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Should Australia protect critical supply chains?


nomadpete
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We all laughed when Covid panic buying of toilet paper cleared out the supermarket shelves. But it was the first example of our vulnerability.

 

Global Just-in-time supply has done a lot to reduce overheads, and therefore kept prices of all commodities down.

 

The drawback is that frequently (always?) Globalisation has reduced the diversity of supply down to a single source. Take the Adblue crisis as an example.

 

Quote from'Innovation Aus':-

 

"the disruption is emblematic of a bigger problem in Australia, and several similar risks to the freight industry are emerging, including a looming shortage of pallets.

“AdBlue is just an indicator – It’s just a KPI. It’s just another issue within our domestic supply chains that are reliant on global supply chains to ensure the continuity. And this is where sovereign risk comes into it. This is where Australia is in a position of vulnerability.”

 

I would add to that. The vulnerability of our fuel supplies.

 

What do you think?

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Not only pallets. There is a worldwide shortage of empty shipping containers.  The numbers of containers in the world is staggering, as is production.

 

Container manufacturers, mostly concentrated in China, are expected to churn out 5.4 million new containers this year, about double their pre-pandemic output. But those efforts are being hampered by shortages in raw materials, such as steel and lumber, as well as welders. The manufacturing process can be long and costly, too.  Each container takes about two years and $US100,000 to make.

 

This article from a US newspaper tells the story with stark clarity. https://www.seattletimes.com/business/shipping-container-shortage-is-changing-what-shows-up-on-shelves/

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If Chinese makers can’t keep up with demand, perhaps some other countries can quickly fill the gaps. My container was made in Indonesia.

Two years and $100,000 to build a container? Maybe if they’re starting from scratch. Once a modern mass-production plant is set up, they should be able to churn them out faster than cars are made.

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20 minutes ago, Old Koreelah said:

Two years and $100,000 to build a container?

Yeah. That's got to be wrong. I was quoting from that Seattle Times article. I reckon you could knock one up in three hours on a Friday afternoon. And at $4-5,000 for seconhand ones, a new one is likely to cost under ten thousand dollars.

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There's no shortage of sea containers, and no real shortage of pallets. But they're all located in the wrong places, thanks to the COVID and JIT shipping disruptions.

Here in W.A., we have massive stockpiles of pallets. The pallet companies stockpile them until they have enough for a full trainload, then negotiate a good freight deal with Pacific National to return them all to the Eastern States.

 

But I believe we should be making pallets here from recycled plastics, instead of wood. The plastic pallets last longer than wooden ones, some of the wood they use in pallets today is absolute rubbish.

I'm always collecting pallets for my personal use, and I ensure I acquire as many hardwood pallets as possible, because they last the longest and resist forklift damage better. I throw out a dozen pallets a month, usually the rubbishy wooden ones that are falling to pieces.

 

We actually have pallet recyclers here in Perth, who have developed a roaring trade in repairing and recycling pallets.

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Alright. I suppose you can call our modern rectangular PET milk containers 'bottles' but I still think it is a bit of an anachronism that harks back to the days when we washed out our empty glass milk BOTTLES and put them out on the front step for the milko next morning.

Somewhat similar to 'turning a light on' when, for a hundred years or more, we haven't had to TURN anything to make the dark go away.

 

It's just a gripe by this grumpy old fart.

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bottle is a narrow-necked container made of an impermeable material (clay, glass, plastic, aluminium etc.) in various shapes and sizes to store and transport liquids (water, milk, beer, wine, ink, cooking oil, medicine, soft drinks, shampoo, and chemicals, etc.) and whose mouth at the bottling line can be sealed with an internal stopper, an external bottle cap, a closure, or a conductive "inner seal" using induction sealing.

 

From Old French boteille (12c., Modern French bouteille), from Vulgar Latin *butticula  diminutive of Late Latin buttis "a cask," 

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And who would have thought that the vulgar Italians had little wine casks back in twelfth century? I thought the wine cask was an Australian invention.

1 hour ago, old man emu said:

From Old French boteille (12c., Modern French bouteille), from Vulgar Latin *butticula  diminutive of Late Latin buttis "a cask," 

 

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image.png.2bfba86212b9df56ad33b9b04e43acfc.png

 

 

"The Greasy Chip Butty Song" is a football chant sung by the supporters of Sheffield United football club to the tune of "Annie's Song".

 

You light up my senses,
Like a gallon of Magnet,
Like a packet of Woodbines,
Like a good pinch of snuff,
Like a night out in Sheffield,
Like a greasy chip butty,
Oh Sheffield United,
Come thrill me again

 

Magnet refers to Magnet Bitter from John Smith's Brewery, widely available in Yorkshire. Woodbines refers nostalgically to a once-popular brand of strong cigarette. Snuff is ground tobacco for sniffing up the nose. Wilson's Snuff Mill, established in 1737, is located a mile away from Bramall Lane.

A greasy chip butty can be purchased in any of the many local fish and chip shops. Butty is a dialect word for a sandwich, and a chip butty is simply a sandwich where the filling is chips, ideally greasy and sometimes sprinkled with salt and vinegar. Generally, a white sandwich bap will be used for the bread. In Sheffield, these are simply known as breadcakes.

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