RLL Container Report - 06 December 2017
From: John Keir, Ross Learmont Ltd. Email: email@example.com Date: 06 December 2017
While China has invested massively in container ports and terminals close to all the major centres of production, it may come as a surprise that the government does not consider containerisation of domestic cargoes to be a major priority. The reason for this apparent anomaly is that the government has other, more pressing priorities. One of those is that the defence of the country’s borders is the first priority of any government and so these rather conservative gentlemen are not inclined to tear up large stretches of strategic rail routes just to suit the exporters of consumer items to North America and Europe. Equally important, the powers-that-be in Beijing have a good grasp of Chinese politics and history, including famines.
The main threat to any government in China is not invasion or plague. The army can take care of the former threat, while the medical institutions now have a good grip on the pulse of the nation and are quick to spot and deal with any major epidemic outbreak. What the politicians and administrators have no control over is the weather and its effect on the annual harvest of grain and of rice. History has taught the Mandarins that China will at some stage suffer a poor harvest that could have major political implications for the government in Beijing. For this reason, Beijing has decided to subsidise the creation of regional hubs capable of storing and distributing large reserves of grain to the respective provinces.
The government will provide funds to construct or upgrade silos to store large reserves of grain. Critically, these storage sites will be located along the main rail arteries, allowing fast and efficient distribution of supplies to areas of urgent need. The government will also require that such storage sites be in place by 2020 and be maintained to a high standard in order to reduce the very high losses being sustained at the current storage sites. The new grain facilities will cover 20 hectares and each should be capable of storing one hundred thousand tonnes. In order to get the project up and running as quickly as possible, the government will invest USD 15 million in each of these storage facilities. At the same time as upgrading the rail storage facilities, the government will order the construction of similar storage facilities along the Yangtze and Pearl rivers. The large barge fleets on both these rivers will supplement the efforts of the railways by distributing the grain to the places of need.
Now, if you think this is a good idea but could never be implemented in a democratic society such as the US or the members of the European Union, think again. Should they be required, the authorities on both sides of the North Atlantic could call on emergency measures to take over not only the containers but also all the handling equipment and, if required, even the experienced personnel. The terminals could immediately identify those containers that are “foodgrade” and could also arrange the transport non-food items to the scene of the emergency.
John Keir, Ross Learmont Ltd.
06 December 2017
Copyright ©, 2017, John Keir