Shipping containers were first created in 1956 and they have certainly transformed dockyards from labour-intensive places to capital-intensive institutions.
Put very simply, shipping containers are big steel boxes that were initially created to decrease the time a ship had to spend in port. Money was saved in port charges, in addition to allowing a ship to make more frequent journeys every year. A container ship can dock, unload and reload, if necessary, all in a fraction of the amount of time it would certainly have taken to unload a ship in the pre-container age.
Shipping containers are of universal size and have a plethora of usages. We see them pilled up in freight yards and on-board ships. We see them on trains and trucks. We see them outside manufacturing facilities being loaded or simply being made use of as short-term storage space.
Container ships and for that matter shipping containers were developed to speed turnaround time at the dockside as well as to minimise damage and theft by dock workers. Before containers were introduced, countless individual packaging cases needed to be loaded by hand, time consuming andalso, for that reason, costly. Dock workers went on strike as they saw the need for their jobs disappearing as well as the endless stream of pilfered products as well.
Container ports were constructed to handle the brand-new container ships, with enormous gantry cranes to move the shipping containers swiftly from train to dockyard and then from yard to the ship.
The time and cost savings at the port are just the start, as the shipping container is quickly transferred to a vehicle and on its final destination, with no risk of theft. Transit time is reduced and more goods that may be subject to spoiling can be transported in good time.
There are non-standard containers too. They are all the same dimensions outside, yet some have hangers to enable clothes to be transferred as well as unloaded straight to the shop floor. There are ventilated containers for crops like coffee and there are containers with extra-wide doors or lashing bars for added cargo protection.
Interestingly though, shipping containers can also have a life outside of their usual ones too. In fact, there are a number of companies who are experts in shipping container conversion - converting them into all kinds of other things. Such companies as Red Box Container Conversions - rbcontainerconversions.com
are able to turn containers into cafes, restaurants, bars, shops, exhibition stands, offices and, of course, homes too.
So there you have it, the not so humble shipping container has very much transformed the way that goods are carried around the World. Without them, many of the things that we take for granted today would simply not be possible.