Ports on Ports

Today was an early morning. We had to meet at 7:30 because we were traveling to Yangshan Deep-Water Port which was a two-hour drive. During the bus ride, the Asia Institute got a Pitt alumnus who lives in China to talk to us. She discussed and answered questions about what living in China is actually like and what she likes about it. An interesting point she made was when she asked us how big we thought Amazon was. As it turns out, Amazon is only in America, for the most part, and barely has any hold in the Chinese e-commerce market. The Chinese e-commerce market is dominated by Alibaba along with Jingdong. It was weird to see how a company that influences us so much, has little influence elsewhere.

On the way to the port we crossed a bridge that I was almost certain would dump us into the middle of the ocean. The bridge was a continuous 20-mile stretch. When we finally got to the port, it was massive. Yangshan Port was built within the last five years. It was constructed in two stages; the first stage is now complete and only took six months to build. The rows of shipping containers seemed to never end. There were probably 50  cranes along the dock waiting to load the cargo ships. I saw three ships being loaded while we were there, with a handful of other ships just entering or just leaving the port. The logistics behind running that port is mind boggling.

After seeing the Yangshan Deep-Water Port, we traveled to a logistics company called Lingang Modern Logistics. They are a government owned port that deals solely with the logistics of shipping, but not the physical movement of the goods. They contract with outside companies to move the goods from one destination to another. The biggest companies Lingang Modern Logistics works with is BMW, Siemens, Porsche, and Costco. They ship the most to and from New Zealand which means their biggest product, in quantity, is Kiwi’s.

Following the presentation, we were able to go out on to their port. This port was much smaller than Yangshan Deep-Water Port, but still had several ships being unloaded while we were there. The most interesting ship was the Ro-Ro ship. It is used to ship cars and is essentially and floating, mobile parking garage. Each Ro-Ro ship can hold 2,300 cars. The use of cranes is not needed because the ship allows cars to be driven on and off of it. With that being said, it still takes 18 hours to unload a full Ro-Ro ship.

Ro-Ro Ship

Lunch was provided by the company and was very local, to say the least. The first thing that caught my eye was the entire shrimp with its head and legs still attached. This didn’t gross me out, but did stop me from eating it because the only utensil I had was chopsticks, and I definitely wasn’t biting the head off. Then there was a fishy tasting dish that Liliana described as, “not snails, like I don’t know”. And finally, the crown jewel of “uh what is that?” I asked Liliana before eating the mystery meat, but she wouldn’t tell me until I tried it. So, I found a small piece and ate it. It was okay, not bad. Again, I asked Liliana what it was, and she responded with, “turtle”. I may or may not have freaked out a bit, especially since I have a pet turtle at home. Needless to say, I’m glad I tried it, but will never touch it again.

Everyone agreed that for dinner we didn’t want Chinese food, especially after that lunch. A group of us ended up going to a gastro pub that served burgers. It was amazing having some American food that actually had salt.

It’s crazy that tonight is our last night in China; I think I could stay another week in Shanghai. There is so much to see and explore even though we have seen so much over the past two weeks.

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