Traditionally used for transport of goods across states and countries, shipping containers are now making a name for themselves on firm ground and being used for more than just storage and haulage. We’ve created a comprehensive guide to everything you might want to know and everything you need to know about shipping containers. Read on to find out about shipping containers, used, sizes, maintenance, and getting your hands on one for your next project.
Believe it or not, shipping containers are a fairly new method of transportation of goods, only dating back about 50 years. The use of shipping containers first sprung up in 1956, when an American trucking entrepreneur, Malcom McLean, sent trailer vans on a refitted tank ship from New Jersey to Texas.
Before shipping containers came into official use, goods were stored in warehouses at the shipping docks until a ship became available. Goods were then taken from here onto the ships, individually and stored in their crates and bags. Clearly this was quite an inefficient process, taking a long time, requiring plenty of man power to transfer goods on board, and risky for the goods themselves as they were exposed and easily damaged. This also meant that thousands of goods would also need to be accounted for at both ends of the process, meaning the unloading process could take up to a week.
In addition to this, if the goods needed transfer to a train, it would take even longer to unload from the ship, transport to the train station, and once again risk damage, theft, or loss to the goods.
McLean, already in the trucking business, was looking for an easier way to transport goods, and so the shipping container was born. Strong, standardised, stable, secure, and stackable. McLean then bought an oil tanker, modified it, and had it loaded with the containers. Shipping containers were keenly and quickly adopted, with orders flowing in before the first ship landed at its destination. And so, they say, the rest is history!