The other day I was thinking about how the most recent round of new towboats on the Ohio River has pretty much come to an end. AEP, Marathon Petroleum and Crounse have taken delivery of most or all of the new boats they had ordered, and I don't know when we'll see another wave of new boats, at least on my part of the river.
Then I saw this photo on Flickr. It wasn't so much the boat itself that drew my attention, but the comment. A commenter said this particular boat, photographed by a pilot who lives and works in South America, was made in China. That brought to mind the Dravo Vikings that were built on the upper Ohio in the 1980s and shipped to China for work there. I've heard they've been worked hard and are in not the best shape now. But I wondered if the boat in the photo was a new one or, like several boats that once ran the Ohio but are now in South America, is an older one that was sold to South America after its work days in China were done. The comment says "new" but a used car can be someone else's new car. Still, the pilothouse exterior is different and the towing knees are thin by modern American fashion.
I don't know, and if anyone does know, please pass the word along.
I guess China has become was Japan was in the 1980s -- an unbeatable, formidable Asian economic superpower that threatens America's dominance. But no one is that worried about Japan nowadays, as it has its own problems, both economic and demographic. China could well be headed in the same direction. We'll just have to see.