Sea cargo container history reaches back to the 1930's
when the American Malcolm McLean had the idea of a standardized
transport unit. McLean wondered whether cargo could be carried
to destination without multiple loadings when transportation
Due to the genius but simple idea McLean had, freight transport speed has increased
and the costs have gone down significantly. Also damage to the goods during transportation decreased.
Initially the idea of containers met strong resistance but when McLean managed to convince the U.S. Army officers during the Vietnam War, the containers started spreading widely.
McLean managed to dismantle a ship carrying military supplies in a Vietkong port within one day, when it could have taken a month earlier.
At that point it was realized that containers are the superior mode of transport.
Container Types and Measures
Because of the American roots containers dimensions are recorded in feet (ft). Standard dimensions are well-established to 20 and 40 feet long containers (about 6 and 12 meters).
Containers' standard width is 8 feet (about 2.4 meters) and the height 8'6 feet (about 2.6 metres) or 9'6 feet (about 2,9 metres).
The common container type is a solid walled and roofed container also known as DC (Dry Cargo) or GP (Genereal purpose) and HC (High Cube). Besides these most common types of containers there are a number of special containers, some of which are listed below:
- Open top (OT)
- Insulated refrigerated container with it's own refrigeration, (RE or RF)
- Tank container (TN)
- Flat rack with folding or fixed end parts (FR)
In addition, there are a number of other special purpose containers available, combined with the above-mentioned standard external dimensions.
For more detailed measurements you can find a submenu "Measurements" and information about the container inspection points "IICL" and "CSC".