The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger
In April 1956, a refitted oil tanker carried fifty-eight shipping containers from Newark to Houston. From that modest beginning, container shipping developed into a huge industry that made the boom in global trade possible. The Box tells the dramatic story of the container's creation, the decade of struggle before it was widely adopted, and the sweeping economic consequenc...more
You might struggle to believe that interest could be sustained on the topic at article length much less for an entire book – and you’d be dead wrong.
The hum-drum box unleashed a wave of disruption that smashed union power, consigned thousands of workers to the scrapheap, devastated established city ports, uplifted backwater areas and, as an unforeseen consequence, ul...more
Its adoption, form, technology and methods haven't changed much since the 80s. All these attributes combine to make the shipping container a perfect study case for understanding how things go from idea to mass adoption. This inspired more th...more
The interconnected economy of the modern world is founded on the ubiquitous shipping container. This book tells the fascinating story of just how many times this method of moving cargo h...more
I recently narrated and produced this intriguing and enlightening title about a seemingly pedestrian topic- the history of the shipping container.
Former Economist Magazine editor, Marc Levinson has traced the development of container shipping from its inception in the 1950's to the highly-developed, global backbone of trade that it is today in his book, The BOX. Not unlike Jared Diamond's, Germs Guns and Steel, Levinson tells the story of globalism's eme...more
At times a little clunky and drowsiness-inducing (especially when there are pages and pages of number and data, which made me feel confident in the author's knowledge, but which I could have easily check...more
Let me start by saying that this prologue is one of the best I have ever read. It makes a very specializ...more
One of the oldest, largest, and most important parts of the global economy, the shipment of goods, transformed completely in only a couple of decades. Huge ports like New York collapsed suddenly, losing tens of thousands of jobs, as all shipping moved across the river to the drained swamp of Elizabeth, NJ. Economies transformed, as moving goods went from one of the largest costs to nearly free, enabling huge supply chains and the...more
"The Box," at its core, is not about the shipping container's role in decreasing shipping costs (though that's necessarily a par...more
And overall, I'm glad I did. For many of us from the tech bu...more
The author makes a fine argument that the changes surrounding the shipping container include: (1) the development of a limited number of huge ports in sometimes peculiar locations with the s...more
Also covers the story of the first shipping magnate - Malcom McLean.
Very amusing how his company barely ever made enough money, and how the container shipping revolution became more of an enabler for other industries than profitable in its own right.
Japan in the 60s, the US west coast in the 60s, the evolution and destruction of port cities - Rotterdam, New York, Singapore.
Potentially the 1st LBO ever, RJR...more
Most people would probably like it better as a long-form article. Engineer types will like it as it is. It's definitely worth a skim
Later in the book, I felt a little short-changed in the analysis of the impact of the box. We see the numbers of jobs...more
The chapters focus on different aspects of container shipping but draw on aspects covered in other chapters too, so towards the end I felt like I was reading some of it for the third or fourth time.
The main takeaway for me is that large scale use of containers resulted in lowering the cost of shipping...more
Considering I know the Mclean family well...more