Welcome to the race across the globe and here are our competitors he is the captain of the world's largest freight ship which can hold almost 24 000 containers this is the captain of the antonov an-225 maria the world's largest cargo airplane the record holder in aviation which uses six engines to take off .
Over here is the freight engineer the train reaches a length of about two and a half miles that is the walk from the head of the train to its tail will take a whole hour and our last contestant is the driver of the kenworth w-990 one of the world's largest and most powerful trucks all of them will make a crazy trek from .
The port of shanghai to portugal they will move through water air roads and rails to bring you that container of delicious fruit to your table or at least to your local store you take it the last mile so here we go shanghai it's the busiest port in the world every year 43 million 300 000 containers load and unload here and .
Here's your container this is a standard 20-foot equivalent unit there are several kinds of containers and they're the same all over the planet these things have changed our world and brought a real revolution in cargo shipping way back 70 years ago goods and products or cargo was loaded and unloaded onto ships with human power the .
Loaders had to move every individual bag and box and it would take days to fill up a ship a truck driver waiting in the long line for his turn to load stuff on a ship thought what if we didn't move the cargo separately but could put a whole truck onto the ship he's thinking on the bright side well a few decades later the first container .
Appeared now the loader in the port didn't have to spend time moving every single piece of cargo a giant crane would hoist an entire loaded container all at once then in 1956 this reduced the cost of loading one ton of freight from six dollars to 16 cents 37 times you can fit two cars in one of those .
Containers or 3500 shoe boxes or a half a million chicken eggs there's also containers for bulk goods like grain they have an air lock at the bottom there's also refrigerated containers they're used to deliver fruit to all corners of our planet the invention of these standard containers made the shipping industry .
Way more efficient let's return to our present day this real-time map shows all the ships in the world's oceans see how the port of shanghai glows dozens of ships unload and load containers here every day the total fleet of these giant container ships is about 5 400 units worldwide and here's our hero vessel this big boy is .
1300 feet long its nose is 330 feet higher than the eiffel tower its engine measures as tall as a five-story building right now dozens of cranes are loading containers inside the ship then they put a lid on the hole and stack even more containers on the deck the maximum is 23 992 containers their total weight can be .
About 235 580 tons that's like oh 39 000 adult elephants that's if you you know do the math to move all this mass its giant engine has about seventy eight thousand five hundred horsepower the fastest commercial car the kernigsag algera rs made in sweden has only .
1341 horsepower so that's not nearly enough now you'd think it would take a huge team to drive such a giant right nope no more than 20 people this is the captain several assistant captains oversee each deck the engine crew the helms persons and the tech crew and the most important people on the ship the cook and his assistant hey you gotta .
Keep that crew happy right the captain orders start the engines and the crew gets to work tugboats help the colossal container ships slip out into the bay meanwhile we're loading the world's largest cargo airplane at shanghai airport an225 mira check this out the first .
Flight of the wright brothers airplane was shorter than the size of this plane's cargo compartment wow its fuselage is as long as the height of a 15 story building and the wingspan is as wide as six school buses are long this plane was originally designed to launch spaceships from the air it would take off from the runway carrying the .
Spaceship on its back here we load the plane through the front the nose of the aircraft rises opening the cargo hole at the same time the airplane squats on its landing gear the largest airplane in the world can take no more than seven 20-foot containers into the cargo area the nose closes and the pilot gives the .
Crew the cue to get going usually even the largest commercial airliners are flown by only two people but the an-225 mira needs a six-person crew a commander co-pilot two flight engineers a navigator and a radio operator hmm no cook huh whatever it's time to start all six engines each of them generates 12 500 horsepower at .
Liftoff the airplane accelerates more and more and at last all 32 wheels come off the runway and the fastest commercial car kernings egg algeria rs is left in the dust all right now let's look at our train oh it's already on its way the workers have loaded the train with containers right at the port they just put the containers .
On a special car which is the right size if there are no low tunnels on the track we can even stack containers one on top of the other given that our train has about 250 cars we could load 500 containers on it now if we pencil that out the maximum loading capacity of the train is 48 times less than that of the ship .
But the crew that runs the train consists of just two people this makes train deliveries incredibly cheap but both crew members have a working day after 12 hours on the road the train stops at a station a new crew takes their seats in the train's locomotive and continues on their way the first crew spends the night in a .
Hotel has a nice dinner and in the morning swaps cruise with another train heading back to their hometown now let's look at the map this is the entire distance the train will have to travel almost 7 000 miles that's three times the width of the united states from coast to coast on average freight trains travel at about 50 miles per hour .
Our calculator tells us the whole trip will take about 140 hours or six days but hey it's not that simple you see areas are divided into railroad zones one crew always works within one particular zone for example our train crew departed from the port of shanghai and reached the border of their area they must stop the train and give up .
Control to the next crew so the travel time for the train will depend on the speed of the transfers and the number of stops so what about our truck back at the shanghai port the truck got its container very quickly it pulled up to the loading area and a big crane gently dropped the container on it directly .
From the ship done much faster than a plane or a train from this point on its journey began the truck's route will be about the same as the trains the average speed of the truck is about 60 miles per hour if driving non-stop the journey would take five days but one driver can only work a certain number of hours a working day .
Lasts 14 hours of which the truck can only drive nine when he has reached his limit the truck driver must find a suitable place to rest and recuperate you've probably seen the truck or parking lots along the highway they look like big gas stations here the driver can always take a shower and eat the driver will sleep right in the truck .
The kenworth w 990 has a special place for this right behind the driver's cab and there's not only a bed there no there's separate air conditioning windows lights and several compartments for personal belongings there's a refrigerator to store groceries and a microwave to heat food the driver can eat at the folding table and even watch .
Tv everything to make the driver feel at home so when one driver has reached its limit of nine hours and his work day is over he has to rest for the remaining 10 hours until tomorrow in this case he'll cover a maximum of 540 miles per day that adds up to 13 days of travel time additionally the truck must pass .
Inspection when entering other countries or states inspectors weigh the truck on giant scales check its brakes and more it's time consuming too in this case the solution is to have a partner at the end of a 14-hour shift the first driver must go to the cab to sleep and rest then the partner takes over control and continues on the road for the next .
14 hours but there's a problem here when the second driver finishes his shift the first driver still can't get behind the wheel so they still have to stop shifting gears back to our giant container ship it comes out of the bay and suddenly it slows down yes that's all for the economy the east .
China sea is very busy near the port dozens of ships are waiting in line to get into port so the captain gave the order to increase speed so as not to hold up the party but as the ship entered the open sea it slowed down to about 20 knots that's about 23 miles per hour that's very slow especially if we look at their route it's a trip nearly .
Across the globe the total distance from the port of shanghai to portugal by sea is about 11 000 miles but our ship moves almost non-stop 24 7. ideally it would take 480 hours or 20 days but there are a few variables out there for a ship on the open seas take storms for example the ocean can be a rough place sometimes the waves there .
Reach great heights enough to overturn even a ship this big so the captain heads to the bridge and takes control the navigator turns the ship's bow into the wave to keep it from overturning the vessel the bow with the ship rises and rushes into the sky once on top the ship begins to plunge off the wave like a surfer picking up .
Speed after a few seconds the bow hits the water hard causing a solid splash of water high and narrow waves can be especially hazardous coming down for them the ship can dive too much underwater almost like an arrow and go under or worse it might break in two under its weight but fortunately the wise captain overcame the storm and we .
Arrived at the first checkpoint of the voyage this is the strait of malacca all ships traveling from asia go through this bottleneck otherwise they would have to make a long detour through indonesia the strait of malacca is not only narrow but also shallow if the ship's depth in the water or draft is deeper than 65 feet it .
Will run aground and that's not good that's why we don't build ships bigger than this one but our giant makes it through and into the indian ocean now look up into the sky the largest aircraft in the world the an-225 is now in the air at cruising altitude that's about 5.6 miles the planes choose this altitude for several reasons the .
Atmosphere here is not as dense as below so the airplane has less air resistance or drag and burns less fuel another reason is bad weather which just doesn't exist here thus neither rain nor snow is a problem for it now given the curvature of the earth the direct distance between shanghai and portugal is about 6500 miles the cruising speed of the an-225 .
Is 500 miles per hour that means the plane can cover this distance in just 13 hours compared to 13 days for our truck but the aircraft will have to make at least one stop considering that such a huge plane can't land at all airports because it needs a long runway refueling stops should be carefully chosen the airport in dubai has a long enough .
Runway so that the an-225 can land there the captain begins the descent procedure such a heavy plane needs to calculate the weight for landing accurately if it's too heavy the plane's landing gear might break and lead to an accident which really should be avoided this is why planes sometimes make several circles around the airport to burn any .
Excess fuel the weight of the remaining fuel can be critical for landing so the aircraft captain makes sure the tank is properly empty and lands the plane when empty the an-225 mirror can cover a distance of 9570 miles that's enough to get from alaska and north america to the most southern point of south america or from .
New york to london and back but when loaded with cargo that distance is almost cut in half the captain lands the plane and brings it to a stop time to feed the beast an225 has 13 tanks under the wings combined they hold 300 tons of fuel it could take a day and a half and several .
Dozen refueling trucks to fill such a behemoth so while the plane is paused the train has a chance to catch up with it in the race but there's an issue here too different countries have different standards for railroad tracks the track width in china may be different from the track width in the middle east in europe .
Yep we have to change the width between the trains wheels to keep going in the past we would stop the train completely to do this then we would lift it and change the distance of each pair of wheels by hand given that one car has four pairs of wheels and we have over 200 cars well this process could take forever we might .
As well just unload the train entirely and load the containers onto another one but now we can adjust the width of the train's wheel sets right on the move now let's get back on the road again whoo our driver just flew by well actually just drove by a truck like this is indeed the king of the road it measures 300 inches between the front .
And rear wheels and if you add the trailer it's longer than a school bus 53 feet such a big truck has an impressive weight of 18 000 pounds that's more than a grown elephant or as big as four sedans naturally the truck has a massive 12.9 liter engine the average sedan has an .
Engine six times smaller it gives the truck about 500 horsepower so you can easily pull even a hefty load up a steep hill the main thing is to make sure that you have fuel well aren't we lucky the kenworth w990 has a huge 225 gallon fuel tank that's 20 times bigger than an average passenger car has or even that kernigseg algera rs to fill up such a .
Tank the pump at the gas station has to go for at least 25 minutes hope you're not in a hurry but this truck is pretty efficient it can go six and a half miles burning one gallon of fuel so a full tank will allow the truck to make a trip of almost 1500 miles hey you can cross the united states from .
Coast to coast with just one stop to refuel on our 7 000 mile route from shanghai to portugal the truck driver will have to make five refueling stops meanwhile back at sea the captain of the largest container ship in the world looks through binoculars and sees land the crew has reached one of the busiest waterways in the world the suez canal .
It's a narrow strip of water that connects the red sea and the mediterranean it's the shortest route from asia to europe if it were not for the canal the ships would have to go around all of africa adding another 5 000 miles and consuming tons of fuel and lots more days now an alternative ocean route is through the north sea but .
Commercial cargo ships use it only in the summer when the ice is melded and there's a lower risk sailing at colder times of the year ships need the help of ice breakers these are large powerful ships whose sole purpose is to plow through the ice clearing the way for cargo ships but icebreaker services are very expensive which drastically .
Increases the delivery cost now getting through the suez canal is not that easy you can look at the sea traffic in real time there are dozens and hundreds of ships lined up to go through it the canal is about 250 feet wide that means our ship can go through it with a small margin but our cargo is too heavy and the ship could run aground in this case .
The ships that work for the suez canal come to the rescue some of the containers are reloaded onto them our ship becomes lighter and no longer runs aground the captain receives a message that it's his ship's turn tugboats help the giant container ship move through the narrow canal the ship must navigate 100 miles in a narrow .
Canal to reach the mediterranean sea other ships are moving from europe to asia and moving toward it through the canal there are special places where the canal widens for the boats to bypass each other there is also a recently built parallel canal it's wider and it allows larger ships to go through there and it even allows ships to go both ways .
On average the passage through the canal takes about 14 hours in one day the suez canal can pass about 50 ships hundreds of other vessels on both sides of the canal have to wait in line the ship's captain keeps a close eye on the passage through the canal even the slightest mistake can lead to a massive pileup in march 2021 one of the largest .
Container ships in the world blocked the suez canal it was carrying about eighteen thousand containers strong winds blew the ship off course as it passed through the canal the ship's bow ran aground on one side of the kingdom its stern was then blown sideways beaching on the opposite side so this one ship completely blocked the passage .
From asia to europe in both directions as they say want to get away well for several days 14 tugboats tried unsuccessfully to move the giant ship then the excavators began to dig out the sand under the ship's bow their goal was to deepen the bottom of the canal so the boat could float again every minute counted meanwhile more and .
More ships were bumper to bumper in the mediterranean and red seas by the end of the rescue operation roughly 450 different ships were impatiently waiting for their turn to pass through the canal the world trade lost about 400 million dollars every hour delivery schedules for goods around the world flew out the .
Window the biggest losses were for oil tankers from the middle east fortunately our captain made no mistakes and the giant container ship made it through the suez canal without incident the captain sets a new course this is the last leg of this long voyage alright where's our biggest airplane in the world it's already slicing through .
The skies on its finish line it's now in european airspace it's interesting that in addition to being a record center in size and payload this plane is only one of a kind the first flight of this giant took place in 1988 although 34 years old it's still going strong and does its job it was recently .
Certified to continue flying until at least 2033 it's one of the few planes that have unusual tail fins it's split as i said earlier the an225 was originally designed to carry spacecraft on its back but the spaceship created an aerodynamic instability on the plane's tail so the engineers had to give the aircraft a .
Double tail shape but despite the attachments on the roof of the plane it never carried cargo there this is because of the aerodynamic requirements for shipment when the an-225 took a spaceship it had all the properties to reduce air resistance but if you hitch a square container to the roof of the plane the aerodynamics will get worse .
Dramatically essentially you get a flying toaster oven well the captain just turned off the autopilot and took control of the plane this means that he is about to start the descent time to put your seat backs and tray tables into their locked upright position the appearance of an an-225 mirror in the air always attracts lots of attention it .
Can be recognized by its triple track in the sky this is because of six engines and the split tail the plane lowers the landing gear all 32 wheels are ready to touch the ground cars passing by the airport stop people get out and pull out their phones to take a video with this giant 30 feet 20 10 and touchdown the plane slows down .
And finally stops now it's time to get that precious cargo out it takes about seven minutes to open the cargo hatch the plane drops a little lower and unfolds the rail the cargo trucks begin unloading the containers the plane finishes our race it took two days from shanghai airport to portugal with one technical stop for refueling .
What about the train the locomotive of the train has already replaced several dozen crews its route took it through beijing moscow and paris but it's still much shorter than the possible longest route in the world portugal singapore the total length of the track on this route is 11 655 miles if you wanted to make this journey by .
Passenger train it would take about 21 days to get from point a to b our train route was a little shorter and it took 12 days to get to the destination that's six times longer than an airplane now to the truck driver he too is nearly at the finish line his road practically repeats the ancient silk road the route .
Chinese merchants used to carry silk to the middle east the truck went nose to nose with the train all the way there the truck would overtake the train when it was stopped to change crews but the train would pull ahead while the truck driver was asleep in the cab and couldn't continue driving the truck reached its destination a little later .
Than the train 13 days the last participant of the race the world's largest container ship it started simultaneously with the other participants from the port of shanghai its route went through the south china sea the strait of malacca the indian ocean the arabian sea and the red sea it passed through the extremely narrow suez .
Canal to reach the mediterranean sea its final checkpoint is the strait of gibraltar the stretch of water that separates europe from africa finally it has arrived in the port of portugal the ship makes a victory hawk the captain looks through his binoculars and sees that the an-225 crew train crew and the truck driver are already .
Standing on the coast he crossed the finish line last the whole trip took this ship 20 days see how the places are arranged on the pedestal the airplane the train the truck and the ship now the plane wins if we compete just for speed but each of the participants takes first place in a particular category .
Which of the contestants in the race deliver the goods as cheaply as possible let's look at the train to move one ton of cargo for one mile you have to pay four cents so if you want to ship a ton of freight from los angeles to new york it'll cost you about a hundred bucks in our case with a train route of about seven thousand miles the shipping price .
Of one ton of goodies would be about two hundred eighty dollars the price is low because of the train's efficiency it has smooth metal wheels that run on smooth metal rails so it doesn't have much drag like a truck with rubber tires on asphalt meanwhile let's look at the airplane it takes a dollar 21 to move one ton of .
Cargo per mile the route covered by the an-225 including a stop for refueling in dubai is approximately seven thousand eight hundred miles that means the cost of shipping one ton of cargo will be roughly nine thousand five hundred dollars that's 34 times more expensive than by train though six times faster but this is the price for modern and .
Fuel-efficient aircraft the an-225 engines are old and not as efficient they burn more fuel and the price will be even higher regarding the truck one ton per mile costs 20 cents so shipping from shanghai to portugal costs about fourteen hundred dollars five times more expensive than a train .
In recent years the price of shipping a container by cargo ship has increased seven times it costs about fourteen thousand dollars to ship cargo from china to europe prices have gone up so much because of the container shortage internet commerce is growing fast and so is the need for consistent shipments across the globe we .
Just don't have enough containers to meet those needs but we expect the price of ocean shipping to drop by 2023 so the shipping method should always be chosen carefully an airplane is best for delivering expensive goods that are needed urgently the train is perfect for a large volume of goods which at the same time is cheap we primarily use .
Trains to move containers from seaports to distribution points farther inland the main advantage of trucks is their mobility they can take containers to places the train can't reach because there is no railroad or where there's no access to water and it's impossible to deliver the cargo by ship trucks can also deliver goods directly to city .
Centers shipping on giant container ships is suitable for huge amounts of cargo for something not too heavy but something you can fill a container to the top despite the price most of the goods in your nearest supermarket are brought in by ship they have traveled thousands of miles in .
Containers around the world globalization happens thanks to the container the same product costs just about the same price all over the world people in different parts of the planet can wear the same sneakers and eat the same fruit because a while back someone invented a way to transport stuff we all like to buy in universal containers .