Containerization was a modernization movement
started by Sea Land in the 1970s. Sea Land recognized
the inherent inefficiency in Breakbulk shipping and
decided to try and change it. They did. Containers are
those 8 X 8 X 20 foot or 8 X 8 X 40 foot boxes that are at every
port. They hold several advantages over the previously
used breakbulk system of stowage. Containers are more
efficient for many types of goods. Oil, grain, ore and other bulk goods are still shipped as loose cargo.
Almost all others are containerized. It is more
efficent to load 50 rolls of newsprint paper in a
container and ship it from Canada to Taipei then to
load 50 rolls by hand, separately. Also, containers offer much more protection for goods carried at sea.
Container shipping developed slowly. it was first tested by Malcom McLean. It was used by Sea Land, Maersk, and some Japanese shippers at first. Once the
ISO standardised the size of containers, they were put
into almost universal use, carrying almost 80% of all
goods other then bulk materials like oil and grain by 1986.
Container shipping is the shipping of goods in
standardised containers. This is much more efficent
then Breakbulk shipping. Containers are standardised
boxes in which almost all goods are shipped today.
Oil, grain, ore and bulk goods are still shipped
loose for the most part.
Containers come in many forms. There are
refridgerator containers, tanker containers, even
grain containers with hatches at the top for grain
shoots. All containers are 8 feet wide. There are no
other widths. This is because they have to fit in
slots in container ships. Having multiple widths would
create problems with stowing them securely. Height and
length are variable. All dimensions refer to the
outside of a container. Containers come in 20, 40 and
occasionally 45 foot lengths. They come in 4, 8, and 9
foot 6 inch heighths. Pig iron, or other heavy, dense
goods with a low stowage factor are carried in 4 foot tall 20 foot long containers, as the cranes at docks can't handle
anything heavier. Lighter goods, such as Ikea lamps
are carried in 40 by 8 foot containers. The 9 foot 6 inch
containers are usually used for oversized goods only,
as they wont fit through many tunnels when on a truck.
Same thing for the 45 foot containers.
I mainly used Marine Cargo
Operations, by Saurbier and Meurn.