The cargo that enters Dubai's Jebel Ali by multiple ship loads every day has travelled thousands of miles, navigated maritime and climatic hazards, and faced the increasing threat of piracy, to arrive at the Gulf's busiest port and the world's largest man-made harbour.
Once safely berthed by the quayside of one of Jebel Ali's gigantic terminals, it faces one last journey to make landfall in the UAE - the short hop from ship to shore.
I recently took a behind-the-scenes tour of the port, which has aspirations to become the biggest cargo complex on the planet, and found that once I got my hands on the facility's crane simulator, getting the cargo ashore is not as easy as it looks.
The containers - called TEUs or 20-foot equivalent units - can weigh tons, and some are perched at the top of a 25-metre column of other containers on board the vessel.
Getting them from there to the quayside and on the back of a transporter lorry is a highly skilled job. They have to be lifted by a cradle swung beneath a 40-metre high gantry, gently guided ashore, and placed exactly on the transporter.
A mistake could cause thousands of dollars' worth of damage to the goods and transporters, and be a threat to safety in the port. It is an intricate operation.
Deep in the bowels of Jebel Ali's operations training centre is what looks like a Dr Frankenstein chamber, but which actually churns out dozens of skilled gantry-crane operators every year. In the darkened simulator, you have two joystick controls, and a bewildering array of flashing lights, switches and buttons.
The task is to gently manoeuvre your cradle forward, align it with the container, and lift the container from the ship on to the shore.
It is not as easy as it sounds. From 40 metres up, the perspective in the simulator is deceiving, and several times I fall short or overshoot the container. When I do eventually pick it up, it is very difficult to control the swaying of the huge object.
Even more difficult is the last piece of the precision process: laying the container gently on the back of a lorry. After nearly 10 minutes of intense concentration, lots of mistakes and near crashes, I finally complete the cycle.
Now the chief trainer steps forward to show me how it should be done. My exercise was in perfect weather conditions, but the chief wanted something of a challenge.
At the flick of a few switches, we were suddenly in the middle of a raging sandstorm, with howling winds and lashing rain, and at night-time, too.
Even with all these hazards, the chief trainer completed the job in 83 seconds. "Stick to writing," he advised me as we left the building.