Contain Your Enthusiasm

They are huge. They are unsightly. They power the global economy. But we landlubbers didn’t pay them much attention until one got stuck in the Suez Canal and then a whole lot of them suffered delays so extreme that the global economy faltered as the wind was taken out of our collective air fryer. Now that seeing ships pass in night (even though they were scheduled to pass during the day) inspires more curiosity, one often wonders what exactly is in those stacked containers. The answer is floating to a shore near you. Kathryn Schulz in The New Yorker: When Shipping Containers Sink in the Drink. “Things have been tumbling off boats into the ocean for as long as humans have been a seafaring species, which is to say, at least ten thousand and possibly more than a hundred thousand years. But the specific kind of tumbling off a boat that befell the nearly five million Lego pieces of the Tokio Express is part of a much more recent phenomenon, dating only to about the nineteen-fifties and known in the shipping industry as ‘container loss.’ Technically, the term refers to containers that do not make it to their destination for whatever reason: stolen in port, burned up in a shipboard fire, seized by pirates, blown up in an act of war. But the most common way for a container to get lost is by ending up in the ocean, generally by falling off a ship but occasionally by going down with one when it sinks.” (If you’re tired of waiting by the mailbox, you can always wait at the beach.)

+ “Enormous container ships ferry goods all over the world, but when one of them gets into trouble – as happened with the Ever Given and Ever Forward recently – how can they be saved?” It’s a niche industry focused on very big problems. How to rescue the world’s biggest cargo ships.

+ There’s currently an additional challenge hampering the delivery of products to their ultimate destination. “Though most consumers shake their heads at the cost of gasoline and complain about the cost of filling up their car tanks, what they really should be worried about is the price of diesel. The U.S. economy runs on diesel. It’s what powers the container ships that bring goods from Asia and the trucks that collect goods from the ports and bring them to warehouses and then to your home.” Time: Inflation is Going to Get Worse. Blame a Lack of Diesel.

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