Wednesday, August 5, 2009

When does 2/100th of an inch equal $1,000,000?

Seattle Times:

A small mistake at the Port of Seattle is going to cost a lot, perhaps about $1 million. The problem is 2/100ths of an inch, and it delayed the opening of a celebrated project by two months.
The Port constructed a new cargo terminal on the Seattle waterfront and dug a trench to hold the electrical cable for cranes that lift containers from ships.
The new trench, built by contractor BergerABAM, is narrower than it should be, so the cable doesn't fit.
"Clearly the contractor should've built the trench at 2.52 inches and it's 2.5," said Port Commission President Bill Bryant.

Yes, clearly.

SSA will pay $20,000 a day in rent to the Port once its 30-year lease kicks in, Port spokeswoman Charla Skaggs said. But that amount is for both Terminal 30 and adjacent Terminal 25.

When SSA couldn't power the cranes, which serve both terminals, it argued the whole area was rendered unusable.

At $20,000 a day in rent, there had better be some cranes. And some power to go along with it.

I had no idea terminals rented for so much. This may explain why the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are such cash cows. And it also explains why ship operators want to load and unload as many ships as possible, it is too expensive to do this inefficiently. This doesn't cover the cost of wages, insurance, fuel etc.

Big business, small mistake.

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