File Size: 4407 KB
Print Length: 531 pages
Publisher: Princeton University Press; 2 edition (April 5, 2016)
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
The book delves into problems and explores the many ramifications of the evolution of container shipping upon the economic, personal and financial impact of the system. Fascinating things and I would have rated the book higher but it tends to be dry, repetitive things and at times the chapters seemed more like sequential essays than a book. You understand it can be a lttle bit too on the academic side whenever your kindle shows that you are only 60% finished when you finish the last section. The remaining 40%? Records, bibliography, and index. Therefore, looking a for a very thorough examination of the topic? This is your tome., I enjoy " how stuff works" books which one delivered!
Container shipping is a business-to-business technology. Few consumers have ever directly sent or received a TEU container. Thus, one of the transformative technologies of the 20th century has gotten relatively little public attention.
The technology itself is straightforward: put a lot of cargo in a huge box (20 ft or 40 feet long), seal the box, move the box over the world transportation network (ships, railroads, and trucks), and then un-pack the at the far end. Among other things, this system cuts down on shrinkage from robbery.
The business side is far more complicated. Somebody had to design ships that could carry boxes more effectively. Somebody had to persuade ports to install new container-handling systems. Somebody got to tell a great deal of dock workers that their services were no longer needed.
In the end, almost all of the lower costs flowed through to shippers rather than the companies offering shipping services, That is a positive thing.
Levinson's guide covers this revolution from several angles. On the down-side, there is no key heart to the book; the closest he comes is following the career of Malcom McLean, although even that narrative thread is interrupted often. On the up-side, the book is meticulously sourced, with many references to original documents from slots in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area., I found 'The Box' was absolutely fascinating. The story of the shipping container might have been largely ignored, but it explains a great deal about the onset of globalisation in late 20th century.
Until the mid 1960s, ocean shipping was transported in breakbulk ships; the cargo manually jammed into the ships' holds by teams of longshoremen. The process was laborious and time eating. Major port cities like New York and Greater london were structured around their docks, with factories around their ports to reduce the costs involved with the multiple handling and warehousing associated with transporting goods.
Then, a few pioneers started seeking to move shipping in containers. Within a few short decades, storage containers revolutionised world trade. Storage containers of goods could be seamlessly moved from a factory, between trucks, locomotives, and ships to customers. Where once it might have taken months to deliver a product or service from the US to Europe, it can now take not more than a week. Global trade skyrocketed!
Nobody predicted the enormous impact that containers were to have on the global economy. Once, companies concentrated their factories in one location to minimise transport costs. With the creation of fast, cheap and reliable container shipping, component manufacture was farmed out across the world to the cheapest supplier. The structures of port cities changed significantly, with whole longshore areas being destroyed, and factories moving to where land was cheap. Of course, countries in Asia soon became major manufacturing capabilities.
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