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There’s an interesting angle on the west coast ports issue in the Seattle Times. It notes the slowdowns in production in Washington State businesses – one manufacturer recently had to close for three days owing to lack of available materials for its BMW parts. Companies are increasingly worried about exports, especially those with a strict shelf-life. Christmas trees are waiting to get to Asia – but more importantly, apple exporters are hoping to see this year’s bumper crop arrive in Asia in time for Chinese new year. It’s big business. Washington’s annual crop supports 61,000 jobs and has an economic impact of $7.5bn. The Loadstar has calculated, (based on apples weighing out before they cube out, in a back-of-a-beermat calculation) that this year’s apple crop would fill 100,000 40ft containers. If they can’t get them to China, where will they go? (In another Loadstar back-of-a-beermat calculation, based on the payload of a 747-400F, that’s more than 24,000 freighter flights needed to get the apples away on time.) A thought-provoking read.

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