Where Global Efficiency Comes From
Sachiko Dohi, general manager of domestic Chinese operations for NYK Logistics, part of Japan’s largest shipping line, says the boxes – going to Tesco, a UK supermarket chain – would once have been sent loose in containers and unpacked box by box at a UK distribution centre. Now they are sorted into the quantities needed for each superstore, each shrink-wrapped and placed on its own pallet. Expensive handling in the UK will be sharply reduced.
The technique is only the least sophisticated of a series of methods spreading fast among logistics companies to allow rich-country customers to move all but the most unavoidable handling of goods made in east Asia away from their destinations. Companies from countries as far apart as Japan, Chile, Spain and the US now have goods sorted before they leave China into the right mixes for individual stores or distribution centres and labelled with the correct price. Many will even be ready-packed into a cardboard display stand.
Not only do they get to pack and unpack stuff over there, they also get to cause pollution that was once created over here. No wonder China is up in arms about its carbon quota.