Coffeehouse Thread

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Longshoremen strike could spur new investments in automation?

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  • User profile image
    Bass

    What do you guys think?  Considering that longshoremen make in excess of $120k a year and have great benefits, so it's not a "cheap human labor" vs "expensive automation" issue like Foxxconn et al.

    A lot of the jobs they do are not the most difficult to automate, in fact in some countries they've started automate ports quite extensively. Do you think this is feasible in the USA? It's worth noting that the longshoremen unions are aware of the threat of automation and fight against it as one of the core missions, so it is not just a technical issue.

  • User profile image
    Proton2

    I worked for a company that automated filling the gas tank of a car.

     

    http://www.ise.bc.ca/smartpump.html

     

    The standard container greatly reduced the cost of shipping and helped bring in the modern global economy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermodal_container

     

    A lot of things can be automated. Wait till truck drivers are no longer required.

     

  • User profile image
    Bass

    I think automating all the complexities of driving is a lot harder that automating a crane in a controlled environment, so I think automated trucks is a much longer ways off. My understanding is that some ports already partially or fully automate moving containers from ships to dock and from dock to truck.

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    @Bass: You summed it up nicely in your first post: it's a highly paid job, highly unionized and with immense leverage.

    Which makes me think it's not going to happen.

    I suspect we are more likely to see automated airplanes first.

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