How Container Ships Work

How Container Ships Work

This video is sponsored by Skillshare The first 500 people to use the link in the
description get their first two months free. This is the Cavendish banana. Or, for most of the world, just “banana”. Because this one species accounts for 99%
of exports, and is bought more than any other item at
the grocery store. Walmart’s bread and butter isn’t actually
bread or butter, but bananas. And it’s one of the most important crops
in developing countries, along with staples like rice, corn, and wheat. Which makes sense, Bananas are nutritious,
conveniently packaged by nature, and, dirt cheap. In the United States, bananas cost an average
of just 56 cents a pound. Roughly 19 cents each. Cheap enough that Amazon just gave them away
in Seattle. And that’s from a company which… literally sells air. Oranges, in comparison, cost just over two
dollars a pound. Strawberries, three thirty-four, and apples,
a dollar sixty-two. The difference is, bananas are picky. They require extremely rich soil, protection
from the wind, and lots of water. They can really only grow in this narrow region
– about 30 degrees north or south of the equator. That eliminates Europe and most of the United
States, give or take a volcano and alligator. So, if you live here, in the banana belt,
a country like Brazil, India, or China, your bananas are grown locally. For the rest of us, they’re imported from
Central and South America – usually Ecuador, Guatemala, or Costa Rica. Apples, on the other hand, take what they
can get. They survive in many types of soil, and withstand
both cold winters and warm summers, with not one, but thousands of different varieties. So, why after being shipped 3, or 4, or 6
thousand miles away are bananas still cheaper than apples grown a few blocks away? The answer is, largely: the container. The story of the banana and 90% of everything
we buy is that of the container ship, and how it forever changed the global economy. But first, let’s rewind. There are many ways to get goods from one
place to another. Planes are fast, trucks are precise, and trains
are efficient. But water is by far the cheapest. There are no roads to build, or intersections
to stop at, and once a ship starts moving, it requires very little attention. Some of the biggest container ships in the
world are manned by just 13 crew members. And companies like Rolls-Royce are developing
self-driving versions as we speak. The problem, until recently, was moving cargo
onto and off of the ship, which often took even more time than actually sailing. That’s because workers had to lift, carry,
and drag everything from barrels, to crates, and heavy bags. Not so fun. And not very fast. A journey from New York to Europe, for example,
might only take 12 days, but loading and unloading would take another 7. That’s 7 full days it could’ve spent delivering
more cargo. Therefore, 7 full days added to the cost of
shipping. Port fees, dock workers, and their equipment
accounted for 60-75% of the cost of shipping. So, by the time a product reached our shelves,
its price would have to be raised an average 12% to make up for it. But everything changed with the container. Companies realized they weren’t in the business
of shipping bananas, or cars, or phones, They were in the business of… shipping. What’s inside the box shouldn’t matter,
their job is generic, efficient transportation. In fact, today, crew members don’t even
know most of what they’re carrying. If shipping companies could take everything
and put it in a single size box, they could turn thousands of individual problems into
just one: How to move a known object from one place to another as quickly as possible. If you’re a longshoreman, this is your worst
nightmare. Your job, and in many cases, whole coastal
economies, were now based on a repetitive, low-skill, and easily automated task. Unions, of course, fought back. At one point, a workers’ strike lasted 83
days. But the universal law is money finds a way. One company calculated that shortening the
time required to lift a container by a single second would save $4,000 per ship, per year. And they wouldn’t be saving seconds, or
minutes, or even hours, but days. Containers lowered the cost of insurance,
made theft nearly impossible, and allowed for goods to be easily moved between ship,
rail, and truck. The container was inevitable. The only question was which one. Four separate standards organizations, of
course, had… four separate answers, but we’ll fast forward years of fascinating
debate and just say, The world decided on these iconic 20 and 40
feet boxes you now see at every port in every country. Today, ports are filled not with workers,
but giant cranes which move containers in and out of ships in the most efficient order
possible. And ships spend most of their time in motion. The challenge is keeping containers full. The ideal route goes from A to B, where it
loads new cargo for its return back to A. But this isn’t always possible. China, for example, has both high exports
and imports. Problem is, its manufactured goods are sent
out in container ships. But the raw materials it imports to make them
arrive in bulk cargo ships. As a result, roughly 60% of containers shipped
from Asia to North America return empty. Australia is the opposite. It exports raw goods like iron, gold, and
coal, but imports its products on container ships. Cruise ships survive by offering repositioning
trips – cheaper fares for longer, one-way routes it uses to change regions. Container ships don’t have that luxury,
But their schedules are so predictable that factories can manufacture goods as they need
them, rather than storing large amounts of inventory. In other words, everything is cheap. And there’s a lot of it. Shipping costs are so low that they almost
don’t matter. The only thing that does is labor. It’s this combination of low wages, trivial
shipping costs, and tight planning which turn the banana into the perfect consumer product. It thrives not despite its limitations but
because of them. The journey begins in Ecuador, the world’s
number one banana exporter. Thousands of plantations produce 2 billion
dollars worth of the fruit every year. Bananas are picked while still green, in the
first of seven stages. And immediately, the clock starts ticking. Because once a banana begins to ripen, the
process is irreversible. Worse, a single banana ripening will trigger
all those around it. So, everything that happens next is carefully
planned to prevent that. First, imperfect bananas are sold locally
or fed to livestock. The rest are packed in special containers
called reefers, which keep them at a controlled 55.94 degrees Fahrenheit. Before being loaded, reefers are sealed, so
they won’t be exposed to open air until they reach their destination. Next, they’re transported, usually by truck,
to the dock, where they’re loaded 40 or 50 an hour onto ships. A large boat can carry 80 million bananas,
a whole year’s supply for 600,000 Americans. And by traveling at only 18 or 19 knots, they
save millions on their biggest expense: fuel. Ships may burn 400 tons of bunker fuel per
day, which at current prices, amounts to nearly $200,000 in a single 24 hour period. Our ship, the Dole Pacific, makes deliveries
from Ecuador to San Diego all year round. By the time it arrives, bananas have reached
stage 2 – light green. They’re then moved to ripening rooms, where
they’re sprayed with ethylene gas to trigger their ripening process. Once they reach stage 3, they’re ready for
delivery to the grocery store. During this trip, they transition from 3 to
4, to 5, when they’re finally bought for less than a quarter. With a single, uniform variety, grown where
labor is cheap, and sold in high-value consumer markets, bananas perfectly represent the efficiency
of global shipping. The beauty of container ships is their ability
to conveniently deliver goods regardless of where. The digital equivalent, is today’s sponsor,
Skillshare, which delivers knowledge on all kinds of topics, when and where you want. If you’re interested in learning how the
stock market works, for example, you should take this great course from Business Casual. If you want to know how I make these videos,
you can watch the course I made – How to Make an Animated YouTube video. I go over everything from my research, to
the script writing, and animation. I’ve even included example files which you
can download with the course and follow along. The first 500 people to use the link in the
description get 2 months free, so you can watch my course and any of over 20,000 others
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100 Replies to “How Container Ships Work

  1. What if these Somali pirates invade the self driving ships lol there should be a bazooka shooter at the self driving ship

  2. If you take a Look at this comment section it seems that most viewers of your channel are not from the US – everybody complaining about imperial units 😂

  3. This was excellent! The example of the banana was a clever illustration of your explanation of container ships. I must admit that I was looking for a video on the physical workings of a container ship.

  4. After watching this video carefully

    Now I am just searching for exam asking such questions.

  5. BTW I Subscribed To This Youtube Channel Named KillEm And This Guy, He Like To Do Weird Stuff Even With Way Of Traveling, He Do Traveling To Iceland With Container Ship And He's Not Buying Space For Him To Live Inside The Boat, He Illegally Traveling Inside His Own Container For Couple Days

  6. Explanation under 1 minute:
    Load onto truck.
    Unload from truck.
    Load onto train.
    Unload from train.
    Load to ship.

  7. yeah, so the vid has FAR more info about bananas than container ships. WHILE the goofs are trying to sell you "education". WOW!….just wow.

  8. What was your resource of the fact that, shortening the time required to lift a container by a single second would save $ 4.000? At 4:37! I can't find it anywhere?

  9. You should make your transition to advertisements less abrupt. You can still make the transition funny or engaging but when but when it feels like your advertisement is a run-on sentence of the end of your video it is frustrating and it feels like a trick. Pause before the ad. Thank you

  10. On a video about container ships, all you gotta do is just talking about that, your stupid amount of time at the start explain bananas is a waste. Don't think I'll be coming back to this channel unless I have to

  11. Improperly titled video – should be 'How Bananas are Shipped and Why'. Now, if shipping makes the product 'cheap', explain how that Bananas from Ecuador are $0.50 a pound, but coffee from Colombia (same trip, basically) is $4.00 a pound and yet sugar is $0.65? If anything, your argument about bulk containerization refutes ALL of these prices…

  12. theft impossible?, well… container usually stolen whole.. and no one knows who did it (money can do fantastic things)

  13. Actually trains are the most efficient not boat and if you want to know how I got my info just watch: How freight trains connect the world, by: wendover productions

  14. Ships consume around 40 Tons and not 400 Tons a day. Most of ships tank can hold around 3000 tons of heavy fuel. I am a ship operator.

  15. Jeez man. You're doing the narration for this video & you can't even say the word 'Banana' properly! You should be fired.

  16. The 15 Cargo Ships create more greenhouse gases than all of the world's cars combined. I was researching to find a more efficient, eco friendly way to make the Cargo Ship. I hope that my effort makes do.

  17. Florida's flag isn't ugly. But I guess I will take a circle with a red x inside of it. 🥳❤️

  18. I will increase my Knowledge with your videos and I shall never use skillshare… And you're absolutely powerless to stop it MuhHahahahahahahahahahahahahah!!!!

  19. Teacher: students write an essay on bananas
    student: container ships are ships they have soul

    Teacher: students write an essay on trump
    student: container ships are ships they have soul

  20. First: JOIN. THE. METRIC. SYSTEM. For fuck´s sake, the entire world uses it, isn´t it time, americans leave their retarded rollercoaster of measurements and join the rest of the human species?

    Second: that´s Colombia´s flag you´ve used there, get your vexilology straight.

    Third: stop glorifying cheap labour and the exploitation of human workers, you late capitalism apologist.

  21. Dislike for "pounds", "feet", "Fahrenheit", "knots".
    Not everyone in the world lives in US.

  22. These are banana countries ( except for Australia which I barely even bothered to fit on the map which has a huge banana industry )

  23. I like how he called FL and HI, volcano and alligator. Im from the Pelican state. What about you? Louisiana and FL both share the mosquitoes, gators, and hurricanes. Gulf States baby.

  24. We know what we ship. Container content is declared, we need it for example in case of fire. Also, big ships can`t be all loaded with bananas, amount of reefer plugs is a lot lower than total container capacity.

  25. im from southafrica grew up seeing bananas all around my nei hourhood and our weather is stormy shitty rainny and hot, so your analogy is nonsense.. bannanas grow anywhere.

  26. I don’t know where you got your information, but boy did you get it wrong. Banana belt my ass. I’m from South Africa and we grow and export tons and tons of Bananas. They are grown in the Natal Province, which is on the east side of the country. Where did you hear of this banana belt? Any country with tropical weather can grow them.

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