Safety Stock podcast starring Dan and Will

Is there a shipping container shortage because of vertical farming?

We explore this new phenomenon of aquaculture farming, how it could relate to the existing ecological and sustainable work with green farming and what the costs of containers are on the open market.

Will:
All right, everyone. We are back on Safety Stock. This is Will Davis. I am speaking to Dan Magida. Do you like supper? Foods, Dan?

Dan:
Yeah, I do. I like barbecue.

Will:
Great. Barbecue’s great year round. Have you had barbecue shrimp?

Dan:
All right. So fun fact about shrimp will. I’m not a lover of shrimp and here’s why when I was 12 years old, I got, I broke out into hives from shrimp once. So I’ve been a little cautious. I still eat it. I like other shellfish. I don’t have a shellfish allergy. My mom does though. Fun fact for anybody who dies with my mom, don’t eat shellfish around here. She’ll break out hots. But

Will:
If anybody has it out,

Dan:
Yeah, well, no, it’s fine that way. But yeah, I’m cautious when it comes to shrimp, but I like other seafood shellfish more than shrimp. How about you? You a, you’re a shrimp guy,

Will:
You know, I’ll eat it. But I also had an ordeal when I was young, but it was at one of those hibachi places and you know how they are tossing around and you’re catch it in your mouth and everything. Well, the guy was joking and he like threw the UN, like the UN uncooked part. Yeah. And you’re supposed to like, let it go. Yeah. But you know, I’m like ambitious and I’m like, I can catch and fun fact, I can like throw things really high up in the air and I can catch it like a piece of popcorn, M and M. So I, I take pride in it. So I’m like, oh, it’s food. I’m gonna catch it. Yeah. And it was extremely, it was gross.

Dan:
And so what about shrimp? What, what makes you so excited about shrimp today?

Will:
Well, Dan we’re, you know, the interesting thing is, is that there is a company who is using shipping containers to have vertical farming shrimp in the shipping containers. Not only that, but they can do it remotely and they can, how fun is that?

Dan:
I mean, it’s a

Will:
Do it where it’s most convenient to you,

Dan:
Creative way of using shipping containers. We’ve seen in other industries with, in farming as well. You can say shrimp farming, like with vertically integrated farms, but with lettuce and kale and all those greens,

Will:
Everybody. Yeah. Shipping containers are pretty they’re pretty easily.

Dan:
This is this. Why we have a shortage in shipping containers coming back. People are exactly taking it for farming. There’s no serial, there’s serialized, but nobody tracks containers.

Will:
Right? Not only that, but to your point, Dan. So now we have shipping containers used for farms. We have plenty of places that are turning it into bars, or like

Dan:
Where module homes next we’re just gonna stack

Will:
Containers, homes, you know, bunkers. It seems now like

Dan:
You Dom say prepping over there.

Will:
Listen, my wife loves to doomsday

Dan:
Prep. I mean, there’s a lot of stuff going on that

Will:
People may

Dan:
Be, do doing some doomsday prepping.

Will:
Yeah, exactly. So point being shipping containers like are, you know, I get it. But right now there’s a third of every shipping container that is shipped from the us. And even around the world is empty.

Dan:
Yeah. We need those

Will:
Shipping containers to go back. People don’t like sending air.

Dan:
Well, we’re also not tangent tangent, which I do best us exports are down. And that’s why we’re shipping empties back.

Will:
That is also correct. And so Dan fun fact, how much does a 20 foot shipping container in Houston cost right now? What’s the, you can buy a 20 foot shipping container in Houston for how much

Dan:
Hmm. I’m gonna, I’m gonna go with four grand,

Will:
$1,400.

Dan:
All right. And that’s not

Will:
Bad.

Dan:
Yeah.

Will:
I mean, if you want to go have like, you know,

Dan:
On with delivery, like they put on the back of a good old truck.

Will:
So I think that’s the price. I don’t know. You know, what comes within terms of shipping? However, if you are wanting a 40 foot container and you’re in Minneapolis, that’s gonna set you back 5,500. Yeah.

Dan:
Well, you know what I wanna know about? Here’s one thing I’m little leery on with shrimp farming. We definitely don’t have a shortage on salt water in on earth. That’s a fact plenty of salt water. Okay. Now how are I, I don’t know much about this plug and play shrimp farming technology, but shrimp are, you know, live in salt water. Are they bringing gallons on gallons of salt water in filling these containers? What happens if you have a worker who just, you know, little April fools prank or a little mine, let’s just opens it up. Mass flooding shrimp everywhere. You

Will:
Can make that argument for like everything,

Dan:
But how are they gonna salt water? Cause it’s different with like, you know, soil when you’re doing greens, you can get that pretty easily. It’s on land already. You’re yeah. I don’t know if you’re not, are you importing water?

Will:
Well, I think you can. I think there’s things that you can add, I guess, to making it have the right salinity to it. I think the other thing though, Dan, is that like in the Gulf, I mean, there’s been obviously some pretty big oil spills and that true. Some of those residents still see some of the effects in the ecosystem because of that. So, you know, you never know also the point is, is that food security has been a big topic for a lot of people, whether it be, you know, what’s been going on in, you know, between Russia and Ukraine and like the wheat that has needed to come from that corridor prices in general. So, you know, to me, I look at it as, you know, if you’re a using containers that were just gonna be sitting somewhere and hardly ever moving anyway, like good if you’re improving the situation from a food scarcity perspective. Great. And you know, there’s a lot of shrimp lovers. I like shrimp with bacon.

Dan:
I do wonder sustainability wise, I know they say claim sustainability, they can control like the antibiotics and chemicals, but waste. What happens if it gets into like the groundwaters anything happens or just like the, the discard of it as well. Cuz you know, everybody just talks, loves talking about vertigo. Eco-Friendly the whole thing needs to be eco-friendly, you know, the energy, a lot of energy consumption just with vertical farming with greens causing and those are on average, they’re more expensive in the supermarket than they are for non vertical farming products, inflation people don’t always wanna spend, you know, the extra dollar, $2 on the vertical farming products. I wonder how shrimp’s gonna react to it cuz I think it’s a smaller market compared to the greens out there.

Will:
Yeah. That’s a good question. And I think the short answer is, you know, I think we’ll find out and see as the overall footprint moves. I think the one thing you bring up a good point of is that a lot of times like with brands in general, you know, they want to go one direction. You know, they have an idea of what they wanna do for sustainability, but oftentimes they don’t look at the entire picture of it. So if you’re, you know, for example, Dan, you bring up, you know, energy consumption. That’s a real thing. It’s great that you may be using you know, a more sustainable plastic or a more sustainable material. But you know, if you double the amount of energy that it took to do that, or if you increase the weight and now it’s taking that much more gas to move it from one place to another in the end, did you totally help? You know, it just depends. And so I think people need to look at it from an entire system and that, Hey, you know, are you gonna continue to do it also because of the price of things?

Dan:
Yeah. So I’ve, I’ve read. So in 2021 alternative seafood companies have received 175 million in investment and there’s about 120 companies that are trying to produce alternative seafood. Now we know that there’s alternative meats out there publicly traded companies that do that, you know, there’s companies that are going into alternative proteins as well. Will the seafood craze kick on, in comparison to the meat phase or the chicken phase?

Will:
I’m gonna say yes, because you know, in some ways when you have more control over seafood, I feel like you, you feel better about it because there’s a level of unknown versus you kind of know like with like what the process is with like cows and other different things. And so in this case, if you’re going alternative for like plant based, you know what you’re getting, but there’s a little unknown on the CSU site. So I’m gonna say yes.

Dan:
Yeah. I’m very curious to, I will try it. I am all for trying it, you know, you know where the first place I had a beyond meat was if you get this

Will:
Obviously the first place, like, like first

Dan:
Where I first tried it. Yeah.

Will:
Like in the, in New York city,

Dan:
Not in New York city

Will:
In California, somewhere,

Dan:
No train station in Hong Kong.

Will:
Oh wow. I wasn’t gonna get that. Yeah.

Dan:
That was the only place open. And I was like, I gotta get some in to eat. And I was just like, all right, I’m gonna do a beyond burger right now. Very tasty,

Will:
Very tasty. Well, there you go. So I think, you know, the message that we have for, you know, our listeners is this is that there’s two things. One when you are making a decision about something, when it comes to, you know, overall a change in what your brand direction is, make sure you think about the overall ecosystem of things in terms of what the costs are, what the impact is, et cetera. Typically, it’s not just a one for one change. And then Dan, the second part is, you know, vertical farming, where’s it going? Yeah.

Dan:
I thought you were gonna say hoarding containers and just doing whatever you want. You

Will:
Could also do holding containers and

Dan:
Making life more difficult for people who actually want to import goods, not a bad model way to undercut your competition, buy the open, buy the containers on the market.

Will:
There you go. Well, if you have any other interesting things that you’re planning to do with your containers, let us know. You can reach out to us at hello@anvyl.com. We’d love to hear it.

Dan:
Maybe we’ll record from a container. I mean it’s, it’s $1,400 in Houston. There

Will:
You go. All right. From next time, possibly from a container, we’ll talk to you all soon.