May 16th- Logistics? Who knew it was interesting?

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Today was another day in the beautiful Regal Hotel. After a late night the night before, I was really hoping to sleep in. Unfortunately, this is one of our earliest days that we had over the trip. I woke up at 6:00 for the 7:20 meeting time, and was up and down at breakfast by 6:50. At this point, I have a consistent approach to breakfast at the Regal hotel. I trust their food more than the food in Beijing, so I am willing to drink their milk in cereal and have their juices. I am still hesitant to eat certain foods for fear of upsetting my stomach, so today I had rice puffs and milk, yogurt, potatoes, and apple juice. I was the second person down, and was one of the first waiting to leave for the port.

It was a two-hour drive to the first site visit near the port of Yangshan. We went to the Ocean East Company and heard about logistics and their importance for cross pacific container travel. It was my favorite site visit so far; the speaker really knew his material. In addition, our tour guide was in the container logistics industry and was able to provide truly insightful comments. He questioned the material presented and developed the resulting conversation further. My personal question was on the impact that robotics will have on countries and territories such as India or countries in Africa that have ample labor and are currently providing offshore labor and outsourcing– do they believe that automation will negatively impact these economies? In the short-term, he said that they probably won’t be impacted because of the timetable that it would take to move everything currently established in China or other developed economies to other places. But eventually, they will likely be impacted as more transactional processes will be performed via automation.

After the talk, we headed out to their warehouse to see how their goods are stored. We were able to see the automated vehicles, and saw how they worked around the facility. We had a quick tour, and then headed to the docks and the actual port proper of Yangshan.

The Yangshan port was amazing. The first part we drove by, the phase 4 portion, was completely automated. Our guide, Mac (who spoke fluent English, he is from Virginia), was telling us how the country organized a group of engineers and asked them build the most technologically advanced port in the world and committed the government’s resources to get it done.. The result was Yangshan, which has over 34 million containers coming through it each year. Comparably, the largest port in the US, Los Angeles, has only 12 million containers.

After the Yangshan port, we headed to lunch. It was probably my favorite lunch, just because it was the first restaurant to offer egg rolls, one of my favorite foods. Then we headed home, and my group wrapped up our project.

Before I headed out for the evening, I was able to sign up last-minute to get on the list of those going to the Chinese acrobatics show. One thing that really made it a memorable experience was the fact that it wasn’t perfect. I remember the jugglers were dropping the balls and rackets, but even when they dropped stuff they went on and kept working. Handling adversity and not letting it distract you from accomplishing what you set out to accomplish is a tremendous part of success and I always appreciate those individuals who do not let adversity – even something public like this – stop them from achieving their goal.

I also remember the way people were doing stunts with no regard for their personal safety. People were doing things high in the air with no support, and were doing it stunningly well. I will remember this for the rest of my life.

Shanghai is an amazing city. One of the reasons for Shanghai’s popularity is its night life, and this was the first night we really tried to experience it. We went to a club a few blocks from our hotel, but it wasn’t anything special. Afterwards, a few others and I headed to a quiet bar to talk and have a few drinks. It was something I can’t do in the US, and was something I will look forward to when I turn 21.

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