How Shipping in Standard Containers Got Started

Can you imagine the international shipping industry without container ships? Well that's how it was until the 1950's when standard containers became a part of the international shipping industry. While various types of containers were being used since the 1700's, there was not an effective way to transport these containers onto an overseas shipping vessel. All along people were finding that they not only needed a standard size for containers, but they also needed to use better materials than the wood they had been using. It would have to be something that would be both reusable and would strong enough for the longshoremen handling while light enough for shipping. There were many challenges to be faced in this type of endeavor. This new standard for shipping containers would also need to be able to lock into each other for long journeys as well as be safely secured to a crane for lifting onto a ship. While this seems like an easy task, no one had ever done this before so they had a lot to figure out. After WWII, the US military was finding that they needed standards for shipping supplies around the world including household goods for their officers. This gave them a great push toward standardizing the containers which soon became the standard in the shipping industry as well. By the time these standards were going into place, the ship building industry had started building container ships to accommodate these new containers and this eventually began the international container shipping industry we see today.