40 3 mins 8 yrs

Dubai World Ports has berthed in the Thames.

acraneport£1.5 billion investment brings the largest cargo ships in the world to berth and offload their container cargo at this monster cargo facility, 30 miles from London.

They dredged a new deep channel 75 miles out along the Thames Estuary, took all the sand and soil, and made a new port, and all with Dubai cash and capital. Why? Because they will make millions servicing the ships coming from the Far East, laden with imports which used to be made here, before we lost our ability to do things ourselves!

The giant cranes, being offloaded in this photo, will service ships such as the Maersk Moller, along with 18,000 containers, featured in the linked videos and documentaries.

True, there will be exports as we, as a nation, aren’t completely dead in the water, but the largest export component will be empty containers, returning to Shanghai.

My point is quite simply to comment that these cranes, along with the massive and totally-impressive ships which will lie under the cranes, could all have been built in Britain.


If you watch these documentaries, you will see the South Korean workforce build this huge vessel, fit her and float out in 38 weeks. Then they will get started on the next nineteen ships, all for the Maersk Line. We could have built them all, if we had not had an entire industry crippled by successive Governments, crucified by Unions intent on getting ‘more’ for their members; alowing europe to tell us what we canand cannot do; but making Britain a place which did not welcome business.

Take five hours, search and locate the whole series, and find out how they do business, build the most impressive things in the world, buy from those who wish to sell, and compete in this fiercely competitive world.


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40 thoughts on “Not everything Arabic is threatening

  1. Just a reminiscence, – back in the early 1950’s south Korea was a little more than ‘just another Third World country’, – a veritable crap hole, and yet just thirty years on they were hosting the summer Olympics. Quite astounding! That has to be the quickest of all ‘war recoveries’ in recent history. Does anyone still remember the saga of the ‘Glorius Glosters'(?)

    So hardly surprising that they can build the largest of vessels in well less than a year. What motivation, what ambition, and what determination! Of course the quality may still be open for debate, – and all basically from the proceeds of the IT revolution. Aren’t we all glad we now have our very own phone?

    The UK set the scenario when leading the industrial revolution, – the meteoric rise to global dominance, and inevitably followed by the long expensive decline. Now it’s the turn of the Far East,

    As for the financing of the ‘new London Docks’, hardly surprising that Dubai is mentioned as provider of the finance. All those petro-dollars have to find a home somewhere, and with the promise of more to come, seemingly ‘for-ever-more’, – why not invest in the UK, – where the government is so easily manipulated and so little tax to be paid!

    “Yes, Your Honour Sir Sheik, thank you for the investment, we will be forever grateful that you chose London as the place to build your dock! Did I ever mention that a long time ago we used to be the largest dock in the world?” – grovel, grovel, suck, suck!

  2. When the genius of Great Britain initiated the Industrial Revolution, it was only a matter of time before the “also rans” caught up.
    And produce the goods cheaper.
    Great Britain started to go down the road of design, scientific discovery and and technology, but it stuttered to a halt. Complacency, born of having a captive market (the Empire) then the First world war closely followed by the Second world war, absolutely drained us.
    e have yet to recover our self belief and dynamism. We won’t have to worry about having to run an Empire again, (we can leave that to China)
    but along with willing Commonwealth countries we could become a major trading bloc.

    If we really wanted to build ships and cranes we could divert the millions/billions paid into looking after the great unworked, and start up real apprenticeships again then subsidise the price of those Great British cranes and ships…

    Incidentally I am so against the closure of Portsmouth Dockyard as an English ship building centre.

    I can understand keeping the Scottish shipyards open, but frankly I don’t think it will make the Scots love us and the Union any more, and I certainly don’t agree with putting our English base out of work.

    Better to keep all of them going and get our youngsters into real work.

  3. Perhaps if we diverted the annual aid we give to India, now that they have now become the latest to join the merry band of space explorers, it might enable us to tend to our economic and communal infrastructure in a more realistic fashion.

    From the various comments made recently by various Indian Ministers of State, they appear to treat our substantial annual donation as a ‘mere pittance’, and see us as a bunch of rather pitiful mugs.

  4. Agit

    Cost was only one thing that sunk UK industry.

    For decades, your workers were seemingly always on strike.

    Who wants to buy from undependable sources like that? Or invest in them?

  5. Isee us as bunch of rather pitiful mugs!
    Our professional politicians have swallowed the lie that we are racist/colonialist and arrogant warmongers, and the cause of all the wEUrld’s problems.
    That is why our leaders creep
    into Brussels HQ, and ask what do they want us to do next..

  6. Don’t forget that bewtween the two world wars communism and marxism were all the fashion among many in the upper and middle classes, especially among those in the acedemic arena, whether as a reaction against the war and the losses incurred, or whether it was that the socialist dogma of the time was very attractive to those who held a conciencious objector pov.

    During WWII Marxist dogma held sway in many circles and even the barbarities of Stalin’s regime did little to reduce the following after the war. That many of those followers gravitated to become union officials is hardly surprising, after all it provided a handy tool to get power without any aspect of true representation, – hence the frequent use of the strike tactic, in a not unsuccessful attempt to disrupt the government of the UK.

    As with much of any political dogma, the cause of ‘the workers’, while so often promoted as the reason for the disruption and the fight for equality, was never the real reason, – they were there ‘just to fight the fight and to take the blame’.

    It might be said that most of our true patriots were annihilated on the front lines of those two World Wars.

  7. “£1.5 billion investment brings the largest cargo ships in the world to berth and offload their container cargo at this monster cargo facility, 30 miles from London.”

    But who will build the roads?!

    “They dredged a new deep channel 75 miles out along the Thames Estuary, took all the sand and soil, and made a new port, and all with Dubai cash and capital.”

    But how will the goods get out of the port without roads?!

    Oh hang on, I know Dubai Ports. I helped build it. There are roads, built privately, which has long been a mystery because, as everyone knows, only government is capable of building roads.

    I’d say that we have here a mega-billion example of the market providing where there’s demand, that where we want roads, we will build roads. But that’s too fanciful. We all know that before government came along humanity just stood around going nowhere because roads hadn’t been built.

    At the risk of being insulted, those bemoaning the decline of British manufacturing are somewhat off-beam.

    We make as much as we ever have done. What we no longer do is make stuff which requires big, noisy, polluting processes, but we make as much as ever. And if the Koreans can sell us ships cheaper than we can make them, then it makes every sense to let the Koreans do the building while we put the capital to better use.

    I know that economic reality is such a drag when a good moan is desired, but no-one should be having that moan about the supposed decline of British manufacturing unless and until they understand comparative advantage.

  8. Pete – your link does not take the loss of tax base into account nor the social effects of losing skills and jobs upon wider society i.e. upon people who have to work. For example, your link provdes the following example:

    In England it is very hard to produce wine, and only moderately difficult to produce cloth. In Portugal both are easy to produce. Therefore while it is cheaper to produce cloth in Portugal than England, it is cheaper still for Portugal to produce excess wine, and trade that for English cloth.

    But there are no inherent reasons why shipbuilding has to be done in Korea and not in the UK. Now what exactly is it that the UK exports to South Korea in order to earn the revenues which pay for the ships bought from our foreign currency reserves (if there are any)? Oh – and how is the UK’s balance of trade these days?

  9. Allan@Aberdeen –

    I don’t understand what you mean by “the loss of tax base”. Fewer and lower taxes is always good, however it happens.

    Re the loss of skills, the link implies effects. What about the loss of farrier and gaslight skills by the spread of cars and electricity? The loss of agricultural skills when the Industrial Revolution came along? Losing skills does not matter one bit so long as we’re adding value with new skills that we do better.

    Typically of you, you read the link, and the extract from it gets to the very point of comparative advantage. It boils down to one thing: all we need do to prosper is that which we are best at (not the best on the planet, but that we we do better than other things). It’s irrelevent if others do those things better. As long as we do what we know and what we do well, we’ll prosper.

    Being a free marketeer, I have no idea what it is we do well. Society can figure that out for itself. It might be building ships, but it might be also/instead growing apples and trading capital. Whatever we do best, comparative advantage teaches that we should stick to that.

  10. Pete – what are the UK’s exports to South Korea which support ‘comparative advantage’ and:

    Losing skills does not matter one bit so long as we’re adding value with new skills that we do better.

    what are the new skills which we are developing to replace the old-fashioned skills of welders, platers, turners, tool-makers, electricians etc?

    Btw, Phantom may care to answer the above with respect to the US.

  11. “We make as much as we ever have done.”

    And just how do you assess that – by quantity of items produced or by revenue received? If your criteria is the latter, then if you take into account the very high levels of inflation over recent decades then you are sadly mistaken in comparing totals from ‘back then’ with todays inflated totals We are exporting far less now, but at a higher, and much devalued price. The balance of payments figures make the point, – and our national debt grows by the month.

    We are now more a nation of assemblers, which is very different from being the sole manufacturer of any product. Yes we may well export as many cars as we did years ago, but our contribution to each vehicle, and thus our profit on each sale is much less, as is the corporate tax revenue.

    Of course the export figure quoted is for the total price of the assembled vehicle, – a convenient figure that our government uses, and as usual is an outright falsehood.

    Take a drive around the country – anywhere outside of the South East and see just how decrepit and rundown everywhere looks, not just empty High Streets, but empty barns, industrial units and many other signs, all quite reminiscent of so many areas in the US, – not quite Detroit, – but the signs are there, and all totally depressing.

    Relying on the so-called ‘service industries’ to add to any national income figure, is very delusional, to have a service industry, you first have to have an industrial base to service. Add the fact that any services we have to offer can be done just as well in the ‘home’ country, and you can see just how futile was Thatchers idea of ‘services’ being a major long term contributor to UK exports.

    Even our financial sector, supposedly a ‘world leader’, has problems producing any real profit, especially when all that bad debt is included in the balance sheet.

    I know you are familiar with borrowed capital, – are you as familiar with the concept of ‘borrowed time’, – because that is now our biggest national debt…

  12. Allan@Aberdeen –

    I have no idea what Britons trade with Koreans. As for new skills which replace “welders, platers, turners, tool-makers, electricians etc”, this is 2013 and there are many of them, in addition to the foregoing which we still have. British engineering is still rather good.

    Ernest Young –

    It’s by value, we’re exporting fewer big lumps of metal, and it’s the very same story for every country on the planet. What we are doing is exporting more high value bits of engineering metal.

    I have to take issue with two things you say:

    “Take a drive around the country – anywhere outside of the South East and see just how decrepit and rundown everywhere looks, not just empty High Streets, but empty barns, industrial units and many other signs, all quite reminiscent of so many areas in the US, – not quite Detroit, – but the signs are there, and all totally depressing.”

    Why are you telling me? We’ve never had more government, more taxes, more laws and regs, and here we are. What do you think people like me have been saying for years? When you have all the panoply of the mega regulatory welfare state, you will have decline.

    It’s odd how some who bemoan the supposed lost days of British manufacturing glory call for even more government intervention. What government intervention was there in those glory days? None whatsoever!

    British society had freedom to experiment and fly off in millions of directions, to start firms in a day and make things. How fast can you start a firm now? How many forms? How expensive is it? How many planners will crawl over your property after the obligatory planning application? Bemoan the supposed decline all you like, but there are reasons why we no longer make vast lumps of metal before, and the prime reason is government for crying out loud!

    “Relying on the so-called ‘service industries’ to add to any national income figure, is very delusional, to have a service industry, you first have to have an industrial base to service.”

    Rubbish man, you sound like a trade unionist! There are no ‘service’ industries, just industries, and those which are profitable are perfectly viable in their own right. This idea that we must have manufacturing first and then ‘service industries’ in support of the metal bashers is the idea of economic dinosaurs.

    The idea that architects and publishers do not value in and of their own right is idiotic.

  13. Germany amd Korea have too much government ( by your standards ) and they are leading the pack in their parts of the world.

    You are distorting the evidence to suit the theory.

    British industry declined when it did because the workers were militant and otherwise completely undependable and because the management was class ridden and no good.

    The Germans and Japanese, then, had superior workers who actually worked every day, and they had superior management. They ate your lunch while your workers were ( literally ) sleeping on the job or striking.

    There is no good reason why Britain doesn’t still make big ships. Scotland or Belfast would be so much better off if those industries and the blue collar jobs they generate still existed.

    Korean shipbuilders are paid fairly BTW. It is not a wage issue any more.

  14. Peter,

    Money is earned from exports. To have a viable export business one has to have a viable home market.

    Architects and publishers may well have an export market, but compared to the overall manufacturing base they are all but negligible. We need a world market for our output, the small specialist outfits you mention just aren’t capable of providing the income or the jobs that we, as a country need. As it stands we are no longer competitive in any sphere, and there is little to indicate that matters will improve.

    We once had the skills and the resources to provide jobs and income to have a generally good standard of living, and at a reasonable cost, but not any longer.

    It seems we have one thing in common – the utter contempt for our politicians and overall government, – but it seems for very different reasons.

  15. We’ve had the theory put forward by Pete, but the reality of Britain’s (and the US’s) dreadful and chronic balance of trade deficit show the theory to be wrong. Just because Adam Smith wrote it doesn’t mean that it’s correct. If it were correct, then Britain would be able to balance its trade.

    I recall a few years ago Sir John Harvey-Jones, the then Chairman of ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries), who was on the BBC’s Question Time and somebody had raised the matter of Britain’s trade deficits which, back in the 1980’s were relatively new. Sir John said that “we can continue to import the cheap stuff from China and Japan whilst we sell them the really high value, hi-tech stuff” (paraphrased). Well, Sir John, as with so many of these over-paid idiots, has been shown to be wrong, utterly wrong. The UK is now at the stage where it requires Chinese companies to build nuclear power plants in the UK and even run them.


    At the weekend, the Energy Minister, Ed Davey, said he believed that a “massive” wave of investment from China, Japan and Korea would secure UK’s power supply into the future.

    Now, read the above carefully and absorb its significance and ask yourself where does the money ‘from’ China, Korea and Japan originate?

    It is the very same money which the UK haemorrages through its trade deficits with these countries: that is the money which these foreign countries are allowed to use to take control of British infrastructure.

  16. The UK is only a small percent of the global economy.

    To say that the money for inward investment to Britain came from UK trade deficits is not right. You may have had the same inward investment even if the UK shipyards were still building at capacity.

    Those countries earned that money primarily through hard work, exporting to everone else. Just as the UK dd back in the day.

  17. Phantom – the UK is now dependent upon foreign countries to spend money on energy infrastructure. How did the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans accrue the earnings which allow them to fund their overseas investments? If the UK did not have chronic indebtedness to the rest of the world, it wouldn’t have to ask these countries to ‘invest’ in essential infrastructure for what is supposed to be a 1st-world country.

  18. UK private investors make investments worldwide every day

    They are massive investors in the US

    Investment flows go both ways

    You are hardly a poor country

  19. UK companies continued to increase their net investment overseas in 2011 (£68.2 billion), the highest value since 2008.
    Inward investment flows into the UK continued to fall during 2011, decreasing to £31.9 billion, the smallest inflow since 2004, although the rate of decrease appears to be slowing.


    Over time you have been huge net outward investors.

    You have nothing to complain about on that score

    And a UK company owns the firm that sells me natural gas to heat my house and you don’t hear me complaining about that


  20. Pete,
    “I know that economic reality is such a drag when a good moan is desired, but no-one should be having that moan about the supposed decline of British manufacturing unless and until they understand comparative advantage.”

    So what do we do and export so well in order to pay for the ships and cranes etc. being built in other parts of our interconnected world?
    (You surely don’t think that waste and pollution in one part of the world doesn’t eventually find its way by wind or sea, to the rest of us?)

    Let’s imagine for example, ww2.
    America has contracted out its shipbuilding and tank bashing industries to say, Formosa or France on the grounds that they would prefer keep American skies pure and clean.
    War breaks out.
    Japan attacks Allied shipping
    Germany invades France..
    The skills involved in being able to build things -like mountain bikes for example- are worth preserving because it makes your country more self reliant and it gives work to your people.
    In an ideal world your system might work.

    But the fact that France and China are going to be involved in building new nuclear power stations here means more French and Chinese influence on our affairs.
    Saudi Arabian (finances quite a few terrorist outfits whilst promoting Shari’a law), and Dubai’s investment in the UK, means more influence in UK affairs.
    When you owe people money or they are investing money in your nation, it’s not usually wise to criticise their foreign policy.
    It ain’t rocket science.

    “He who pays the piper call the tune.”

  21. You are paying do it now by trade in services, incl from a strong finance sector, that everyone here moans qbout.

    Though that industry doesn’t provide any blue collar jobs in Glasgow or Belfast.

  22. I seem to remember going through all this with you before Phantom.
    A healthy society has as near full employment as possible, and is as self sufficient as and militarily secure as it can be.
    That way it can speak its mind without worrying about what its creditors pulling the strings.

  23. “That way it can speak its mind without worrying about its creditors pulling the strings.”

  24. I don’t follow the creditor razzmataz – the finance stuff that I do does not much involve creditors – but I agree that it was and should be a national goal to have manufacturing and blue collar jobs .

    For social, security, and other reasons

  25. Talk of creditors ‘pulling the strings’ – news this a.m. ‘Nissan would seriously consider moving its operations from the UK should the UK opt out of the EU.’

    This could be the ‘thin end of the wedge’, if others adopt a similar attitude. Is this what you might calla stymie?

  26. There is no doubt that as countries like for example Saudi Arabia have poured their petro-dollars into the UK and even the US, so the relationships and accommodations have between governments have changed.
    Another example would be China and its subjugation of Tibet.
    Who kicks up a fuss about that?
    Certainly not those using goods made in China.

  27. Yeah you could be right.
    I heard he has a lot of trouble with his specs…
    Have a good weekend.
    Sell lots of insurance.
    Remember me in your will.

  28. Its a simple principle – borrow money and you lose some of your independence. On a personal level it may work to your advantage, but on an international level, it can be a very different matter.

  29. I don’t care HOW you make it Phantom,
    Just remember me when the time comes..

    totally agree.
    Have you ever had dealings with a debt collector…?

  30. Agit8ed,

    No, thank goodness! When I was young there were many stories about such people, and ‘the workhouse’, none of them very nice. All a great deterrent and an incentive to ‘shut my mouth’ and get on with the job.

    I guess I’ve been very lucky!!

  31. I thought for a moment you were trying to write “London or Londonderry…

    which would open up a whole different can of worms 😉

  32. That’s a very generous offer considering you’re a Yank.
    London is about as far as I could go nowadays.
    I believe a fatwa has been issued against me by some of the bhoys in Belfast,so that’s out.
    Mrs Agit8ed says that there Dublin is a wonderful place, but what with the Alzheimers I’d probably forget what I was there for so no, it would have to be London.
    I have to warn you that I can drink vast amounts since I’ve had the Conveen Optima fitted.

    Btw there was a great programme on Pierced Organ about Michael Flatley. Did you see it?
    What a guy!
    I really admire him and especially the respect he has for his parents. Reminded me very much of James Braddock the boxer..
    A credit to Ould Ireland.

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