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CNN10 2021-10-15

CNN 10

The Weakest Link In The Global Supply Chain; Examination Of How Bacteria Is Being Used To Preserve Historic Artifacts

Aired October 15, 2021 - 04:00:00 ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to Friday. It is awesome and we hope you think the same thing about today's show. I'm Carl Azuz. First story today, the U.S. government says it's made progress in an effort to relieve some of the shipping problems that have clogged up the international supply chain.

The government does not control that chain. It's largely made up of private port operators, trucking companies, railroads and warehouses, but the Biden Administration is putting its support behind a plan for the Port of Los Angeles to operate 24/7 and for large companies like Walmart, Home Depot and UPS to ship more goods at night. California's Port of Los Angeles is one of the most congested ports on Earth, 40 percent of all the containers shipped to America come through here and at the Port of Long Beach.

Economic analysts and trade leaders say this is a step in the right direction, but that it won't make a major impact in supply problems. It's estimated that around the clock operations will increase container flow at this port by 10 percent. The supply chain problems are complicated.

They've been made worse by a worldwide shortage in trucks, computer chips, chemicals and other goods, and different COVID-19 restrictions which keep many transport workers from moving freely. Other efforts are being made to address shipping problems, ports in the state of Florida say they have not seen the delays that California's have, so officials in the "Sunshine" state are trying to encourage shipping companies to unload there.

Even thought that might mean sailing from the Pacific through the Panama Canal to get to Florida. So, for some ships carrying billions of dollars in cargo, it's a question of what takes longer and costs more, waiting to unload on the west coast or sailing to Florida on the east coast.

Organizations in Florida are rushing to hire more truck drivers who are needed to pick up the unloaded containers and take them to warehouses. The trucker shortage is said to be the weakest link in the international supply chain, and evidence of that is to Georgia's Port of Savannah, the nation's third largest behind those in California and New York.


AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we're seeing here is a major traffic jam of cargo ships, as well as a major backlog of supplies. If you just take a look at the view from our mass cam, you'll see this wall, this mountain of shipping containers stacked as high as you can see.

We're talking about 70 to 80,000 of these steel boxes that have been sitting here every day waiting for somebody to pick them up, to get to their final destination. And we're told that, this is a 50 percent increase in the number of shipping containers that the Port of Savannah is now dealing with, so why are we seeing this huge backlog? So, as you know, and as we've been reporting there's this major shortage of truck drivers around the country. Right?

And also, that's causing retailers to leave their containers here and the Georgia ports authority has been calling the retailers to remind them, look, your container has been sitting here for 12 days or weeks actually we're told. Hundreds have been sitting here for several weeks. So, what we're being told right now, what's happening is that there are seven vessels at the dock, in their berths being unloaded.

Most of these shipping containers take about 24 hours or so to be unloaded. That's not atypical, what's atypical is the fact that there are 25 cargo ships in the queue, right now. Many of them could be waiting up to as long as five days.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. What city has the most fountains in the world? St. Petersburg, Russia, Kansas City, Kansas, Rome, Italy or Florence,

Italy. No city on the planet has as many fountains as Rome where you'll find more than 2,000 of them.

Let's all go to Italy to see the bacteria. Maybe not the most effective travel ad, but tiny organisms that eat away at the nation's ancient artifacts are also being used to preserve them. Restoration is an ongoing challenge in this richly historic country. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent to preserve sights like the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps and the ornate Treve Fountain.

There's a legend that those who toss a coin into this baroque monument will come back to Rome one day. To ensure architecture like it is still standing when they do, some workers are employing bacteria found deep inside.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A laser burns away the grime of 18 centuries, caked onto the Arch of Septimus Severus (ph) in the forum. Rome maybe the eternal city, its ancient artifacts, however, are not under unrelenting assault by the ravages of time, pollution, acid rain and the sweat and breath of millions of tourists. Conservator Alexandro Logadi (ph) and his colleagues are using the latest technology to try to salvage the cities treasures.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE TRANSLATED: See the block, he asks? It's about four cubic meters, several tons and inside there are billions of bacteria.

WEDEMAN: Bacteria that ever so slowly disfigures and erodes the marble.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE TRANSLATED: We built a box so it would be dark, Logadi (ph) explains. The temperature and humidity should be relatively high to recreate conditions on the outside like those inside.

WEDEMAN: They then cover the outside of the marble with enzymes, drawing the bacteria out to the surface where it calcifies, strengthening the stone. Increasingly, restoration work is being done on a molecular level, but of course for Italy, the challenge is huge because it has archeological sights on a monumental scale. While some fight bacteria, others are using it to eat away grease and dirt. Microbiologist Chiara Alisi and her team at INANT, search for potentially useful strains of bacteria in industrial waste sites, abandoned mines and from the distant past.

CHIARA ALISI, INANT TRANSLATED: They've already been selected by nature to develop potential abilities which we can test and study and apply she says.

This strain we collected from an Atrascon (ph) tomb. It's a complicated process isolating individual strains that thrive on the right kind of filth.

WEDEMAN: Sequencing the DNA and then putting them to work. Silvia Borghini shows us the results in the Garden of the Museo Nationale Romano.

With a toothbrush, she removes gels infused with bacteria from a block of marble once part of a 4th century Roman bridge. The cleanest strip was covered for 24 hours with the SH-7 strain.

SILVIA BORGHINI, MUSEO NATIONALE ROMANO TRANSLATED: It's easy to apply and afterwards the artifacts stay clean Silvia says. It doesn't harm the environment. It's not toxic for us or the floor in the garden. It's perfect.

WEDEMAN: And therein lies the paradox, a single celled organism could help preserve this city's ancient glory. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Rome.


AZUZ: Take some serious time, money and enthusiasm to build a life size X- Wing, but for some diehard Star Wars fans in Russia it was challenge accepted. The builders say it took several months to construct and that in terms of the money they spent, it was quote, a lot. The cost was $5,000 according to the news site, "Interesting Engineering". The X-Wing replica is made mostly of wood and doesn't actually fly. In fact, the Star Fighter doesn't actually fight stars.

Its pilot doesn't actually "walk skies". It's nowhere near a "galaxy far, far away" and it took more than "Obeone" builder though it wasn't exactly a "rebel alliance". Still when it comes to the question of "do or do not", "to die" got to say the finished X-Wing makes for one great "Madelstory".

Canon City High School, shout out to you. Our viewers in Canon City, Colorado. We get a lot of requests for that but the one place we look for the schools we mention is YouTube.com/cnn10. Have a great weekend everyone. I'm Carl Azuz.