on shipping today

One of the most interesting parts for me in the Philip Johnson Tapes was Philip’s recounting of how the clocks in the PSFS were built by Cartier because in the Depression it was possible to get such labor for nothing. So, assuming you haven’t leveraged yourself beyond belief (you didn’t, did you?), how is it possible to take advantage of the new economy? 

Time Magazine just carried an article about the utter collapse of the shipping industry. On the one hand, it made me think about how the economy in my old hometown of Los Angeles is largely dominated by real estate, construction, and international trade. The future of the City of Quartz looks very grim indeed (but whose doesn’t? I predict that China is all but doomed), but maybe it’s time for some fantasy. 

Two months ago capesize vessels—ships so big that they couldn’t pass through the Panama or Suez canals—rented for $234,000 a day. Now they rent for $2,320 a day. Now I’m sure that there are pesky other costs like fuel, but just think of it, you probably have the cash on hand or at least available via credit card to rent one of these units and, together with your friends, you could ship a few hundred thousand tons of dead weight overseas or, conversely bring it here. What would you do? I wonder how much the Disney Concert Hall weighs? How long would it take to bake enough cookies to fill that ship? Maybe you can get rid of your CDs finally. There are all sorts of possibilities. What could you bring here?  

capesize ship



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