Transport containers, which also serve as cargo transport and rental storage space, will celebrate their 65th anniversary in 2021. How was this transport container born and how did it become popular?
The shipping container was developed by Malcom P. McLean, a Scottish-American. As a shipowner and freight forwarder, he came up with the idea of saving shipping time and effort by arranging products in large boxes rather than individually shipping them. This is where shipping containers were born. Transport containers were first used on April 26, 1956.
Whether or not Maclean wanted to make the lives of people working in ports around the world easier is unknown, but shipping containers have been steadily spreading and have helped reduce workload in ports. In 1956, Maclean purchased a tanker called the Ideal X and converted it to use containers in semi-trailers. Now giant tankers are transporting containers around the world. The 400-meter-long HMMALGECIRAS owned by Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) can carry 24,000 TEU at once.
The first shipping container came to Germany in May 1966. When Fairland, owned by the Macklean Shipping Company, arrived at the port of Bremen, it carried 110 containers for the first time. A network of transport routes using containers takes place here. By using a shipping container, there is no need for meticulous refilling of cargo, so the container can be moved from the ship to the truck as it is.
Today, when transport containers are widely used, the container size is 1TEU, or 6.1m in length, or 1FEU, and 2 types of 12.2m are the mainstream. Of course, there are also containers with a refrigeration function and special containers that carry items exceeding the standard size.
More than 90% of cargo transported in global trade is transported by ships, with 24.4 million TEUs currently transported worldwide. In addition, there are 6,220 container ships carrying shipping containers around the world.
Hamburg Port is Germany’s largest port and the 18th largest port in the world in terms of maritime container traffic. There is a railroad for transporting containers in this port. Of course, handling the sheer volume of containers requires planning, management and control. Therefore, ports handling bulk containers have control centers such as international airport control rooms. With millions of shipping containers from all over the world entering large ports every day, it is physically impossible to do everything meticulously. Therefore, there are cases where criminals smuggle drugs by hiding drugs in containers, or secret torture chambers are created in transport containers. In some cases, countermeasures units to deal with such crimes work in ports.
Shipping containers have a rugged appearance and in most cases are dirty or dented. However, if you look at the photos taken at the Hamburg Port Container Terminal CTA, you can say that the container has a unique atmosphere and charm. Related information can be found here.