Transport Containerization

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Transport; Containerization

Transport or transportation is the movement of people, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations. Transport is important since it enables trade between people, which in turn establishes civilizations. The transport systems directly affect trade competitiveness through delivery costs, transit times, and supply reliability. In terms of cost, time and reliability, each commodity has different requirements. Certain characteristics may be sufficient for low value/bulk commodities, while much higher standards are demanded for high value/premium products. Indeed, there is also significant differentiation within commodity groups; the supply parameters for basic tee-shirts are, for example, very different to those for fashion garments. Poor transport chains reduce competitiveness and restrict opportunities. Freight transport has become focused on containerization, although bulk transport is used for large volumes of durable items. Transport plays an important part in economic growth and globalization Containerization is a system of freight transport based on a range of steel intermodal containers (also "shipping containers", "ISO containers" etc.). Containers are built to standardized dimensions, and can be loaded and unloaded, stacked, transported efficiently over long distances, and transferred from one mode of transport to another—container ships, rail and semi-trailer trucks—without being opened. The system, developed after World War II, led to greatly reduced transport costs, and supported a vast increase in international trade.

Into the 1950s, most goods transported on water over long distances were shipped by what is called break bulk shipping, in which goods were transported loose or packaged in boxes, bags, barrels, or other relatively small containers that varied depending on the type of good. A major cost in break bulk shipping is time and labor spent loading and unloading ships at portside in ways that avoid damage to the goods. One analysis in the late 1950s concluded that 60-75% of the cost of transporting cargo by sea was made up of portside costs, while another study of a specific ship voyage found cargo handling made up about 37% of total costs (Levinson 21, 33-34). These costs included not only labor, but losses of time and damage (including theft) to cargo waiting to be loaded onto a ship while other material was unloaded. Cudahy (Container Revolution5-6) reports that a “cargo ship typically would spend as much time in port being loaded and unloaded as it did sailing.” “Born of the need to reduce labor, time and handling, containerization links the manufacturer or producer with the ultimate consumer or customer. By eliminating as many as 12 separate handlings, containers minimize cargo loss or damage; speed delivery; reduce overal expenditure”. (Containerisation International, 1970, p. 19) The first generation of containerships was composed of modified bulk vessels or tankers that could transport up 1,000 TEUs. At the beginning of the 1960s, because the container was an unproven transport technology, reconverting existing ships proved out to be the least expensive and risky solution. These ships carried onboard cranes since most port terminals were not equipped to handle containers. The ability of ports to handle containership ceased to be a major concern with the setting of specialized container terminals around the world, which permitted cranes to be removed from the ship design, allowing for more container capacity.

The container, as a standard load unit permitted a growing level of flexibility in the location of production with markets being serviced by global distribution strategies in which the container plays a key role. It...
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