Container shipping and a brief history of the maritime industry

Container shipping and a brief history of the maritime industry

Container shipping is the process of transporting goods across the sea using standard containers of uniform size, which facilitates the process of loading, unloading and transferring between ships and other means of transport.

Container shipping is considered one of the most important and effective ways to transport goods around the world, as it provides speed and efficiency in delivery, reduces costs, and increases safety in shipping operations.

Container shipping

Thanks to the tremendous developments in the container industry, container shipping has become an essential process in global trade, as many companies and industries rely on this method to transport their goods between continents efficiently and quickly.

The container industry is an essential part of the global economy, and continues to develop and improve its efficiency to meet the diverse and increasing shipping needs of the modern era.


Container shipping date

Container shipping date
Container shipping date

Container shipping transports 90% of all manufactured goods around the world, and has dominated global trade for 150 years. The maritime industry, also known as the shipping or seafaring industry, has an extensive history dating back thousands of years.

Sea routes are the oldest means of transporting goods.

The threat of plunder on land routes prompted merchants to seek safer passage across the seas. Initially, goods were tied to simple logs with ropes.

Later, when larger goods had to be transported, several logs were bundled together.

However, the first traces of real ships date back to ancient Egypt.

These boats were moved by sails and oars, and were designed to transport goods across the river with as little labor as possible.

For sea expeditions, more rowers were needed to help navigate the oceans.


A timeline of shipping events by The Wall Street Journal

Before the 1950s

  • The goods were loaded onto ships in sacks, barrels and wooden crates.
  • Dockers had to press it onto roofs or into tight spaces.
  • Ships often spend more time in port than at sea.

1956 – Invention of the shipping container

  • Malcolm McLean, an American truck driver, packed 58 metal boxes onto a ship heading from New Jersey to Houston.
  • These metal containers protect the goods.
  • Additionally, when ships dock at ports, truck beds and freight trains can take them away without refilling them.
  • Container sizes are standardized.

1966 – The beginning of transatlantic shipping

  • Moore-McCormack Lines begins the first transatlantic container service.
  • Goods can be transferred from purpose-built ships to rail and road in huge quantities, reducing transport costs by 75%.
  • This led to the emergence of global shipping giants, such as Denmark’s Maersk Line and China’s COSCO.

1980 – The explosion of globalization

  • By 1980, 90% of manufactured goods were transported in containers, from designer clothing and food to household goods, electronics and heavy machinery.
  • Globalization exploded as ships transported Asian goods to the West and back, stopping at many ports along the way.

Nowadays container shipping

Challenges for logistics companies in Egypt:
Challenges for logistics companies in Egypt:

The recent growth has been in refrigerated shipping.

Fresh produce, food and flowers are now shipped on refrigerated containers that are tracked via satellite to maintain their freshness.

Bananas can last in these containers for up to 50 days.

Today, the shipping industry continues to grow.

The container ships stand as tall as the Empire State Building if placed upright, and each can transport more than 20,000 containers.

The maritime industry remains a cornerstone of global trade, enabling the exchange of goods, cultures and ideas across vast oceans.

You can read more about: Shipping container

Container shipping

As one of the most important means of maritime transport in the world, container shipping plays a vital role in facilitating global trade and providing an efficient means of transporting goods across oceans.

Historically, the container industry has witnessed significant development since its beginning in the late 19th century, becoming an essential part of the maritime transport infrastructure.

For its part, TEU has witnessed remarkable developments in providing the best shipping containers and high-quality services in this field.

Thanks to its investments in technology and infrastructure, the company has been able to offer innovative and reliable charging solutions to its customers.

As developments in the container industry and future challenges continue, the role of container shipping continues to enhance global trade and support countries’ economies, and companies like TEU remain at the forefront of this development, committed to providing the best services and solutions to their customers in order to achieve sustainable success and continued growth.


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