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Container Shipping: A Brief History

What is a Container?

A container is a steel crate used to move goods by rail and the ocean.

Who Invented the Modern Container?

The modern container was created by Malcolm P. McLean, the owner of a steamship firm, in the 1950s.

Why was the Container Invented?

Malcolm P. McLean aimed to enable the direct transfer of a container from a vehicle onto a ship without unloading its contents.

What Incoterm Should Containerized Shipments Use?

Containerized shipments should use the incoterm FCA, replacing the pre-container era's FOB.

What are Typical Container Sizes?

  • 20-foot container
  • 40-foot container
  • 40-foot High Cube container
  • 45-foot High Cube container

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