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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- May 26 , 2011


Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of May 26, 2011

  China Costs Rising; Toys R Us Planning Distribution Solar Party; More Ocean Capacity is Coming; Dust Explosion at Foxconn - but Lots Here Too


Number of years after which the cost difference between manufacturing in China and the US will be almost negligible, according to a new study by the Boston Consulting Group. That's due in large measure to rising wages there, but also a likely drop in the US dollar versus the Yuan, productivity differences, and other factors.  While it predicts such near cost parity by 2015, that is based on a number of assumptions that may not play out.




Number of solar panels that will be installed in coming months on the roof of an existing Toys R Us distribution center in Flanders, NJ. Delivering some 5.3 megawatts of power, it will become the largest rooftop solar panel system in North America. The project will cover almost 70% of the DC's 1.2 square feet, and provide enough power for 72% of the DC's needs. (See

Toys R Us to Use Giant Solar Panel System to Power New Jersey Distribution Center)



The approximate number of combustible-dust industrial explosions the US has each year. The figure came up because of the furor over a dust-related explosion last week at Foxconn, the giant electronics manufacturer, which killed three workers there and injured 15, in addition to impacting Apple iPad production (though how severely remains unclear). Foxconn was the subject of scrutiny last year due to a rash of worker suicides, after which it raised wages and took other steps to improve working conditions.


2 million

Amount of TEU capacity that will be delivered to ocean carriers in 2013, if firm orders and all options are exercised, according to a new report from the analysts at Alphaliner. That would be significantly higher than the record 1.57 million TEUs shipyards delivered to carriers in 2008, and probably good news for shippers as that added capacity may well tilt the supply-demand playing field in their favor, sending rates down.

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