The Evolution of Container Ships

Over the years a lot of development has taken place, in the ships and in the technology itself.

International cargoes were manually packaged and loaded into ships by port workers until 1956 and it was Malcom McLean, owner of a US trucking company, that realised what a waste of time and money that was. The whole process, loading and unloading, was highly complicated and the worktime invested could have been useful elsewhere.

During this time, McLean had the revolutionary idea to create a standard-sized trailer that could be loaded onto boats in one step and hundreds of these containers would find space on the boat.

Thanks to McLean`s idea, the length of time that ships stayed in the port was extremely shortened and the need for port workers had been reduced. His improvements became more and more a standard process and a lot of other companies followed his ideas.

The lack of standardization was still an issue and needed to be adapted. As a result, now a 20-foot and 40-foot shipping container is the most common size. Along with a few uncommon sizes, McLean pathed the way for a global standard container size.

One thought on “The Evolution of Container Ships”

  1. Wow, super interesting topics!! It is crazy to see how revolutionary idea can change the whole industry worldwide, including factors like the workforce. Did you know that nowadays containers transport about 90% of non-bulk cargo around the world? 🙂

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