In Corridors as Factories, CFJ partner Counter Balance takes an in-depth look at the state of logistics today

Date: 10 March, 2020  | Organisation: Counter Balance  | Theme: 
  • Infrastructure

The more effectively companies can transport goods, the more they are able to sell – and the higher their profits will be.

As such, the demand for bigger and better transport routes has, in turn, created a demand for ever more efficient logistics.

Today, we live in a world of hyper-efficient logistics. But what exactly does this look like?  

Efficient logistics is the proliferation and maintenance of an extensive network of logistics hubs worldwide – consisting of seaports, inland “dry” ports, “aerotropolises”, highway interchanges and facilities for manufacturing, processing, sorting, storing and distributing goods. Some of these, like Shanghai’s 3,619 square kilometre container port (that’s roughly a quarter of the size of Northern Ireland), are staggeringly huge – and new “emerging” hubs are rapidly being established from South Korea to Mexico.

Efficient logistics is the implementation of degrading just-in-time labour practices – including workers being increasingly subjected to electronic monitoring, wages being squeezed, new forms of unpaid labour being introduced and increases in contingent piece work. In fact, workers’ rights are consistently being eroded as corridor planners form pools of cheap labour by “agglomerating” people into clustered economic zones.

Efficient logistics is the extraction of ever more remote sources of minerals and other raw materials – at great environmental and social cost. At the same time, the corridors themselves demand an ineluctable increase in energy use – and, as such, propagate spiralling environmental destruction.

Efficient logistics is a $4.7 trillion industry, said to be the world’s biggest employer. It is powerful. It is wreaking havoc on the lives of working people. And it is not thought about often enough.

In their latest report, Corridors as Factories, CFJ partner Counter Balance takes an in-depth look at the state of logistics today.

This includes charting the worldwide proliferation of logistics hubs, exploring the ways in which outsourcing and offshoring have dramatically changed the notion of production, and assessing the likely direction of travel if our current logistics model continues to go unchallenged.

Read the full report.