History of Container Transportations: How It Was?

History of container transportation

Today almost every item that we see in the shops is delivered with the help of container transportation. Metallic containers are considered to be the icon of standardization in the transportation sphere. Thanks to the containers, it is easier to perform loading and unloading operations in the ports. And today it is one of the most popular ways of cargo delivery. Leading American carriers like Excel Logistics logistic company often deliver goods from and to the ports, where the items are placed in containers. 

The countdown of the history of container transportation is the 26th of April, 1920. On that day 58 metallic containers were used to deliver cargo for the first time. With the help of them, every year people transfer hundreds of million tons of different goods. 

The creator is considered to be Malcolm McLean, who played an important role in logistics. He had an interesting idea in 1937. While waiting for the goods to unload in the port, he thought that it was more sensible to load not separate items, but the whole trailer. Later he understood that it would be more efficient to use metallic carcass, and the wheels were left on the bank. The idea wasn’t realized immediately, and it took 19 years to create conception.

It should be mentioned that iron boxes have been used even earlier. For example, such construction was used at the end of XVIII in England in railway transportation. Small iron containers were widely used in the USA to supply soldiers during the Second World War. Still, the father of container transportation is Malcolm McLean, as he performed the first transfer of container cargo.

The reason for McLean’s success was his complex approach. He didn’t just project a container, but he also developed a complex model of container transportation.

The problem of difference in weight and the necessity to take goods in different location led to the new creation. The creator thought that it would be more profitable to transfer goods by sea. As for the financial component, Malcolm McLean had a needed resource.

Malcolm McLean’s company took the fifth place among the largest American companies. It had a big car park and was quite beneficial. Thanks to this benefit, Malcolm McLean bought a company called Pan-Atlantic Steamship. Then he changed the title to ‘SeaLand’.

Despite all advantages, container transportation has been developed slowly. The Vietnam war helped Malcolm McLean. At the beginning of the war, the cargo and food supplies were not well-organized. The cargo was usually placed chaotically, and it made its processing more difficult. But McLean could sign the contract on test transferring of 226 containers with explosives.  

During the 15 years ‘SeaLand’ has become one of the leading shipping companies that had 27 thousand containers, 36 container carriers,  and 30 offices around the world. 

Today transportation companies use containers to deliver liquids, chemicals, and goods of general use. The sphere has new standards and limitations but something is still the same. It has a high speed of processing, low prices, and safety.