Shipping containers are all around us and they have a great impact on our daily lives, yet most of us do not know anything about these humble metal boxes. It is estimated that 90% of global trade in carried out by the international shipping industry and shipping containers are the standard mode of transport for this trade. Here are some interesting facts about the secret life of shipping containers:
The Father of Shipping Containers
An American named Malcolm McLean is considered as the father of shipping containers. a trucker by profession, he realised how slow and ineffective it was to load and unload big wooden crates. He came up with the idea of using super durable shipping containers to transport goods from one place to another. In 1956, he was able to design the first shipping container which proved to be the precursor to what is now the international standard for containers. In recognition of his work, the International Maritime Hall of Fame awarded him the title of Man of the Century.
Every Shipping Container is Unique
Although a 20-foot shipping container or a 40-foot shipping container may look similar, even identical, in their external appearance, they are not in the eyes of professionals who handle them daily. Every shipping container comes with a unique identification number, referred to as the “Box Number”. This box number is what helps the authorities identify the owner of the shipping container, the route it has traveled, and the real-time location of the shipping container.
World’s Leading Shipping Container Manufacturing Country
Initially, it was Japan who was the leading manufacturer of shipping containers in the world. However, rising costs of production, especially labor costs, pushed Japan at the back foot and South Korea and Taiwan came to the fore in manufacturing shipping containers. Today, China is commonly regarded as the leading manufacturer of shipping containers of all sizes. So, most of the shipping containers you find for sale are manufactured in China. It is estimated that almost 97% of all shipping containers currently used, whether found in circulation or sitting in different seaports of the world, are made in China. China also boasts of having the busiest shipping ports in the world.
Lost Shipping Containers
You will be surprised to know that shipping containers of that size and dimension can actually go missing. Approximately 10,000 shipping containers are lost every year in the world, which translates to 1 shipping container lost every hour. Horrific conditions at sea and rampant piracy can be blamed for these numbers.
The Life of a Shipping Container
If you take good care of your 20ft shipping container or a 40ft shipping container, its lifespan could extend to beyond 20 years. When they are relieved from their primary duty, you can still use them as storage containers or for other unique purposes.