Imagine You Are a Container: A Global Journey



Olaf Merk, Administrator: Ports and Shipping, the International Transport Forum at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris, France


Imagine you are a container. Choose the size. Choose the colour you want (and remember this because I will come back to it later). You are a container and your journey begins in Asia, let us say Shanghai, you are filled with toys and your destination is Europe. This article will follow your journey to the consumer. On your way we will identify three key challenges.


The trip to Northern Europe will take approximately a month and you will see a lot of things in the meantime. Things that are there to enable the passage of the mega-ship you are sailing on, such as the Suez Canal, recently widened for a cost of US$8 billion. As you approach land, you start to see much more of these things. Things that can also be called
“infrastructure adaptation costs”.

You see:
• Rivers and access channels that need to be wider and deeper so not only small ships can pass
• Turning basins that need to be…

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