Flutterby™! : The true cost of shipping

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The true cost of shipping

2009-04-17 19:49:10.12233+00 by Dan Lyke 8 comments

One of the things that's a struggle with capitalism as it's commonly touted is environmental issues. I think that if we could properly account for environmental costs, and bill them where they're "spent" rather than allowing them to be deferred, a whole lot of that problem would go away.

Here's one: Health risks of shipping pollution have been 'underestimated', one container ship emits approximately the same amount of sulphur oxide gases as 50 million cars.

Billing that environmental cost appropriately might even do a bit to iron out the various trade imbalances that currently plague our economy.

[ related topics: Health Nature and environment Machinery Economics ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-04-18 00:01:53.351179+00 by: brennen

Who the heck wants a free market where you can't externalize all the real costs?

#Comment Re: made: 2009-04-18 16:20:46.703472+00 by: mvandewettering

I remember waiting in line at Fry's once, and they had display of cheap plastic digital watches from China, at $.99 a piece. I marveled at the economy of scale in manufacture and shipping that would allow such a product to be manufactured, shipped, and presumably to be done so profitably.

Or, consider the fact that you end up getting produce from South America. A head of lettuce that costs $2.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-04-18 16:29:43.112414+00 by: meuon [edit history]

Shipping is expensive. I'm about to ship the system I am standing next to Guyana, via Sea Freight. Shipping, Packaging, Insurance, Customs.. It's a real expensive pain unless you are setup up for it, in scale. It's a complete PrePaid utility system with IVR, text messaging and web based point of sale stations... about 1000lbs and 2 cubic meters all packed up. I'll post the totals when done for comparison with those cheap watches.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-04-18 17:15:30.655572+00 by: ziffle

meuon: I am blown away at how you are able to land in wonderful position like that - awesome product for the time$!

#Comment Re: made: 2009-04-18 21:57:27.619969+00 by: ebradway

I've always been amazed that McKee Foods can produce a Swiss Cake Roll, ship it across the country and sell it in a c-store (with 100%+ markup) for 25 cents (maybe a little more now).

#Comment Re: made: 2009-04-19 00:32:37.257956+00 by: Dan Lyke

Meuon, The prices I've heard are that if you're shipping a full container it's about five grand, from pretty much anywhere to pretty much anywhere. And it gets cheaper as you get more containers, or along certain routes (U.S. to China is quite a bit less than China to the U.S., for instance).

Sub-letting that container gets really expensive. And lead time and transit time on that container is months, and June through October U.S. to China is pretty crowded.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-04-19 11:39:03.467777+00 by: meuon

Dan, I'll wager that 5k does not count everything like insurance and other fees. That's what I'm wagering these two pallets will cost. But this is a one-off.

McKee has incredible scale and has fine tuned everything, as does that cheap watch manufacturer.

Ziffle, you don't land in such a position, you create it.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-04-20 13:23:56.091985+00 by: andylyke

And getting back to the original point, $5k doesn't take any account of the real, total economic costs.