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The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the…
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The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World… (2006)

by Marc Levinson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Somewhat dry but fascinating story of the tortuous rise of the shipping container. Turns out not to have been inevitable, but happened despite the appalling labour practices in most ports and the short sightedness of almost everyone in the shipping business. ( )
  Matt_B | Jun 12, 2016 |
shelved at: (0) : Containers
  PeterKent2015 | Feb 14, 2016 |
shelved at: (0) : Containers
  mwbooks | Jan 22, 2016 |
The history of the shipping container and how it changed the world, making lots of products lots cheaper but also disrupting traditional commercial centers and manufacturing processes. Much of the cost of many products used to come from moving them from where they were made to where they were sold. The shipping container movable from ship to truck without lots of longshoremen unpacking (and more than occasionally stealing) individual boxes and bags caused the price of transportation to drop hugely. This increased international trade and decreased employment in high-wage countries. This book has a lot of detail about how such big changes happen, without being planned by the people who are making the investments necessary to adopt a new technology but can’t see how it will all shake out. A lot of people who innovate lose money! Even if they’re right about the ultimate success of the technology! I was interested, though you have to be able to tolerate a fair amount of description of committee meetings. ( )
  rivkat | Dec 11, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marc Levinsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Flis, LeslieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Platter, ClaraCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On April 26, 1956, a crane lifted fifty-eight aluminum truck bodies aboard an aging tanker ship moored in Newark, New Jersey.
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Malcom McLean's persistence in pushing containerization was vital to the U.S. war effort in Vietnam. Without it, America's ability to prosecute a large-scale war halfway around the world would have been severely limited. The U.S. military would have experienced extreme difficulty feeding, housing, and supplying the 540,000 soldiers, sailors, marines, and air force personnel who were in Vietnam by the start of 1969. Continual headlines about theft, supply shortages, and massive waste woiuld have caused domestic support for the war to erode even faster than it did. Containerization enabled the United States to sustain a well-fed and well-equipped force through years of combat in places that would otherwise have been beyond the reach of U.S. military might.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0691123241, Hardcover)

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 consequences of the sharp fall in transportation costs that containerization brought about.

Published on the fiftieth anniversary of the first container voyage, this is the first comprehensive history of the shipping container. It recounts how the drive and imagination of an iconoclastic entrepreneur, Malcom McLean, turned containerization from an impractical idea into a massive industry that slashed the cost of transporting goods around the world and made the boom in global trade possible.

But the container didn't just happen. Its adoption required huge sums of money, both from private investors and from ports that aspired to be on the leading edge of a new technology. It required years of high-stakes bargaining with two of the titans of organized labor, Harry Bridges and Teddy Gleason, as well as delicate negotiations on standards that made it possible for almost any container to travel on any truck or train or ship. Ultimately, it took McLean's success in supplying U.S. forces in Vietnam to persuade the world of the container's potential.

Drawing on previously neglected sources, economist Marc Levinson shows how the container transformed economic geography, devastating traditional ports such as New York and London and fueling the growth of previously obscure ones, such as Oakland. By making shipping so cheap that industry could locate factories far from its customers, the container paved the way for Asia to become the world's workshop and brought consumers a previously unimaginable variety of low-cost products from around the globe.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:17 -0400)

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 consequences of the sharp fall in transportation costs that containerization brought about. Drawing on previously neglected sources, economist Marc Levinson shows how the container transformed economic geography, devastating traditional ports such as New York and London and fueling the growth of previously obscure ones, such as Oakland. By making shipping so cheap that industry could locate factories far from its customers, the container paved the way for Asia to become the world's workshop and brought consumers a previously unimaginable variety of low-cost products from around the globe.--From publisher description.… (more)

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