A Brief History of Shipping

A Brief History of Shipping (Video via …

Container ships handle 95% of the world’s freight, some $4 trillion worth of goods in 2017. But it wasn’t always so. In an animated video, the WSJ’s Costas Paris, Thomas Di Fonzo and Liliana Llamas tell the story of commercial shipping’s great leap forward starting in 1956, when Malcom McLean deployed the first containers. Mr. McLean’s idea revolutionized transportation that, aside from replacing sails with engines, had remained fundamentally unchanged over several centuries. Innovation has come at a rapid clip since Mr. McLean’s first voyage, from the first modern container ship—with a capacity of about 750 boxes—to today’s behemoths that can store over 20,000 TEUs. Now the industry is grappling with the end result of 60 years of efficiency gains, as a surge in capacity drives down prices and forces wave after wave of mergers.

(Thanks to Gretchen Seth for sharing – JB)