Interesting Facts You Never Knew About Shipping Containers

Introduction to Shipping

While you can use shipping containers for storage or to construct models, their primary use was to transport cargo along ocean liners. Shipping Containers are constructed out of sturdy steel and come in 10 foot, 20 foot, and 40 foot long varieties. Most are eight feet wide, and these new shipping containers must meet International Shipping regulations (ISO) before it is allowed to transport cargo.

Most people consider the 20′ Steel Container for Sale the most. This is because you can pack a variety of items or interlock your boxes on top of each other or side-by-side, almost like Lego blocks. This helps them fit into a cargo ship more effectively.


Shipping Containers
By ShnapThat! under CC BY 2.0


Interesting Facts about Shipping

Shipping has become the largest source of revenue as in the United Kingdom, they have more shipping accounts than restaurants and other types of accounts. The shipping business now represents around 33 percent of the world trade, equaling more than $4.6 trillion dollars. It’s also stayed profitable because shipping by ocean vessels and cargo ships uses less greenhouse gases than transporting freight by truck or planes.  Shipping has become a popular business, though most of us do not know much about it.


The First Shipping Container

In 1956, an American Malcolm McLean invented the first shipping container. McLean had worked as a trucker for 20 years and saw how slow and ineffective the old wooden crates were for loading and transporting cargo so he bought a shipping company and experimented until he designed a super durable shipping container.  The International Maritime Hall of Fame awarded McLean the title of Man of the Century.

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The Military Perfected It

By the 1970s, the US Navy had perfected the concept and had the standards approved by the ISO in 1961 so that shipping containers could be used everywhere in the world.


Shipping is Cheaper

In the1950s, it cost $5.86 for every ton of loose cargo. Using the newly approved shipping containers, freight prices dropped to a mere $.16 a ton.


About Individual Shipping Containers

Each shipping container is given its personalized unit number or box number that chip captains or crew members use to identify the container. It tells them who owns it, who is shipping what goods, and even track where the box is at any part of the journey.


Shipping Statistics

Currently, there are over 600 million shipping containers in the entire world. Around 10 thousand are being transported via ocean vessels, trains, and trucks. Shippers make over 200 million trips a year. However around 95 % of our world’s cargo and freight travels by container ships. Even though FedEx trucks and other companies may deliver items faster, they cost significantly more, so most cargo is still shipped by cargo ships.


All about Container Ships

The largest container ship, the Emma Maersk, was built in 2006, and she measures 1302 feet. As of 2010, Emma and her other sister ships still remain the largest container ships. She can carry up to 15,200 20 foot containers.

A container ship can travel vast amounts. In fact, the ship can cover three-quarters of the journey to the moon and back in one year.

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Unfortunately, around 10,000 shipping containers fall off cargo ships each year and are lost at sea.  This becomes dangerous because the containers don’t always sink, but sometimes just float near the bottom of the water.  In 1992, a 40 foot shipping container full of children’s bath toys capsized into the Pacific Ocean and floated for 10 months until it started to drift towards the Alaskan coastline.


Do You Need New Shipping Containers?

Now that you know all about shipping containers, do you have something you need stored or shipped? If so, check out the brand new and used shipping containers at Before I opened my own moving supplies company, I always bought my new shipping containers there as the prices were reasonable.

Do you know of any other interesting facts about shipping containers? Share them with us below.