- A system of intermodal freight transport using intermodal containers (also called shipping containers and ISO containers) made of weathering steel. The containers have standardized dimensions.
- A method of shipping freight in relatively uniform, sealed, movable containers whose contents do not have to be unloaded at each point of transfer.
- A shipping method in which a large amount of material (such as merchandise) is packaged into large standardized containers.
No matter how you define Containerization, everyone can agree that the shipping container has greatly evolved from its originally intended use. In April of 1956, Malcom McLean converted a WWII tanker into the first cargo ship designed to carry metal container boxes with its reinforced deck. It wasn’t long after the maiden voyage that international groups began recognizing the need and efficiency in this standardized approach.
By 1961, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) set standard sizes for the containers so that they could be efficiently stacked and transported by ship, train, truck and crane. To this day, intermodal freight transportation rules the roost with approximately 90% of every item purchased having been inside a shipping container.
On any given day, approximately 7-9 million shipping containers are in the United States alone. With the average shipping life of 15 years, many individuals are finding new life for these steel containers. Shipping container homes are a continually growing trend and even a trending hashtag on Twitter. Repurposing these steel containers not only give a new life to these once sea bound steel beasts, but create eco-friendly living spaces. While to some building a home from shipping containers seems daunting, even the use of a single shipping container as a storage shed, construction office, workshop or temporary sales office is becoming more and more common across the United States. In fact, companies like Muvbox are flourishing off their ability to create one-of-a-kind pieces from shipping containers, including pop-up restaurants like Porchetta Box, a temporary restaurant in Montreal.
From houses and offices to restaurants and workshops, the real question is: #ShippingContainers- what will we think of next?
Pictures sourced from EC21.com, Remodelista.com and Design Boom.