When it comes to the global economy, you have to understand that shipping containers changed everything. Yes, the small box surrounded by steel created a completely different approach when it comes to shipping and transporting goods and other stuff you may require.
It does not matter if it features phones from South Korea, toys from China, or wine from New Zealand because it is something that most merchants use to transport goods from one place to another.
You can love it or hate it, but globalization is the way the economy works nowadays.
According to statistics, during the early ’60s of the previous century, world merchandise trade was approximately 20% of global economic output.
However, things are entirely different now because it reached 50% of entire output, and even though it comes with certain advantages and disadvantages, shipping containers are responsible for raise.
You should have in mind that the most significant contributor and benefactor to globalization is a pure invention of corrugated steel boxes that we call shipping containers.
A Brief History of Shipping Containers
If you wish to understand the importance of metal boxes, you should imagine a trade journey before they entered the market. For instance, in 1954, a cargo ship carried merchandise from New York to Germany.
During that trip, more than five thousand tons of cargo, including household goods, foods, vehicles, and letters were carried in almost two hundred thousand small boxes, which is a number that will tell you all about it.
Now, imagine that you have to move all those boxes from the ship to land and vice versa. It was more time consuming and physically demanding, and it was not convenient at all. When they stored goods such as boxes of soap and barrels of olive, they used wooden pallets.
That is the main reason why you should know that in Michigan, you could easily find the best containers that will meet your needs.
They would combine pallets into a sling, and place it in the holding area. Inside, the dockworkers had to carry each item to the corner of the vessel, pulling and poking by using steel hooks until it is entirely in place.
They did that to reduce the possibility of shifting during transportation. This was highly problematic and dangerous work even when compared with physically demanding and risky jobs such as construction.
The mortality rate was unbelievable since, in a large port, someone would accidentally die almost every few weeks. During the ’50s, New York compiled half a dozen severe incidents every single day, and this particular port was considered as the safest one in the world.
When researchers analyzed the trip a ship made from New York to Germany, they concluded that they required at least ten days for loading and unloading, and that is the time needed to cross Atlantic Ocean.
When you combine this with typical delays in distributing and sorting cargo, the entire journey took three months. Even though shipping goods were expensive and time-consuming, everything changed when shipping containers entered the market.
Trucking companies could not agree on a standard with ports because some of them required large containers due to exceptional amount of goods, while others needed shorter and smaller versions.
At the same time, when merchants started using shipping containers, workers resisted the idea for quite a while. They did not welcome the new technology, because it meant that some workers became unnecessary and obsolete.
During that time, the USA regulations created standard prices that both truck and shipping companies could charge, and allowed them to merge into a single service. We have to mention that the inventor of this particular system was Malcolm McLean.
Check here if you wish to see more about Malcolm McLean.
The story starts with his biography since he was a trucking entrepreneur that did not have too much information on shipping in general. He knew plenty about tracks, as well as the ability to find holes in the system with an idea to save money in the long run.
He noticed that shipping containers could become revolution, but he also had to take chance to prove that his thoughts can become a reality. At first, he exploited a legal loophole so that he can control both trucking and shipping companies.
That lead dockers to start striking, and he used that time to create a new container specification. He is also responsible for boosting Puerto Rico’s economy by reducing the shipping rates towards the USA.
He also encouraged port authority to divide New York from New Jersey harbor centers. However, the radical coup began in the late ’60s when he sold an idea of container shipping to the US military.
The background story includes that the military had a logistical nightmare when they wanted to send equipment to Vietnam, which is why they asked McLean and his inventions to help them handle everything.
The US military adopted the system, which leads to immense popularity worldwide. McLean realized that empty container ships could collect payloads from various economies, including Japan, which had fastest-growing industry in the world.
That led to the creation of trans-Pacific trading relationship. For instance, if dockworkers from ’50s would see today’s shipping ports, they would find them unrecognizable.
Even the small container could carry thirty times more than before, and the loading/unloading process became faster and more straightforward in general.
We recommend you to enter this site: https://ustr.gov/tpp/ so that you can learn more about trans-Pacific partnership.
They have used enormous cranes that would lock onto containers and swing them towards the land and vice versa. Most of these engineering advances were controlled by a computer that would track every single container that passes a global logistical system.
At the same time, they would place refrigerator containers into a hull and monitor the temperature all the time to avoid issues that may happen. The most massive containers were at the bottom, to keep the ship’s gravity low.
Even though the containerization revolution changed the way we transport and store our belongings, some people were not happy about it. In numerous ports across the globe, especially in developing countries, ports still look like before without this particular system.
However, in today’s world, they are the standard and best way to move your products abroad without any additional hassle.