Big Ship Creates Big Backlog

Big Ship Creates Big Backlog

When the Ever Given got stuck in the Suez Canal, its gigantic size became a gigantic problem.

To support an ever-expanding global trade, ship size has been increasing for decades. Today, the largest ships can carry between 18,000 and 24,000 containers.  A larger cargo makes perfect economic sense because the cost of shipping one container decreases as cargo capacity increases. However, when things go wrong, big ships mean big disruptions in an already strained global supply chain. It is estimated that the stranded ship held up 12% of global trade at an estimated cost of $9.6 billion a day. This financial and logistic threat, along with more elusive cost savings in the future, may signal the need for fresh ideas in global shipping.

 


Video Spotlight: The Ripple Effects of the Backlog


This post is based on The New York Times article, Why the World’s Container Ships Grew So Big, by N. Chokshi, March 30, 2021, and the YouTube video, Cargo Ship Freed from Suez Canal, but Shipping Backlog Could Last, by CBC News: The National, March 29, 2021. Image source: (c) Glow Images/SuperStock.

Discussion Questions:

1. Will the short-lived blockage have a major Continue reading

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The Impact of COVID-19 on Hospital Resources

The Impact of COVID-19 on Hospital Resources

March 11, 2021

 

 

Healthcare professionals are often described as the heroes of the COVID-19 crisis.

For more than a year, they have shown a remarkable resilience. Under extreme duress, they have expanded their skill repertoire and stretched their own physical and emotional limits to provide complex and compassionate care. The article underscores the difficulty of formulating capacity plans to  respond quickly and effectively to successive surges in demand while normal revenue streams are constrained.

 


Video Spotlight: Burnout in the ICU


This post is based on The New York Times article, See How Covid-19 Has Tested the Limits of Hospitals and Staff, by J. Keefe, Y. Parshina-Kottas, & S. Fink, February 23, 2021, and the YouTube video, COVID-19: Doctors and Nurses Talk about Burnout as Another Wave Hits U.S., by TIME, November 23, 2020. Image source: Chaikom/Shutterstock.

Discussion Questions:

1. Describe the capacity plans needed to deal with sudden increases in demand volume and mix?

Guidance: To overcome the increased utilization of ICUs around the country, new areas have been repurposed and can accommodate COVID-19 patients. The staffing of these expanded ICUs has been more challenging. ICU care requires specialized personnel. As a result, pulling Continue reading

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Decarbonizing with Renewable Natural Gas

Decarbonizing with Renewable Natural Gas

March 9, 2021

Can gas companies play a role in the pursuit of net-zero emissions? They are trying.

Fossil fuel companies are well aware that the growing appeal of net-zero carbon emissions to businesses, governments, and individuals around the world threatens their very own existence. Fighting for their survival, some gas companies have decided to join the movement rather than resist it. They are exploring various options to produce a carbon-neutral mixture of renewable gas. As major companies like Intel and Walmart transition to cleaner energy, there is a sense of urgency among these companies to partner with other clean energy producers and remain relevant in a net-zero emissions economy.

 


Video Spotlight: Renewable Gas


This post is based on the NPR article, Natural Gas Companies Have Their Own Plans to Go Low-Carbon, by C. Profita, February 21, 2021, and the YouTube video, Digesting the Facts about Renewable Natural Gas, by Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), July 13, 2018. Image source: McGraw-Hill Education.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the threats to and opportunities for the development of carbon-neutral mixtures of renewable gas?

Guidance: The opportunities include: 1) the availability of other products and technologies that make this development Continue reading

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