Cabin fever: Mutiny on the Palm Tree

Logistical planning has won and lost battles all the way back to the time of ancient Greece. Alexander the Great’s conquests with the Macedonian Army are generally regarded as examples of good logistical planning, while the Russian campaigns of Hitler and Napoleon were a bit of a sham, quite frankly.

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By  Sean Cronin Published  January 14, 2006

|~||~||~|Logistical planning has won and lost battles all the way back to the time of ancient Greece. Alexander the Great’s conquests with the Macedonian Army are generally regarded as examples of good logistical planning, while the Russian campaigns of Hitler and Napoleon were a bit of a sham, quite frankly. On the battlefield that is the modern day building site, logistical planning can also mean the difference between success and failure — particularly in this part of the world, where contractors typically have precious little time to mobilise before making a start on site. The developer of the Palm-Jumeirah mega project is now being confronted with the logistical nightmare of ferrying 7000 workers to and from the site every day. ‘Ferrying’ being the operative word, as Nakheel has taken the radical step of converting a passenger ferry to accommodate the hordes of workers, who would otherwise clog the access road onto the project in buses, at the beginning and end of every shift. It seems difficult to decide if it’s a great idea or a recipe for disaster. Using the ferry as a floating labour camp will certainly reduce the number of traffic movements on site, which will free up more space for delivering materials, readymix and whatever else is needed. And that will be crucial if the project is to meet its extremely tight construction timetable. But it does raise some interesting possibilities should industrial relations deteriorate on site — What if cabin fever sets in? What if the workers mutiny? Instead of protesting on Sheikh Zayed Road, they could more effectively up anchor, lower the main sails, hoist the Jolly Roger and set sail for a country with a more labourer-friendly construction industry, like Switzerland for example. Granted, Switzerland does not have a coastline, which could present some difficulties for our would-be mariners, but it has to be a worry all the same. I have tasted the pastries on sale in the cafeterias of Greek passenger ferries and they were nearly enough for me to take a cutlass to the throat of the captain. What 7000 site workers will make of the accommodation and facilities aboard, remains to be seen. Sean Cronin Editor||**||

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