Friday, September 26, 2008

oh the places i've been and the things i've seen

what a week. i've been at the largest exhibition of shipping-related things in the world. everyone who was anyone to do with shipbuilding was there, from the smallest sub-contractor providing valves to the guys who make the engines, to the classification societies that approve the hull integrity, to the yards that do the actual building, to those who provide simulators to train the guys who will sail the ships. it was nearly 2000 exhibitors and, according to their website, 47,000 people came by to pick up pens and canvas bags and rubber ducks and penlights (many of them on wednesday, i can tell you). i hesitate to imagine how many beers were poured and snacks served. nearly every stand was serving drinks and snacks in some form. some more elaborately than others. i saw one with a chef doing the trendy molecular cooking (isn't ALL cooking molecular, so i don't really get that, but it's very trendy) as a kind of performance.

here are some of the sights...

main entrance hall
where all those engine guys were
a cute little propeller
this one shows in color the stress points
they looked so beautiful!
this one too. fascinating to see them this way.
one of the ideas for sailing greener. a sky sail for the long hauls across atlantic and pacific.
why shouldn't the fire hoses be pretty?
a safe and sustainable future?
not for this ice sculpture.
we had a new one delivered every morning.
virtual reality glasses to aid in hull inspections.
luckily that was a mannequin.
it would have been a bit much to stand there like this for four days.
safety boats and signal flags.
model of a ship from safmarine.
i really miss those guys!!!
here's a clever shipyard showing that they can build
luxury yachts AND military frigates.
and a front rudder for a 13,000TEU* container ship.
that's bigger than any out there are the moment.
the largest right now are 11,000 TEU.

very heartening to see that the main thing on everyone's lips was the environment. shipping is actually one of the most environmentally friendly methods of transport but it's so encouraging to see all of the stakeholders taking the environmental question seriously and not resting on their laurels, especially since 90% of the stuff in the world is, at some point, transported by ship. many, many innovations are on the horizon and it was breathtaking to see the sheer mass of engineering intelligence all gathered into one place. i love playing a small part in this amazing industry.

but i am glad to be home. i wish you all a glorious weekend.

* TEU is 20-foot container, so that means a ship that will hold an astonishing 13,000 20-foot containers.


Magpie said...

Fascinating - a little glimpse into a completely foreign world...

tangobaby said...

I was going to say "fascinating!" too but magpie beat me to it. But it truly is. Thanks for a peek into your business side.

At least your polar bears aren't suffering the same fate as the ones Sarah Palin doesn't believe are endangered. You can make new ones.