Wikipediaphile: Containerization [sic]

I can’t remember why, but I was recently reading up about containerisation (I can’t even blame it on series two of The Wire) – here’s what Wikipedia has to say on the matter…

Containerization (British:containerisation) is a system of freight transport based on a range of steel intermodal containers (also ‘shipping containers’, ‘ISO containers’ etc). Containers are built to standardised dimensions, and can be loaded and unloaded, stacked, transported efficiently over long distances, and transferred from one mode of transport to another—container ships, rail and semi-trailer trucks—without being opened. The system was developed after World War II, led to greatly reduced transport costs, and supported a vast increase in international trade…

I think I may have been interested in the decline of inland ports:

…Effects

Containerization greatly reduced the expense of international trade and increased its speed, especially of consumer goods and commodities. It also dramatically changed the character of port cities worldwide. Prior to highly mechanized container transfers, crews of 20-22 longshoremen would pack individual cargoes into the hold of a ship. After containerization, large crews of longshoremen were no longer necessary at port facilities and the profession changed drastically.

Meanwhile the port facilities needed to support containerization changed. One effect was the decline of some ports and the rise of others. At the Port of San Francisco, the former piers used for loading and unloading were no longer required, but there was little room to build the vast holding lots needed for container transport. As a result the Port of San Francisco virtually ceased to function as a major commercial port, but the neighboring port of Oakland emerged as the second largest on the West Coast of America. A similar fate met the relation between the ports of Manhattan and New Jersey. In the UK, longshoremen’s unions protested the change to containerization, resulting in the elimination of London and Liverpool as major ports. Meanwhile, Britain’s Felixstowe and Rotterdam in the Netherlands emerged as major ports. In general, inland ports on waterways incapable of deep draft ship traffic also declined from containerization in favor of seaports. With intermodal containers, the job of sorting and packing containers could be performed far from the point of embarcation.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s