Industrial Stoppage

The image above was originally reported as a traffic jam in Baghdad. It was captured by satellite probably around 2005 at the height of the Iraq War. This event is taking place in an industrial sector of the city called Sheikh Omar. I believe the buildings are mostly shipping depots and factories. The vehicles scattered around the area are delivery trucks. They are not stuck in traffic. They are parked, with no place to go. Normally the district looks like this:

It’s impossible to tell exactly what’s going on here. My best guess is that private shipping in Iraq ground to a halt during this period of the war and that these companies in Sheikh Omar recalled their entire fleets all at once and just left them parked in the street until business picked up again. The scene is reminiscent of another notable instance of late-industrial work stoppage. I found the image below on Google maps. It shows the Singapore Strait during the later stages of the global financial crisis. There are dozens of container ships and oil tankers moored outside of the harbor waiting for assignments. In the most wretched days of the recession during 2009 there were around 500 ships anchored in the strait with nothing to do and no where to go.

Leave a Reply