Today, shipping containers are the standard method for moving cargo. However, that wasn’t always the case.
Containerized cargo is a relatively recent invention. In fact, the first voyage of a ship holding containerized cargo traveled from Port Newark, New Jersey to Houston, Texas in 1956. By the end of the 20th century, 90% of the world’s trade cargo was moving in containers.
The transportation industry owes this massive transformation to innovators like Malcolm P. McLean, who started his career as a truck driver and ended it as a shipping magnate, and Keith Tantlinger, who helped McLean standardize these containers and invented the features that helped them flourish.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the fruits of all that labor—the 10 most common shipping containers you’ll encounter. We’ll give you the dimensions and capacity details on each different container, as well as what they’re best suited for.
Before we dive in, a few definitions you’ll want to know: