Once again we had to wake up early, which comes as no surprise at this point. However, at least I have an excellent breakfast to look forward to each morning for the remainder of our trip. Following breakfast, we headed outside to the bus. We met our tour guide for the day, Mac. Mac works for Tol Global Forwarding, a logistics company, and he was able to give us a more in-depth explanation of logistics before we arrived at Ocean East. He also told us a little about himself. He attended school at the University of Georgia, can’t fluently speak Mandarin, has now lived in China for 8 years, and since coming to China has created a family of his own. Overall, he was an interesting man with a pretty cool life story up to this point in his life.
We arrived at Ocean East International Logistics and were welcomed by the general manager, Lin Sen. He gave us a presentation on Ocean East and gave us some insight on the future of the industry which included a fully automated workforce, meaning that humans would no longer be necessary for labor. He allowed us to ask questions and then he and Mac talked for a while in front of us about the logistics industry which was very interesting, but challenging to follow at the same time as this was a new topic for us. Following the presentation, we were given safety vests and Lin Sen showed us one of the warehouses. He explained that they were in the process of automating their warehouses and that they had machines (mainly forklifts) doing the work instead of humans. The automated machines are able to work 24/7 which allows for more work to be completed. They even know when they need to be charged and drive themselves to their charging station. This is just a glimpse of the future for Ocean East and the rest of world. More importantly, it’s only the start and I can’t imagine how efficient things like this will be in another 20 years.
After a great visit to Ocean East International Logistics, we had another bus ride to the Yang Shan Deep Water Port. The port is completely manmade only for shipping. To get there you must travel across a 32.5 km (20.2 mi) bridge which was built for the sole purpose of being able to access the port. We learned from Mac that it is the largest shipping port in the world and consists of 4 parts. The 4th part of the port, also the newest and still under construction, is completely automated. The other 3 parts of the port use human labor to get everything done. Mac shared a fact with us to put into perspective how large the port actually was. He told us that the biggest shipping port in the US handles 12 million containers per year, while the Yang Shan port will be handling 36 million per year once the 4th part of the port is completely finished. Personally, I think it’s pretty cool to be able to say I’ve been to the largest shipping port in the world even though it may not seem very appealing as it just consists of cranes and containers that seem to go on forever.
Following our Yang Shan Port visit, we headed back the hotel and Devin and I decided to go to the Shanghai Pearl Market. This is a place for bartering and had things from fake jerseys and designer clothes to jewelry and Peppa Pig stickers. It was easier to barter with the vendors here than it was in Beijing and Xi’an, I’m not really sure why though. It was a successful trip though, as Devin and I got some gifts for people back home and some things for ourselves. After our journey to the Pearl Market, we went back to the hotel and had a ping pong tournament with Kevin, Colin, Nate, and Ben. I’m excited about our final company visits tomorrow to Delphi Technologies and AmCham!