Beer in Shanghai, part 3: Sam Adams crisis is over

It makes my head hurt to think about this, but about 21.7 million containers left the port of Shanghai last year. (These are the standard 20-foot long metal boxes that go from freighter ships to railroads or trucks and are called TEUs in the trade.) On a round-the-clock basis, that's more than 59,000 TEUs per day, nearly 2500 an hour, two every three seconds. This year the port of Shanghai will send out significantly more.

I know what's in the containers as they leave. Computers. Toys. The world's supply of electric toothbrushes I saw manufactured at a nearby plant. Shoes. You name it. Rather, you buy it.

What's on the ships when they return? I don't know - actually, I'm looking into it, and it's a subject for another day. (Maybe it's dollars, to pay for all the stuff?) What I can say with relief is that the container with the spring 2007 shipment of Sam Adams beer made it safely into port. The stores that were sold out across the city last week have been resupplied. Thank you, Sam Adams company; thank you, Port of Shanghai stevedores who labored to serve the public through the Chinese New Year holiday.

That leaves only 21,699,999 containers to account for.