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Early years[ change change source ] Containerization has its origins in coal mining regions in England from the late 18th century onwards. They were used for moving coal on and off barges. By the s, railroads on several continents were carrying containers that could be transferred to other modes of transport. The early s saw closed container boxes designed for movement between road and rail.
In the United Kingdom, several railway companies were using similar containers by the beginning of the 20th century and in the s the Railway Clearing House standardized the RCH container. Five- or ten-foot-long, wooden and non-stackable, these early standard containers were a great success. Beginning in , Seatrain Lines carried railroad boxcars on its sea vessels between New York and Cuba. These non-stackable containers were about the size of the later 20 foot ISO container and perhaps made mainly of wood.
Main article: List of container transport fleets Toward the end of World War II, the United States Army used containers to speed the loading and unloading of transport ships.
The army used the term "transporters" for shipping household goods of officers in the field. A "transporter" was a reusable container, 8. During the Korean War the transporter was evaluated for handling sensitive military equipment and, proving effective, was approved for broader use. The result was a 8 feet 2. The design had a twistlock mechanism on top each of the four corners. This meant the container could be easily secured and lifted by cranes.
After helping McLean make the successful design, Tantlinger convinced him to give the patented designs to the industry. This began international standardization of shipping containers. This was exactly the standard proposed by McLean and Tantlinger in Britain, and it was rapidly adopted for shipping purposes.
In addition to ships, containers are universally used on planes for international air transport. Countries with large rail networks still use containers for much of their freight transport. The ships that carry containers are huge, and ports must have depth and size to dock ships.
However, it is only the 29th busiest container port in the world. Top U. These rankings are by millions of tons. Also, there have been changes in short-term storage and handling in ports. J; Rowland. British Goods Wagons from to the present day. Kelly, New York. Seatrain: railroad or steamship line? Classic Trains, Spring , pp. The box that changed Britain documentary. Army Transportation Museum. United States Army Transportation School.
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