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The shipping container is a wonderful thing, it is practical, kindly keeping your goods safe and sound when travelling across the Seven Seas.


Whether it is an exotic antique, a rare vintage car or regular household items, shipping containers can transport pretty much anything, anywhere.

If you are looking to spruce up your general knowledge or learn more about the freight industry, have a read of our blog on the fascinating history of the container shipping.

Life before the Container Shipping

Before the invention of the mighty container shipping, humans had been transporting goods across the world for thousands of years. Trading never seen-before goods, from glistening jewels, new materials and delicious foods.

Life before the invention of the shipping container made the process of shipping objects was an immense task. It was labour heavy and very time-consuming. Goods were unloaded in their packaging – wooden crates, barrels and sacks rather than by the container. 

Dockworkers whose job it was to move the cargo manually had a hard job to do and the lengthy process made it easy for thieves to steal cargo as items were loose. Damage to goods due to poor packaging, ship storage and manual handling became a real issue.

Fortunately for us all, a logical and smarter way of transporting goods finally came around. Providing a safer, highly effective method for moving and transporting goods.

The invention of the shipping container

20th century America provided the world with a better way of moving and shipping goods. In 1956 a North Carolina truck driver known as Malcolm McLean revolutionised the shipping industry. McLean stacked 58 metal boxes on a ship hoping to successfully transport truck trailers with their freight still inside. Sailing from New Jersey to Houston, Malcolm's journey was a success, later sparking him to idealise the need for a standardised shipping container.

The invention of the modern shipping container significantly reduced the time and effort to unload and reload goods. It was safer and provided better protection for both the goods and workers. The shipping container made moving goods to truck beds and freight trains an easy task.

International Shipping

In the 1960s the international standards for the shipping container size were agreed, paving the way for container ships to be used to transport effectively and efficiently between countries.

Did you know that in 1966 the first transatlantic ship carrying over 200 containers travelled from the United States to the Netherlands?

The first modern container ship, like the ones we know today, set sail in 1968 and by the 1980s 90% of manufactured goods were containerized!

Did you know container ships can be larger than the Empire State Building which is a massive 1,250 feet! 

If you are thinking about moving abroad? Or need help getting a high-value item from A to B? Maybe you're thinking about moving to sunnier climates if so Gloucester Freight can help. Find out more about our services.

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