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How Containers Changed Shipping

July 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by: Port Containers

Shipping containers are taken for granted nowadays, but a lot of thought and effort had to go into the transport of goods across the nation. Concerns about weather, methods of transport, and even the types of goods shipped all affected the shipping container. Without this large metal box, much of our modern world would be different. Here are just some of the areas where shipping containers have had a huge impact.


Containerization really began in 18th century England, with coal miners who needed a method to transport their stock from the mines to the consumer. They rigged horse-drawn carriages with a makeshift container, usually with an open top. They could then transport their stock by barge to its intended destination. Auto makers in the US used a similar technique to transport cars, and the Army used them to carry goods to soldiers out in the fields. Metal became the preferred material, because wood would break too easily. These early forms of shipment eventually gave birth to the shipping containers we see today.


The effects of using containers were felt worldwide. Especially with refrigerated containers, which greatly changed the agriculture industry and allowed greater market penetration. It also localized farming into a few specific areas, but gave farmers the ability to ship their goods long distances. Larger containers enabled more stock to be moved at once, while insulated containers kept stock from harm at sea or against the elements.


Of course, new standards were needed to guide the usage of these containers. Standard lengths, for instance, had to be employed to ensure containers would fit on any transport barge. There are also standards for weight. These affect the cargo in transit, and the transport itself. Some of these choices had to do with circumstance. For instance, height restrictions were put into place to because railways were the primary source of transport and tunnels were built to a specific height.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re using new or used storage containers, you must conform to national standards put into place. Containers are highly regulated, and the transport of goods is crucial to modern society. Without insulation, refrigeration, and regulation, we would not be able to efficiently transport goods. It’s safe to say that shipping containers, however innocuous, have completely revolutionized the modern world.