International trade – the core function of ports – is by definition international in scope. To understand international trade and the role of ports in the 21st century global supply chain, it is important to have first-hand experience with the international context of goods movement. The global supply chain fuels the demand for trade that keeps ports in business and China is fundamental to that supply chain.
As a member of the leadership team of the second busiest container port in North America, my decision to complete my PPM® residency in China – by far the United States’ and POLB’s largest containerized trade partner – was axiomatic. Nearly 64 percent of POLB’s total container volume in 2010 moved to or from China (including Hong Kong). Figure 1.1 below presents top POLB trade partners by market share that year.
As an aspiring Port Director, understanding the dynamics of international trade and port planning, business development, operations and management not just here, but abroad, and not just academically, but empirically is vital to my ability to contribute to my industry and to my organization. As a PPM® Program candidate three years removed from my residency in China, I can say without question that the exposure to the “realities on the ground” in China that I gained during my 2011 residency at the ports of Ningbo/Zhoushan and Qingdao, and at the Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co. (ZPMC) base facility, has been fundamental to my professional trajectory so far and will continue to be vital to my future mobility within the port industry.