Every 45 Seconds

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 Article reports a protest group is claming that a container destined for Wal*Mart arrives at a US port every 45 seconds.

The group, WakeUpWalMart, raises the issue to point out the fact that only 5% are being checked by Homeland Security.

Dealing with the giant as part of my job, I really don’t have any reason to doubt their claim.  Wal*Mart is the 600 pound gorilla in the global logistics business and the numbers that swirl around their empire are legendary.

  • largest private employer in the United States
  • largest grocery retailer in the US
  • over 1,000 discount stores (US) and 2,200 Supercenters (US) and nearly 300 in Canada
  • data storage of 460 terrabytes

They’re ruthless and they’re goal to drive costs down by pushing back against suppliers and 3rd party service providers like mine make them extremely difficult to deal with.  Unfortunately, they hold so much clout that you can’t ignore them and they don’t seem to be going away any time soon.

As for the question of container inspection, fine in practice but a hell of a task. In 2005, it was estimated that 18 million containers were around and over 200 million trips were logged.  That’s over 11 trips a year PER container. The largest container line, A.P. Moller-Maersk Group had, as of January 2006, 549 ships capable of containing 1,665,272 TEUs (stands for 20 Foot Equivalency – a 40′ can counts as 2 TEU).  And they only accounted for 18% of the world’s total capacity.