Why were shipping containers invented? We tend to assume that cargo will be shipped in a modern shipping container. But what led to this invention?

Why were shipping containers invented? To solve the problems in transportation at the time.

Before the modern shipping container was invented, cargo was shipped in several different ways. Typically, different sized wooden crates were used. Transferring cargo between different modes of transport, such as trucks and ships, was inefficient. It was not only time-consuming, but required lots of labour.

Both trucking and shipping companies faced high costs for intermodal shipping. But this was not the only cause of extra expenditure.

The containers that were being used were not particularly robust or secure. Therefore, cargo was often stolen, or damaged in transit, before it reached its final destination.

The standard modern shipping container was invented to provide a seamless and efficient solution for intermodal shipping.

The development of standard shipping containers meant that it was far quicker to load and unload cargo. Vast labour forces were replaced by cranes. This increased efficiency equaled significant financial savings for both shipping and trucking companies.

Importantly, the modern shipping container was designed to be robust and secure. This prevented the theft and damage that had previously plagued the trucking and shipping industries.

Local and international trade became quicker and easier, in turn making it cheaper and more reliable.

The invention of a standardised shipping container changed the way that cargo was transported and transferred between road, rail, and sea. It revolutionised worldwide trade from the 1950s onwards.