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History of Shipping Container?


Malcom McLean , the inventor can be said as the founder of intermodal shipping container.

In the year 1956 American Businessman Malcom Mclean discovered shipping container which has now revolutionized shipping and global trade.


Before the invention if shipping containers, it was really difficult to undertake international shipping and logistics. All goods were manually transported, loaded and discharged into sacks, barrels and wooden creates from cargo vessels – known as break-bulk shipping. It could take up to 3 weeks to unload and load each ship. In Today's world a container ship can commence it's loading and discharge operations at port within 24 hours. Thanks to the invention of shipping containers.


For years Malcolm wondered how he could get his trucking company’s entire cargo loaded onto a shipping vessel as quickly and efficiently as possible. He started working with engineer Keith Tantlinger to engineer the world’s first shipping container. It was an incredible invention that eliminated wasted space and cut unloading time by up to 3 weeks. The most significant change is that the shipping container allowed cargo to be seamlessly transported between road, rail and sea. - Inco Docs


World's First Container Ship

In January 1956, after successfully securing a bank loan of $22 million, he bought two world war tankers. He oversaw the construction of wooden shelter decks, known as Mechano Decking.

McLean secured a bank loan for $22 million, and in January 1956 bought two World War II T-2 tankers, which he converted to carry containers on and under deck. McLean oversaw the construction of wooden shelter decks, known as Mechano decking. After several months of construction and hardwork, the first container ship converted from tanker the SS Ideal-X loaded and sailed from the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, New Jersey for the Port of Houston, Texas, carrying 58 35-foot (11 m) Trailer Vans [8] later called containers


In 1968 the International Standards Organisation standardised this invention as a standard box. The box was identified as being 20 foot long, 8 foot high and 8 foot wide. From then on ships were then completely re-designed around the dimensions of boxes. Nowadays container ships carry 90% of the World Trade Activities. Shipping has become relatively easy and comfortable with the use of standardized shipping containers.


Today’s modern shipping vessels can carry over 24,000 TEU shipping containers (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units). There are currently 20 million shipping containers ‘on the water’ travelling between countries all over the world.




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