The World’s Largest Claw Game

I was eager to begin day eleven due to my minimal exposure to any sort of shipping port or terminal. To be honest, I didn’t know much about the logistics, entire process, or even what it looked like. I figured it would be quite the operation, but seeing Cat Lai Terminal with my own eyes really put everything into perspective.

The entrance for the port really caught my attention. Immediately, you notice an endless flow of semi-trucks without cargo containers on the back. It’s busy, it’s chaotic, but oddly enough, everything appears to flow. Despite the mess, everyone seems to know exactly what they’re doing.

Crane operators

As the largest port in Vietnam, Cat Lai Terminal receives a countless amount of shipments each day. Twenty-four hours a day, 360 days a year, the workers of this port move the cargo containers from the trucks to the terminal to the boats (and vice versa). It was incredible to watch the constant movement of each different section. I was in awe of the crane operator’s ability; moving the boxes seems impossible, but I can’t even fathom having to fit them in a small, narrow space. Luckily, I was informed that the ordering of the boxes follows a systemic organization. The occurrence of needing a container from the middle column, bottom row happens very infrequently (thank goodness).

I found Cat Lai Terminal to be one of the best examples of globalization and development we have seen on this trip. As one of the largest ports in Southeast Asia, their network of clients must be enormous. The containers I saw from China, Korea, Hungary, etc. show that they are a reliable terminal that handles many different companies’ cargo. Their continuous cycle of operation demonstrates the significant amount of growth that Vietnam has accomplished in order to remain such a large competitor in the industry. I was impressed to learn that they own over 90% of the market share!

As the number of received imports and exports increase, Cat Lai will be forced to develop further. Fortunately, they plan on using smart ports, ship upsizing, and 4.0 industrial revolutions in order to accommodate the anticipated growth. By investing in their other ports in Vietnam, Cat Lai will increase their power considerably while building an even stronger reputation.

Our last stop for the day was at the Reunification Palace. By this time, most of the group was drenched in sweat. However, I tried my best to listen and pay attention to our tour guide’s presentation.

In short, the palace acted as the home and workplace for the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It made history in 1975 when a North Vietnamese crashed through its large gate, therefore ending the war. On the inside, we toured bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and an endless amount of conference rooms. I really enjoyed the fact that the palace had a “frozen in time” feel. Everything seemed to be left untouched, almost perfectly in tact. It really allowed you to get a feel for the way things were like back then. In today’s time, I believe the Reunification Palace represents Vietnam’s freedom. They carry a large deal of pride for their country, and this landmark is the perfect exemplification of that.

Inside the Reunification Palace

Afterward, we got our beautiful dresses from the tailor. Mine is a beautiful pink color with a teal shade of pants. I look forward to wearing it on Friday!

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