The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger
In April 1956, a refitted oil tanker carried fifty-eight shipping containers from Newark to Houston. From that modest beginning, container shipping developed into a huge industry that made the boom in global trade possible. The Box tells the dramatic story of the container's creation, the decade of struggle before it was widely adopted, and the sweeping economic consequences of the sharp fall in transportation costs that containerization brought about.
Published on the fiftieth anniversary of the first container voyage, this is the first comprehensive history of the shipping container. It recounts how the drive and imagination of an iconoclastic entrepreneur, Malcom McLean, turned containerization from an impractical idea into a massive industry that slashed the cost of transporting goods around the world and made the boom in global trade possible.
But the container didn't just happen. Its adoption required huge sums of money, both from private investors and from ports that aspired to be on the leading edge of a new technology. It required years of high-stakes bargaining with two of the titans of organized labor, Harry Bridges and Teddy Gleason, as well as delicate negotiations on standards that made it possible for almost any container to travel on any truck or train or ship. Ultimately, it took McLean's success in supplying U.S. forces in Vietnam to persuade the world of the container's potential.
Drawing on previously neglected sources, economist Marc Levinson shows how the container transformed economic geography, devastating traditional ports such as New York and London and fueling the growth of previously obscure ones, such as Oakland. By making shipping so cheap that industry could locate factories far from its customers, the container paved the way for Asia to become the world's workshop and brought consumers a previously unimaginable variety of low-cost products from around the globe.
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Review: The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy BiggerUser Review - Arjun Narayan - Goodreads
Decent, not much I didn't already know, too concerned with telling a cute story. Stopped reading around the 25% mark. Pros: seems like a decent, entertaining history Cons: Too much focus on making up ... Read full review
Review: The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy BiggerUser Review - Mark - Goodreads
The Box is perhaps best visualized in cinematic terms. Before The Box, your scenes on the docks had burly longshoremen loading boxes and using forklifts, bars and brawls, Irish or Italian union bosses ... Read full review
The Battle for New Yorks Port
Setting the Standard
Boom and Bust
The Bigness Complex
The Shippers Revenge
Just in Time
Ports in a Storm