The Origin And Development Of Containers (I) —— The New World Created By Shipping Container


To commemorate the 50th anniversary of containerization, Princeton University Press published in 2006 the book THE BOX: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Biggero by Mark Levinson, a leading American economist.

THE BOX is about the origin of the shipping container, the struggle to open up the shipping market, the process of standardization, its wide application in the world and the future development trend. The emergence of shipping containers makes the global transportation of goods cheaper, more convenient and faster. Mr. Mark Levinson is a veteran expert in the field of containerization for many years. In order to make more people in the shipping container industry understand the development of containerization, the excerpt of THE BOX book part of the content organized into an article.


(I)The new world created by shipping container

On On April 26, 1956, a crane loaded 58 aluminum truck bodies onto the Ideal X, an old converted tanker moored in Newark, New Jersey, USA. Five days later, it sailed into Houston, where 58 trucks were waiting to load the bodies and transport them to their destinations - the beginning of the great shipping container revolution.

Decades later, as trailers on the highway and trains on the railroad roar through the night with piles of shipping containers, it's hard to predict how the shipping container will actually change the world. In 1956, China was not the world's factory, and shoppers in central Kansas could hardly find Brazilian shoes or Mexican vacuum cleaners in stores; Japanese families could not eat beef raised in Wyoming; and Turkish and Vietnamese clothing could not be cut and sewn by French fashion designers. Before the emergence of shipping containers, cargo transportation is very expensive one by one to transport goods across half of the country is very uneconomical, let alone across half of the world.

Shipping containers reduce the price of shipping, save transport time, and in the process change the shape of the world economy. With modern shipping container transport conditions, along with computer and network technology, companies like Toyota and Honda have developed just-in-time systems, where suppliers produce products only when customers need them, and deliver them to customers via shipping containers at a specified time. Before the advent of shipping containers, such efficiency and precision was unimaginable. Today, however, shipping container transport is widely used worldwide and has become an important means of goods movement.

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