On April 26th 1956, a converted World War II tanker, the Ideal-X left the Port of Newark, New Jersey. Five days later, it arrived in Port Houston, Texas, with 58 35-feet (8 feet wide by 8 feet high) containers, along with a regular load of 15,000 tons of bulk petroleum. Malcom McLean had started something big, changing the long tradition of shipping goods on ships. Before that, cargo handling was almost as labor-intensive after World War II as it had been in the mid-1800s. After McLean's innovation, shipping was transformed by this, one of the most important innovations in the global markets of production and trade (Google books preview), though that's not without its complications. [more inside]
A tale of two shipping containers in photos.
Flags of Convenience allow ship owners to register ships to countries other than their own. More than half of current merchant ships are registered under them. As you might imagine, such a system can lead to abuse. In an op-ed in today's New York Times, Rose George suggests some changes. [more inside]
Shipping container architecture. A comprehensive repository of information, links, photos, and videos of shipping containers used as buildings or parts of buildings. More. Even more.
Happy 50th birthday (bugmenot) to "the box that changed the world". (Video interview with the author, here.) On April 26, 1956, Malcolm McLean, a trucker from rural North Carolina, hired a crane to hoist 58 trailer-sized steel cargo boxes onto a refitted oil tanker. This modest experiment would profoundly alter international trade and the global economy, eventually creating the "biggest real-time datastreaming network in the world."