Containerization
Overview
 
Containerization is a system of freight transport
Intermodal freight transport
Intermodal freight transport involves the transportation of freight in an intermodal container or vehicle, using multiple modes of transportation , without any handling of the freight itself when changing modes. The method reduces cargo handling, and so improves security, reduces damages and...

 based on a range of steel intermodal container
Intermodal container
An intermodal container is a standardized reusable steel box used for the safe, efficient and secure storage and movement of materials and products within a global containerized intermodal freight transport system...

s (also 'shipping containers', 'ISO containers' etc). Containers are built to standardised dimensions, and can be loaded and unloaded, stacked, transported efficiently over long distances, and transferred from one mode of transport to another—container ship
Container ship
Container ships are cargo ships that carry all of their load in truck-size intermodal containers, in a technique called containerization. They form a common means of commercial intermodal freight transport.-History:...

s, rail
Flatcar
A flatcar is a piece of railroad or railway rolling stock that consists of an open, flat deck on four or six wheels or a pair of trucks or bogies . The deck of the car can be wood or steel, and the sides of the deck can include pockets for stakes or tie-down points to secure loads...

 and semi-trailer truck
Semi-trailer truck
A semi-trailer truck, also known as a semi, tractor-trailer, or articulated truck or articulated lorry, is an articulated vehicle consisting of a towing engine , and a semi-trailer A semi-trailer truck, also known as a semi, tractor-trailer, or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) articulated truck...

s—without being opened. The system was developed after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, led to greatly reduced transport costs, and supported a vast increase in international trade.
Containerisation has its origins in early coal mining regions in England from the late 18th century on.
Encyclopedia
Containerization is a system of freight transport
Intermodal freight transport
Intermodal freight transport involves the transportation of freight in an intermodal container or vehicle, using multiple modes of transportation , without any handling of the freight itself when changing modes. The method reduces cargo handling, and so improves security, reduces damages and...

 based on a range of steel intermodal container
Intermodal container
An intermodal container is a standardized reusable steel box used for the safe, efficient and secure storage and movement of materials and products within a global containerized intermodal freight transport system...

s (also 'shipping containers', 'ISO containers' etc). Containers are built to standardised dimensions, and can be loaded and unloaded, stacked, transported efficiently over long distances, and transferred from one mode of transport to another—container ship
Container ship
Container ships are cargo ships that carry all of their load in truck-size intermodal containers, in a technique called containerization. They form a common means of commercial intermodal freight transport.-History:...

s, rail
Flatcar
A flatcar is a piece of railroad or railway rolling stock that consists of an open, flat deck on four or six wheels or a pair of trucks or bogies . The deck of the car can be wood or steel, and the sides of the deck can include pockets for stakes or tie-down points to secure loads...

 and semi-trailer truck
Semi-trailer truck
A semi-trailer truck, also known as a semi, tractor-trailer, or articulated truck or articulated lorry, is an articulated vehicle consisting of a towing engine , and a semi-trailer A semi-trailer truck, also known as a semi, tractor-trailer, or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) articulated truck...

s—without being opened. The system was developed after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, led to greatly reduced transport costs, and supported a vast increase in international trade.

Origins

Containerisation has its origins in early coal mining regions in England from the late 18th century on. In 1795 Bejamin Outram opened the Little Eaton Gangway upon which coal was carried in wagons built at his Butterley Ironworks. The horse-drawn wheeled wagons on the Gangway took the form of containers, which, loaded with coal, could be transhipped from canal barges on the Derby Canal which Outram had also promoted.

By the 1830s, railroads on several continents were carrying containers that could be transferred to other modes of transport. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway in the United Kingdom was one such. "Simple rectangular timber boxes, four to a wagon, they were used to convey coal from the Lancashire collieries to Liverpool, where they were transferred to horse drawn carts by crane." Originally used for moving coal on and off barges, 'loose boxes' were used to containerize coal from the late 1780s, at places like the Bridgewater Canal
Bridgewater Canal
The Bridgewater Canal connects Runcorn, Manchester and Leigh, in North West England. It was commissioned by Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, to transport coal from his mines in Worsley to Manchester...

. By the 1840s, iron boxes were in use as well as wooden ones. The early 1900s saw the adoption of closed container boxes designed for movement between road and rail.

In the United Kingdom, several railway companies were using similar containers by the beginning of the 20th century and in the 1920s the Railway Clearing House
Railway Clearing House
The British Railway Clearing House was an organisation set up to manage the allocation of revenue collected by numerous pre-grouping railway companies...

 standardised the RCH container. Five- or ten-foot-long, wooden and non-stackable, these early standard containers were a great success, but the standard remained UK-specific.

From 1926 to 1947 in the US, the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railway carried motor carrier vehicles and shippers' vehicles loaded on flatcar
Flatcar
A flatcar is a piece of railroad or railway rolling stock that consists of an open, flat deck on four or six wheels or a pair of trucks or bogies . The deck of the car can be wood or steel, and the sides of the deck can include pockets for stakes or tie-down points to secure loads...

s between Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois. Beginning in 1929, Seatrain Lines
Seatrain Lines
Seatrain Lines was a shipping company most responsible for the introduction of the standard international intermodal container, most commonly high by 8 feet wide by long...

 carried railroad boxcars on its sea vessels to transport goods between New York and Cuba. In the mid-1930s, the Chicago Great Western Railway
Chicago Great Western Railway
The Chicago Great Western Railway was a Class I railroad that linked Chicago, Minneapolis, Omaha, and Kansas City. It was founded by Alpheus Beede Stickney in 1885 as a regional line between St. Paul and the Iowa state line called the Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad...

 and then the New Haven Railroad began "piggy-back" service (transporting highway freight trailers on flatcars) limited to their own railroads. By 1953, the CB&Q
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad
The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad was a railroad that operated in the Midwestern United States. Commonly referred to as the Burlington or as the Q, the Burlington Route served a large area, including extensive trackage in the states of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri,...

, the Chicago and Eastern Illinois
Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad
The Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad was a Class I railroad that linked Chicago to southern Illinois, St. Louis, and Evansville. Founded in 1877, it grew aggressively and stayed relatively strong throughout the Great Depression and two World Wars before being purchased by the Missouri Pacific...

 and the Southern Pacific
Southern Pacific Railroad
The Southern Pacific Transportation Company , earlier Southern Pacific Railroad and Southern Pacific Company, and usually simply called the Southern Pacific or Espee, was an American railroad....

 railroads had joined the innovation. Most cars were surplus flatcars equipped with new decks. By 1955, an additional 25 railroads had begun some form of piggy-back trailer service.

During WWII the Australian Army used containers to help overcome the various breaks of gauge. These non-stackable containers were about these size of the later 20 foot ISO container and perhaps made mainly of wood
.

In 1955, former trucking company owner Malcom McLean
Malcom McLean
Malcom Purcell McLean , born in Maxton, North Carolina, was an American entrepreneur, often called "the father of containerization"...

 worked with engineer Keith Tantlinger
Keith Tantlinger
Keith Walton Tantlinger was a mechanical engineer and inventor whose inventions played a major role in globalization. Working with Malcom McLean, who spearheaded the container ship revolution in the 1950s, Tantlinger developed much of the early technology that made modern container shipping...

 to develop the modern intermodal container
Intermodal container
An intermodal container is a standardized reusable steel box used for the safe, efficient and secure storage and movement of materials and products within a global containerized intermodal freight transport system...

. The challenge was to design a shipping container
Shipping container
A shipping container is a container with strength suitable to withstand shipment, storage, and handling. Shipping containers range from large reusable steel boxes used for intermodal shipments to the ubiquitous corrugated boxes...

 that could efficiently be loaded onto ships and held securely on long sea voyages. The result was a 8 feet (2.4 m) tall by 8 ft (2.4 m) wide box in 10 ft (3 m)-long units constructed from 25 mm (0.984251968503937 in) thick corrugated steel. The design incorporated a twistlock
Twistlock
A twistlock and corner casting together form a standardised rotating connector for securing shipping containers. The primary uses are for locking a container into place on container ship, semi-trailer truck or railway container train; and for lifting of the containers by container cranes and...

 mechanism atop each of the four corners, allowing the container to be easily secured and lifted
Spreader (container)
The spreader is a device used for lifting containers and unitized cargo.The spreader used for containers has a locking mechanism at each corner that attaches the four corners of the container. A spreader can be used on a container crane, a straddle carrier and at any other machinery to lift...

 using cranes. After helping McLean make the successful design, Tantlinger convinced him to give the patented designs to the industry; this began international standardization of shipping containers.

Toward the end of World War II, the United States Army used specialized containers to speed the loading and unloading of transport ships. The army used the term "transporters" to identify the containers, for shipping household goods of officers in the field. A "transporter" was a reusable container, 8.5 feet (2.6 m) long, 6.25 feet (1.9 m) wide, and 6.83 feet (2.1 m) high, made of rigid steel with a carrying capacity of 9,000 pounds. During the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 the transporter was evaluated for handling sensitive military equipment and, proving effective, was approved for broader use. Theft of material, damage to wooden crates, and prolonged handling time by longshoremen at the Port of Busan
Busan
Busan , formerly spelled Pusan is South Korea's second largest metropolis after Seoul, with a population of around 3.6 million. The Metropolitan area population is 4,399,515 as of 2010. It is the largest port city in South Korea and the fifth largest port in the world...

, convinced the army that steel containers were needed. In 1952 the army began using the term CONEX, short for "Container Express". The first major shipment of CONEXes, containing engineering supplies and spare parts, was made by rail from the Columbus General Depot in Georgia to the Port of San Francisco, then by ship to Yokohama, Japan, and then to Korea, in late 1952; shipment times were almost halved. By the time of the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 the majority of supplies and materials were shipped with the CONEX. After the U.S. Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 standardized an 8'×8' cross section container in multiples of 10' lengths for military use, it was rapidly adopted for shipping purposes.

These standards were adopted in the United Kingdom for containers, and largely displaced wooden containers in the 1950s. The railways of the USSR had their own small containers.

Purpose-built ships

The first vessels purpose-built to carry containers began operation in Denmark in 1951. In the U.S., ships began carrying containers in 1951, between Seattle and Alaska. The world's first intermodal container system used the purpose-built container ship the Clifford J. Rodgers, built in Montreal in 1955 and owned by the White Pass and Yukon Route
White Pass and Yukon Route
The White Pass and Yukon Route is a Canadian and U.S. Class II narrow gauge railroad linking the port of Skagway, Alaska, with Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon. An isolated system, it has no direct connection to any other railroad. Equipment, freight and passengers are ferried by ship through the...

. Its first trip carried 600 containers between North Vancouver, British Columbia and Skagway, Alaska, on November 26, 1955; in Skagway, the containers were unloaded to purpose-built railroad car
Railroad car
A railroad car or railway vehicle , also known as a bogie in Indian English, is a vehicle on a rail transport system that is used for the carrying of cargo or passengers. Cars can be coupled together into a train and hauled by one or more locomotives...

s for transport north to the Yukon, in the first intermodal
Intermodal freight transport
Intermodal freight transport involves the transportation of freight in an intermodal container or vehicle, using multiple modes of transportation , without any handling of the freight itself when changing modes. The method reduces cargo handling, and so improves security, reduces damages and...

 service using trucks, ships and railroad cars. Southbound containers were loaded by shippers in the Yukon and moved by rail, ship and truck to their consignees, without opening. This first intermodal system operated from November 1955 for many years.

The U.S. container shipping industry dates to April 26, 1956, when trucking entrepreneur McLean put 58 containers aboard a refitted tanker ship, the Ideal-X, and sailed them from Newark
Newark, New Jersey
Newark is the largest city in the American state of New Jersey, and the seat of Essex County. As of the 2010 United States Census, Newark had a population of 277,140, maintaining its status as the largest municipality in New Jersey. It is the 68th largest city in the U.S...

 to Houston. What was new in the USA about McLean's innovation was the idea of using large containers that were never opened in transit between shipper and consignee and that were transferable on an intermodal basis, among trucks, ships and railroad cars. McLean had initially favored the construction of "trailerships"—taking trailers from large trucks and stowing them in a ship’s cargo
Cargo
Cargo is goods or produce transported, generally for commercial gain, by ship, aircraft, train, van or truck. In modern times, containers are used in most intermodal long-haul cargo transport.-Marine:...

 hold. This method of stowage, referred to as roll-on/roll-off, was not adopted because of the large waste in potential cargo space onboard the vessel, known as broken stowage
Stowage
In naval architecture, stowage is the amount of room available for stowing materials aboard a ship....

. Instead, McLean modified his original concept into loading just the containers, not the chassis, onto the ships, hence the designation container ship or "box" ship. (See also pantechnicon van
Pantechnicon van
A Pantechnicon van, currently usually shortened to pantechnicon, was originally a furniture removal van drawn by horses and used by the British company "The Pantechnicon" for delivering and collecting furniture which its customers wished to store...

 and trolley and lift van
Trolley and lift van
The trolley was a platform body with four relatively small wheels mounted underneath it, the front two on a turntable undercarriage. It was drawn by a pair of horses and the driver's seat was mounted on the headboard....

.)

Towards standards

During containerization's first 20 years, many container sizes and corner fittings were used; there were dozens of incompatible container systems in the U.S. alone. Among the biggest operators, the Matson Navigation Company
Matson Navigation Company
The Matson Navigation Company, a subsidiary of Alexander & Baldwin, is a private shipping company with roots extending into the late 19th century...

 had a fleet of 24 feet (7.3 m) containers while Sea-Land Service, Inc used 35 feet (10.7 m) containers. The standard sizes and fitting and reinforcement norms that now exist evolved out of a series of compromises among international shipping companies, European railroads, U.S. railroads, and U.S. trucking companies. Four important ISO (International Organization for Standardization
International Organization for Standardization
The International Organization for Standardization , widely known as ISO, is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on February 23, 1947, the organization promulgates worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial...

) recommendations standardized containerization globally
  • January 1968: R-668 defined the terminology, dimensions and ratings
  • July 1968: R-790 defined the identification markings
  • January 1970: R-1161 made recommendations about corner fittings
  • October 1970: R-1897 set out the minimum internal dimensions of general purpose freight containers


In the United States, containerization and other advances in shipping were impeded by the Interstate Commerce Commission
Interstate Commerce Commission
The Interstate Commerce Commission was a regulatory body in the United States created by the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887. The agency's original purpose was to regulate railroads to ensure fair rates, to eliminate rate discrimination, and to regulate other aspects of common carriers, including...

 (ICC), which was created in 1887 to keep railroads from using monopolist pricing and rate discrimination but fell victim to regulatory capture
Regulatory capture
In economics, regulatory capture occurs when a state regulatory agency created to act in the public interest instead advances the commercial or special interests that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating. Regulatory capture is a form of government failure, as it can act as...

. By the 1960s, ICC approval was required before any shipper could carry different items in the same vehicle, or change rates. The United States' present fully integrated systems became possible only after the ICC's regulatory oversight was cut back (and abolished in 1995); trucking and rail were deregulated in the 1970s and maritime rates were deregulated in 1984.

Double-stack rail transport
Double-stack rail transport
Double-stack rail transport is a form of Intermodal freight transport where intermodal containers are stacked two high on railroad cars. Introduced in North America in 1984, double stack has become increasingly common, being used for nearly 70% of United States intermodal shipments...

, where containers are stacked two high on railway cars, was introduced in 1984, with the first use in the United States.

Effects

Containerization greatly reduced the expense of international trade and increased its speed, especially of consumer goods and commodities. It also dramatically changed the character of port cities worldwide. Prior to highly mechanized container transfers, crews of 20-22 longshoremen would pack individual cargoes into the hold of a ship. After containerization, large crews of longshoremen were no longer necessary at port facilities and the profession changed drastically.

Meanwhile the port facilities needed to support containerization changed. One effect was the decline of some ports and the rise of others. At the Port of San Francisco, the former piers used for loading and unloading were no longer required, but there was little room to build the vast holding lots needed for container transport. As a result the Port of San Francisco virtually ceased to function as a major commercial port, but the neighboring port of Oakland emerged as the second largest on the West Coast of America. A similar fate met the relation between the ports of Manhattan and New Jersey. In the UK, longshoremen's unions protested the change to containerization, resulting in the elimination of London and Liverpool as major ports. Meanwhile, Britain's Felixtowe and Rotterdam in the Netherlands emerged as major ports. In general, inland port
Inland port
The term inland port is used in two different but related ways to mean either a port on an inland waterway or an inland site carrying out some functions of a seaport.- As a port on an inland waterway :...

s on waterways incapable of deep draft
Draft (hull)
The draft of a ship's hull is the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull , with the thickness of the hull included; in the case of not being included the draft outline would be obtained...

 ship traffic also declined from containerization in favor of seaports. With intermodal containers, the job of sorting and packing containers could be performed far from the point of embarcation.

Twenty-first century

approximately 90% of non-bulk cargo
Bulk cargo
Bulk cargo is commodity cargo that is transported unpackaged in large quantities. This cargo is usually dropped or poured, with a spout or shovel bucket, as a liquid or as a mass of relatively small solids , into a bulk carrier ship's hold, railroad car, or tanker truck/trailer/semi-trailer body...

 worldwide is moved by containers stacked on transport ships; 26% of all container transhipment is carried out in China. For example in 2009 there were 105,976,701 transhipments in China (both international and coastal; excluding Hong Kong), 21,040,096 in Hong Kong (which is listed separately), and only 34,299,572 in the United States. In 2005 some 18 million containers made over 200 million trips per year. Some ships can carry over , for example the Emma Mærsk
Emma Mærsk
Emma Mærsk is the first container ship in the E-class of eight owned by the A. P. Moller-Maersk Group. When she was launched in 2006, Emma Mærsk was the largest container ship ever built...

, 396 m long, launched August 2006. It has been predicted that, at some point, container ships will be constrained in size only by the depth of the Straits of Malacca, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, linking the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. This so-called Malaccamax
Malaccamax
Malaccamax is a naval architecture term for the largest size of ship capable of fitting through the -deep Strait of Malacca. Because the Sunda Strait is even shallower at minimum depth, a post-Malaccamax ship would need to use even longer alternate routes such as:*Lombok Strait, Makassar Strait,...

 size constrains a ship to dimensions of 470 m (1,542 ft) in length and 60 m (196.9 ft) wide.

However, few initially foresaw the extent of the influence of containerization on the shipping industry. In the 1950s Harvard University economist Benjamin Chinitz predicted that containerization would benefit New York by allowing it to ship its industrial goods more cheaply to the Southern United States than other areas, but did not anticipate that containerization might make it cheaper to import such goods from abroad. Most economic studies of containerization merely assumed that shipping companies would begin to replace older forms of transportation with containerization, but did not predict that the process of containerization itself would have a more direct influence on the choice of producers and increase the total volume of trade.

The widespread use of ISO standard containers has driven modifications in other freight-moving standards, gradually forcing removable truck bodies or swap bodies
Swap body
A swap body is a standard freight container for road and rail transport.Basic standardization is set with Euronorms EN 283, EN 284 and EN 452 for construction and design, as well as EN 13044 for marking and identification. The panel responsible for developing standards is CEN/TC 119...

 into standard sizes and shapes (though without the strength needed to be stacked), and changing completely the worldwide use of freight pallet
Pallet
A pallet , sometimes called a skid, is a flat transport structure that supports goods in a stable fashion while being lifted by a forklift, pallet jack, front loader or other jacking device. A pallet is the structural foundation of a unit load which allows handling and storage efficiencies...

s that fit into ISO containers or into commercial vehicles.

Improved cargo security is also an important benefit of containerization. The cargo is not visible to the casual viewer and thus is less likely to be stolen; the doors of the containers are usually sealed so that tampering is more evident. Some containers are fitted with electronic monitoring devices and can be remotely monitored for changes in air pressure, which happens when the doors are opened. This reduced the thefts that had long plagued the shipping industry.

Use of the same basic sizes of containers across the globe has lessened the problems caused by incompatible rail gauge
Rail gauge
Track gauge or rail gauge is the distance between the inner sides of the heads of the two load bearing rails that make up a single railway line. Sixty percent of the world's railways use a standard gauge of . Wider gauges are called broad gauge; smaller gauges, narrow gauge. Break-of-gauge refers...

 sizes in different countries. The majority of the rail networks in the world operate on a gauge track known as standard gauge
Standard gauge
The standard gauge is a widely-used track gauge . Approximately 60% of the world's existing railway lines are built to this gauge...

, but many countries (such as Russia, India, Finland, and Lithuania) use broader gauges
Broad gauge
Broad-gauge railways use a track gauge greater than the standard gauge of .- List :For list see: List of broad gauges, by gauge and country- History :...

, while many others in Africa and South America use narrower gauges
Narrow gauge
A narrow gauge railway is a railway that has a track gauge narrower than the of standard gauge railways. Most existing narrow gauge railways have gauges of between and .- Overview :...

 on their networks. The use of container trains in all these countries makes trans-shipment between different gauge trains easier.

Containers have become a popular way to ship private cars and other vehicles
Car shipping
In the ocean shipping trade, neo-bulk cargo is a type of cargo that is a subcategory of general cargo, alongside the other subcategories of break-bulk cargo and containerized cargo...

 overseas using 20 or 40ft containers. Unlike roll-on/roll-off vehicle shipping, personal effects can be loaded into the container with the vehicle, allowing for easy international relocation.

ISO standard

There are five common standard lengths, 20-ft (6.1 m), 40-ft (12.2 m), 45-ft (13.7 m), 48-ft (14.6 m), and 53-ft (16.2 m). United States domestic standard containers are generally 48 ft (14.6 m) and 53-ft (rail and truck). Container capacity is often expressed in twenty-foot equivalent unit
Twenty-foot equivalent unit
The twenty-foot equivalent unit is an inexact unit of cargo capacity often used to describe the capacity of container ships and container terminals...

s
(TEU, or sometimes teu). An equivalent unit is a measure of containerized cargo capacity equal to one standard 20 ft (length) × 8 ft (width) container. As this is an approximate measure, the height of the box is not considered, for instance the 9 ft 6 in (2.9 m) High cube and the 4-ft 3-in (1.3 m) half height 20 ft (6.1 m) containers are also called one TEU.

The maximum gross mass for a 20 ft (6.1 m) dry cargo container is 24,000 kg, and for a 40-ft (including the 2.87 m (9 ft 6 in) high cube container), it is 30,480 kg. Allowing for the tare mass
Tare weight
Tare , from the Middle French word tare "wastage in goods, deficiency, imperfection" , from Italian tara, from Arabic tarah, lit. "thing deducted or rejected," from taraha "to reject" weight, sometimes called unladen weight, is the weight of an empty vehicle or container...

 of the container, the maximum payload mass is therefore reduced to approximately 22,000 kg for 20 ft (6.1 m), and 27,000 kg for 40 ft (12.2 m) containers.

The original choice of 8 feet (2.4 m) height for ISO containers was made in part to suit a large proportion of railway tunnels, though some had to be modified. With the arrival of even taller containers, further enlargement is proving necessary.

Air freight containers

While major airlines use containers that are custom designed for their aircraft and associated ground handling equipment the IATA
International Air Transport Association
The International Air Transport Association is an international industry trade group of airlines headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where the International Civil Aviation Organization is also headquartered. The executive offices are at the Geneva Airport in SwitzerlandIATA's mission is to...

 has created a set of standard aluminium container sizes of up to 11.52 m³ (406.8 cu ft) in volume.

Other container system standards

Some other container systems (in date order) are:
  • Haus-zu-Haus (house to house; Germany)

  • ARKAS
    Arkas
    Arkas a Greek comics artist that started his work in middle 80s. He seldom appears at conventions, and generally avoids publicity and appearances on television shows or interviews, as he has been quoted as believing that the artist should be known through his work, not through personal promotion...


  • (1922) NYC container
    NYC container
    - Specifications :Details include:* Width: 9 ft* Length: 7 ft* Height: 6 ft 4in* Tare weight 9,000 lbs...


  • Japanese railway containers: Containers used by the Japan Freight Railway Company
    Japan Freight Railway Company
    , or , is one of the constituent companies of Japan Railways Group . It provides transportation of cargo nationwide. Its headquarters are in Shibuya, Tokyo near Shinjuku Station....


  • (1925) Mack

  • (1927) English Railway container

  • (1928) Victorian Railways
    Victorian Railways
    The Victorian Railways operated railways in the Australian state of Victoria from 1859 to 1983. The first railways in Victoria were private companies, but when these companies failed or defaulted, the Victorian Railways was established to take over their operations...

     - refrigerted container

  • (1929) International Competition

  • (1930) GWR Container
    GWR Container
    - Specifications :Details include:* Width: 7 ft 4in * Length: 4 ft 4.5in * Height: 1 ft 6.5in * Tare:  6 cwt* Load:  1 ton 10cwt...


  • (1931) International Chamber of Commerce

  • (1933) International Container Bureau
    International Container Bureau
    The International Container Bureau oversees standards for intermodal containers, commonly referred to as "shipping containers".The goal of the organization is to promote cooperations between corporations, government units and independent organizations relating to intermodal freight transport, the...


  • (1936) SAR
    South Australian Railways
    South Australian Railways built and operated railways in South Australia from 1854 to the incorporation of its non-urban railways into the Australian National Railways Commission in 1975, together with the former Commonwealth Railways and the former Tasmanian Government Railways...

     Wolseley
    Wolseley
    -Businesses:* The Wolseley, a restaurant at 160 Piccadilly, London, based in the former head showroom of the Wolseley Motor Company* Wolseley plc, a UK-based multinational building supplies company which was formerly active in other sectors...

     break of gauge

  • (1946) Queensland Railways milk container, 2000 gallons, road-rail

  • (1978) RACE
    RACE (container)
    Railways of Australia Container Express or RACE was a slightly wider version of the standard ISO shipping container able to take 2 Australia Standard Pallets side by side...

     (Australia)

  • (1998) PODS
    PODS (company)
    PODS, or Portable On Demand Storage is a moving and storage company. It was founded in 1998 and is based in Clearwater, Florida.- Business :...


  • (2005?) SECU
    SECU (container)
    SECU, Stora Enso Cargo Unit, is a type of intermodal container built to transport bulk cargo like paper on railway and ship....

     (Sweden, Finland, UK) - big 95 t container.

Additional fuel costs

Containerization increases the fuel costs and reduces the capacity of the transport as the container itself, in addition to its contents, must be transported; stackable standardised containers are usually heavier than packaging with less stringent requirements. For certain bulk products this makes containerization unattractive. However, for most goods the increased fuel costs and decreased transport efficiencies are more than offset by the savings in handling costs. On railways the maximum weight of the container is far from the railcar's maximum weight capacity, and the ratio of goods to railcar is much lower than in a break-bulk situation. In some areas (mostly the USA, Canada and India) containers can be carried double stacked by rail
Double-stack rail transport
Double-stack rail transport is a form of Intermodal freight transport where intermodal containers are stacked two high on railroad cars. Introduced in North America in 1984, double stack has become increasingly common, being used for nearly 70% of United States intermodal shipments...

, but this is usually not possible in other rail systems.

Hazards

Containers have been used to smuggle contraband
Contraband
The word contraband, reported in English since 1529, from Medieval French contrebande "a smuggling," denotes any item which, relating to its nature, is illegal to be possessed or sold....

. The vast majority of containers are never subjected to scrutiny due to the large number of containers in use. In recent years there have been increased concerns that containers might be used to transport terrorists or terrorist materials into a country undetected. The U.S. government has advanced the Container Security Initiative
Container Security Initiative
The Container Security Initiative was launched in 2002 by the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection , an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. Its purpose was to increase security for container cargo shipped to the United States...

 (CSI), intended to ensure that high-risk cargo is examined or scanned, preferably at the port of departure.

Empty containers

Containers are intended to be used constantly, being loaded with new cargo for a new destination soon after having been emptied of previous cargo. This is not always possible, and in some cases, the cost of transporting an empty container to a place where it can be used is considered to be higher than the worth of the used container. Shipping line
Shipping line
-History of shipping lines:Large-scale shipping lines became widespread in the nineteenth century, after the development of the steamship in 1783. At first, Great Britain was the centr of development; in 1819, the first steamship crossing of the Atlantic Ocean took place and by 1833, shipping lines...

s and Container Leasing Companies have become expert at repositioning empty containers from areas of low or no demand, such as the US West Coast, to areas of high demand such as China. However, damaged or retired containers may also be recycled in the form of shipping container architecture
Shipping container architecture
Shipping container architecture is a form of architecture using steel intermodal containers as structural element, because of their inherent strength, wide availability and relatively low cost.-Advantages:Strength and durability...

, or the steel content salvaged. In the summer of 2010, a world wide shortage of containers developed as shipping increased post-recession, while new container production had largely ceased.

Loss at sea

Containers occasionally fall from the ships, usually during storms; between 2,000 and 10,000 containers are lost at sea each year. For instance, on November 30, 2006, a container washed ashore on the Outer Banks of North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

 USA, along with thousands of bags of its cargo of Doritos Chips
Doritos
Doritos is a brand of seasoned tortilla chips created by Arch West and produced since 1964 by the American food company Frito-Lay ....

. Containers lost in rough waters are smashed by cargo and waves and often sink quickly. Although not all containers sink, they seldom float very high out of the water, making them a shipping hazard that is difficult to detect. Freight from lost containers has provided oceanographers with unexpected opportunities to track global ocean current
Ocean current
An ocean current is a continuous, directed movement of ocean water generated by the forces acting upon this mean flow, such as breaking waves, wind, Coriolis effect, cabbeling, temperature and salinity differences and tides caused by the gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun...

s, notably a cargo of Friendly Floatees
Friendly Floatees
Friendly Floatees are plastic bath toys marketed by The First Years, Inc. and made famous by the work of Curtis Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer who models ocean currents on the basis of flotsam movements including those of a consignment of Friendly Floatees washed into the Pacific Ocean in...

.

In 2007 the International Chamber of Shipping
International Chamber of Shipping
The International Chamber of Shipping is the world's principal shipping organisation, representing around 75% of the world’s merchant tonnage; through membership of national shipowners' associations, concerned with all regulatory, operational and legal issues....

 and the World Shipping Council
World Shipping Council
The World Shipping Council is the peak industry trade group representing general cargo and container shipping lines. The WSC is headquartered in Washington, D.C...

 began work on a code of practice for container storage, including crew training on parametric rolling, safer stacking, the marking of containers and security for above-deck cargo in heavy swell.

In 2011, the MV Rena
MV Rena
MV Rena is a container ship owned by the Greek shipping company Costamare Inc. through one of its subsidiaries, Daina Shipping Co. The ship was built in 1990 as ZIM America for the Israeli shipping company Zim by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG in Kiel, Germany...

 ran aground off the coast of New Zealand. As the ship listed, some containers were lost, while others were held on board at a precarious angle.

Trade union challenges

Some of the biggest battles in the container revolution were waged in Washington, D.C. Intermodal shipping got a huge boost in the early 1970s when carriers won permission to quote combined rail-ocean rates. Later, non-vessel-operating common carriers
Common carrier
A common carrier in common-law countries is a person or company that transports goods or people for any person or company and that is responsible for any possible loss of the goods during transport...

 won a long court battle with a U.S. Supreme Court decision against contracts that attempted to require that union labor be used for stuffing and stripping containers at off-pier locations.

Other uses for containers

Shipping container architecture
Shipping container architecture
Shipping container architecture is a form of architecture using steel intermodal containers as structural element, because of their inherent strength, wide availability and relatively low cost.-Advantages:Strength and durability...

 is the use of containers as the basis for housing and other functional buildings for people, either as temporary or permanent housing, and either as a main building or as a cabin or workshop. Containers can also be used as sheds or storage areas in industry and commerce.

Containers are also beginning to be used to house computer data centers, although these are normally specialized containers.

BBC tracking project

On September 5, 2008 the BBC embarked on a year-long project to study international trade and globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

 by tracking a shipping container on its journey around the world.

See also

  • 2000s energy crisis
  • Full container load
    Full Container Load
    A Full Container Load is a standard depending on location of origin Country, but sometimes it is standard container that is stuffed and un-stuffed under the risk and account of one shipper and only one consignee, in practice it means whole container is intended for one consignee. FCL container...

  • Less than container load
    Less than container load
    Less than container load is a shipment that is not large enough to fill a standard cargo container. The abbreviation LCL formerly applied to "Less than Car Load" for quantities of material from different shippers or for delivery to different destinations which might be carried in a single...

  • List of world's busiest container ports
  • Little Eaton Gangway
    Little Eaton Gangway
    The Little Eaton Gangway, or, to give it its official title, the Derby Canal Railway, was a narrow gauge industrial wagonway serving the Derby Canal, in England, at Little Eaton in Derbyshire.- The Derby Canal :...

  • Shipping portal
    Shipping portal
    Shipping portals are web-based communities which allow shippers, consignees and forwarders access to multiple carriers through a single site and concentrate on providing bookings, track and trace, documentation functions, and allow users to communicate with their carriers...

  • Tanktainers
  • Unit load
    Unit load
    A unit load combines individual items or items in shipping containers into a single "unit" that can be moved easily with pallet jack or forklift truck...


Further reading

– Novel set in U.S., wherein mystery surrounding a containerized shipment serves as the MacGuffin
MacGuffin
A MacGuffin is "a plot element that catches the viewers' attention or drives the plot of a work of fiction". The defining aspect of a MacGuffin is that the major players in the story are willing to do and sacrifice almost anything to obtain it, regardless of what the MacGuffin actually is...

 – How Container Ships Changed the World – Containerisation from the 1950s to the Present
  • ASTM D 5728 Standard Practice for Securement of Cargo in Intermodal and Unimodal Surface Transport – types, inspection, climate, stowage, securing, capacity – a guidebook for first responders during the initial phase of a dangerous goods/hazardous materials incident - A good pictorial introduction to containers

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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