|Traffic volume at Dubai's Jebel Ali port increases 5 to 7 percent annually|
The world is becoming a very connected place, and one sign of this is the galloping growth in cargo shipping. Below is a United Nations graph that documents volume increases since 2002. Nobody is predicting that the rate will slow down anytime soon.
Another way to look at the situation is in the satellite-generated map below, from April 2014. Each green line -- and there are so many that they bunch together into patches -- represents a cargo ship, most likely a container ship. The red dots, which also merge into clots, are tankers.
As more goods move across oceans and seas, virtually every port in the world is investing in more berths and larger berths and updating machinery and technology to process freight more efficiently.
By many accounts, Rotterdam, the biggest port in Europe, is the most sophisticated in the world. It is featured below in a terrific National Geographic documentary, released two months ago. Some of Rotterdam's equipment and practices make what I know about American port operations seem almost primitive by comparison.
I am a big fan of factory tours. If you are too, this is must-watch entertainment.