How a steel box changed the world economy

The container has turned 50. Over the years, a simple box changed the world economy and the port of Rotterdam became a container pioneer. If you have ever packed your car for a holiday you know what it’s like to pack things in different sizes. It takes a lot of ingenuity to fit everything in. And just when you think you’ve got it figured out, you discover that the tent is still lying besides the car and you have to start over again. The container helped to solve this problem for dockworkers. Bart Kuipers, port researcher at Erasmus School of Economics gives an elaborate explanation about this unique container. 

It is exactly what loading and unloading cargo looked like until 1966. Cargo came in different shapes and sizes and sometimes dockworkers had to toil for weeks to load and unload a vessel in a decent way. Until the American Malcolm McLean came up with the idea that it would be much more efficient if everyone worldwide were to use an identical container. He invented the container that we still use today, 50 years later. A steel 40-ft or 20-ft box, with swing doors. Very simple.

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Click here to read the full article as published on the website of Port of Rotterdam, d.d. 28 April 2016.