Oil and gas fueling South China Sea tensions

Vietnam’s crucial offshore energy industry is being squeezed as US-China tensions rise in the South China Sea. According to reports, China is pressing for the termination of a Vietnamese offs… Source: Oil and gas fueling South China Sea tensions

China’s Historic Houston Consulate Gets the Boot, Goes Up in Flames

In the midst of the souring relationship between the two countries: Beijing vowed to retaliate after it said that the United States ordered its Houston consulate to be closed within 72 hours, calling it an “outrageous and unjustified move,” marking a serious escalation in the quickly deteriorating relationship between the U.S. and China... The announcement … Continue reading China’s Historic Houston Consulate Gets the Boot, Goes Up in Flames

Aboard the Giant Sand-Sucking Ships That China Uses to Reshape the World

From this: As steam power gave way to diesel in the late 19th century, the size and power of dredges grew. Developers in Los Angeles used centrifugal pumps to expand the city’s port and turn marshlands into seaside real estate. Sediment dredged from underwater built Boston’s Back Bay, as well as large portions of Marseilles, … Continue reading Aboard the Giant Sand-Sucking Ships That China Uses to Reshape the World

Riding High in Beijing

During Vulcan's first visit to Beijing in 1981, we saw many vehicles on the road we had never seen before.  One of them was the Hongqi (Red Flag) limousine.  The one above was parked in front of the Beijing Hotel, where we were staying. Jay Leno's Garage featured one back in 2016; here's the video … Continue reading Riding High in Beijing

A True Russo-Chinese Alliance is Probably Premature

Amidst all of the conventional wisdom about a tight relationship between Moscow and Beijing, a caution: Fifty years later, the ferocity of the skirmish between Mao Zedong’s China and Leonid Brezhnev’s Soviet Union seems to belong to a very distant past—so distant, indeed, that many foreign-policy experts are convinced that an anti-U.S. alliance between the … Continue reading A True Russo-Chinese Alliance is Probably Premature

An Old Idea Comes Back: China-US Arbitration in a Neutral Country

In his assessment of the prospects of US-China relations, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd makes the following suggestion to resolve intellectual property (IP) issues: Intellectual-property protection, however, is deeply problematic. Previous agreements reached under US president Barack Obama’s administration could be reconstituted. But the jurisdictional enforcement of breaches is still hopeless. One possible mechanism … Continue reading An Old Idea Comes Back: China-US Arbitration in a Neutral Country

A Fistful of Yuan: Vulcan in China, 1981-3

Readers of the series Vulcan: The Offshore Experience may recall that Vulcan Iron Works' years offshore were described as “the experience of a lifetime.” If there is one experience that stands out as making it that way, it was without a doubt Vulcan's sale of two large offshore pile hammers to the entity that is … Continue reading A Fistful of Yuan: Vulcan in China, 1981-3

A Fistful of Yuan: Anatomy of a Letter of Credit

The letter of credit was one of the key factors why Vulcan, a small company, could conduct international business with the reasonable expectation of getting paid. Vulcan required virtually all of its customers outside of the US (even ones with a long-term relationship) to pay via the letter of credit. This was insurance of performance … Continue reading A Fistful of Yuan: Anatomy of a Letter of Credit

A Fistful of Yuan 10: Epilogue

Vulcan’s entry into the China market, achievement though it was, did not receive the follow up that one might expect. Towards the end of 1983, there was a flurry of parts sales. In early 1984, Angelica Ferguson, who had ably facilitated both of Vulcan's hammer contracts, left Amtech, as her husband had a new posting … Continue reading A Fistful of Yuan 10: Epilogue

A Fistful of Yuan 9: The Last Field Service Trip

There was still one more trip to be made for the first hammer, and Jesse Perry’s trip report is where we pick up, after he arrives in Tokyo: (Again our Offshore Tips will be very helpful in visualising some of the mechanical aspects of the system.) FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 1983 Took 9:00 a.m. flight from … Continue reading A Fistful of Yuan 9: The Last Field Service Trip