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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Ready to Ration Care in Utah

Ready to Ration Care in Utah

 

After numerous warnings, Utah hospitals are preparing to ration care.

With soaring numbers of coronavirus cases, Utah hospitals have seen their ICUs reach dangerously high occupancy levels and have been forced to do the unthinkable: prepare to ration care. Under the Utah Crisis Standards of Care, protocols for deciding who gets ICU space or ventilators aim at doing the greatest good for the greatest number. In other words, some patients will have to be sacrificed to make room for others with better prospects of survival. It is hoped that the chilling guidelines will persuade Utahns to be more vigilant about limiting the spread of the virus.

 


Video Spotlight: Shortage of ICU Resources in Utah


This post is based on The Salt Lake Tribune article, Utah’s Hospitals Prepare to Ration Care as a Record Number of Coronavirus Patients Flood Their ICUs, by E. Alberty and S.P. Means, October 25, 2020, and the YouTube video, A Utah Infectious Disease Doctor on His State’s Coronavirus Crisis , by PBS NewsHour, October 26, 2020. Image source: Pordee_Aomboon / Shutterstock.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the factors contributing to the high occupancy rates of ICUs? Why is it difficult to Continue reading

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Cherry Picking: A Race Against Time

Cherry Picking: A Race Against Time

 

Cherries are a delicate and showy crop with an extremely short window from harvest to consumption.

By contrast, their growers are resilient people, and their pickers are highly skilled individuals with a high tolerance for harsh working conditions. This article describes the requirements for a successful harvest and addresses the challenges growers and pickers face to deliver the quality that consumers demand. It paints a thought-provoking picture of the race to secure the scarce capacity needed to harvest a product that we all take for granted.


Video Spotlight: Essential Workers Needed for Cherry Harvest


This post is based on The New York Times Magazine article, The Scramble to Pluck 24 Billion Cherries in Eight Weeks, by B. Jarvis, August 12, 2020, and the YouTube video, Cherry Farmers Worried About Harvest Season During Coronavirus Pandemic , by ABC10, April 13, 2020. Image source: nosonjai© 123RF.com.

Discussion Questions:

1. For cherry growers, what uncertainties threaten a successful season? How do they affect operations?

Guidance: The uncertainties include weather, foreign competition, lead time, and available capacity in terms of bees, refrigeration, bins, trucks, and most importantly, highly skilled labor. If there is too much rain, fans, wind Continue reading

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