting to organize all of those crates. I’m so happy we went here because this was something I never knew I would see and I probably wouldn’t have if I hadn’t come on this trip. It was just another moment that I am so incredibly thankful I went on Plus 3.
After we left the port, we had about a 2-hour drive back to the hotel where we had the rest of the night free to explore Shanghai. A few of us wanted to explore local restaurants, so we went around the area and tried different foods at different places. It was so much food, but all very delicious. We walked around the area to burn off some calories and went into a one of the many malls that were in the area. Malls here are weird because instead of walls separating each store, it was all open. So different brands were just next to each other with nothing separating them, which I thought that was strange. After walking around so much all day, we all came back, and I slept very soundly.