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HomeFreight ContainerHappy 60th Birthday to you my dear Container

Happy 60th Birthday to you my dear Container

We all know it through its many variants such as – Container, Box, TEU, FEU, Units.. It is capable of taking many sizes and types such as 20′, 40′, 45′, GP, HQ, OT, FR, RF etc etc etc..

It is universally hailed as one of the greatest inventions of the modern world, one that completely changed the way in which business has been done since the 20th century and really and truly made the world a smaller place and the one true architect of Globalisation..

The ubiquitous CONTAINER without which we may not be as connected as we are today has become an integral part of our life and it is turning 60 years old today..

Happy 60th Birthday my Dear Container 🙂


Container Birthday

Let’s cast our mind slightly back to where and how it all started..

Malcom McLean & Keith Tantlinger – Remember these names..

Malcom Mclean an American trucking company owner/trucker turned inventor and Mechanical Engineer Keith Tantlinger got together to create the first shipping container..

After many discussions and plans, the first lot of 58 containers were loaded on board the SS Ideal X, a converted World War II oil tanker, on 26th April 1956..

Image for Ideal-Malcom-Keith

Thus began the journey of the shipping container and there has been no turning back for containerization since then.. You should also watch this video on how containerisation shaped the modern world..

In due course, ISO standards were set for containers and this enabled mass production and usage of standardised containers which also enabled the ports, container terminals and handling equipment to be standardized across the globe, the evolution of which has resulted in the current mega-ships capable of carrying more than 20,000 TEUs on a single ship..

Benefits of containerisation ranges from

  • Improved and quicker handling of cargo
  • Flexibility of cargo operation
  • Door to Door movement using same unit
  • Cargo security
  • Intermodal and multimodal operations allowing cargo to reach every nook and cranny of the world whether by sea or land
  • Cheaper per unit shipping which savings could be passed on to consumers

2016-04-22_upload_4250959_SIW 1218As per Clarksons Reasearch, from 1971-1996 (20 years after containers first came in to being), there was 41 million TEUs of additional trade generated with about 3 million TEUs of container capacity delivered to serve the global industry..

From 1997 till 2016, this increased to 136 million TEUs of additional trade with 20 million TEU capacity delivered..

Containerisation has also enabled end to end seamless supply chain possibilities which has created further growth, employment and developmental opportunities..

Not just in shipping, containers are now used in many countries to create affordable and cheap housing especially for students..

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So all in all Happy 60th birthday to container and container shipping..

60th birthday

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  1. Hello from germany, my name is Markus and i am writing about Containerization and it’s effect on world tride in my bachelor-studies, and one question i still haven’t found to be answered is – why where the standard-containers developed to be 8 feet wide?
    It seems to have reasons, but i couldn’t find out. The common pallets for example are 48 x 40 inches what means, the 8 feet wide container would in any combination possible has left space. Even combined with 42 x 42 ones, it is not best fitting.
    US Road Regulations allowed 8.5 feet. Any ideas on this? Thanks a lot!


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