What Are Shipping Containers?

Most people probably haven’t thought twice about shipping containers, but these containers play a crucial role in getting products where they need to go.

A shipping container, The Economist has called “the humble hero,” is a steel box that comes in a standard size to fit on or in multiple shipping methods. They are used to ship cargo all over the world. The containers are designed to be moved easily between ships, trucks, trains and airplanes. These simple metal boxes have transformed the shipping industry since they were first introduced in the 1950s.

After shipping containers were introduced, countries increased trade by 790 percent. Over the next 20 years, free trade agreements increased by 45 percent, according to The Economist.

One of the advantages of shipping containers is they are all one size. The standardized container size allows for the containers to fit on all types of transportation methods. Cargo can be loaded quickly and efficiently in uniform containers instead of taking more time to fit boxes of all sizes onto the ship. Ultimately, the shorter transfer time between shipping methods gets the freight to the destination quicker.

Shipping containers

Without shipping containers, the volume of shipments we have today wouldn’t be possible, and many countries wouldn’t be able to participate in world trade and wouldn’t be able to afford shipping around the world. Shipping containers make shipping goods affordable.

Before shipping containers, you wouldn’t see a product that was made in China, Mexico or other countries in the U.S. International trade was virtually nonexistent. Shipping containers have opened up world trade for everyone.

Shipping containers have shaped the trade industry and revolutionized shipping. Learn more about our international shipping services here.

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