60 years of Containerisation

Posted by Morgane Orsini on 18 July 2016 | Comments

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The box that has changed the world has turned 60

Containerisation had a huge impact on the global markets, changing the way goods were shipped around the world. The development of shipping containers enabled the standardisation of port handling equipment, increased the speed of cargo handling and the flexibility of stowage location and unpacking. 

 

The origin of containerised shipping

Origin of containerisation

The traditional approach of the containerisation appeared in the 

This way of transporting goods required a large number of workers in ports to load and unload ships.1930’s. Break-bulk containers were used when products were shipped unpacked in 

 boxes, bags, barrels, or other containers of small size depending on the type of good. 

 

A real revolution in containerisation

Containerisation revolution

In the 1950’s, the main revolution came out when Malcom McLean an ingenious trucking entrepreneur from North Carolina, USA, thought about a container that could be lifted from a truck and loaded directly on to a vessel instead of loading the cargo item by item.

That was the beginning of containerisation. Nowadays there are over 17 million shipping containers globally making a total of around 200 million trips every year.Inspired by the US Army during the World War II, in 1956 McLean shipped the first vessel loaded with 58 metal shipping containers from Newark to Houston.

 

Global impact

Containerisation enabled industries to lower shipping costs (economies of scale) and labour expenses, increasing trade volume.

Ports have been expanded as the size of vessels increased. With the continuous increase of the vessels size, containerisation techniques have evolved too.

 

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