Marc Levinson brings together in his book “The Box”, How The Shipping Container Made The World Smaller And the World Economy Bigger, a history in unitised freight handling in its birthplace, and shares with us an education in obsession, innovation, and invention. He describes through his main character, Malcom McLean, how to do business by integrating shipper, transporter, and customer in controlled logistics/ in a smooth supply chain. Further, the reader is given a lesson in investor relations whether they be public or private sector.
Despite regulated land transport, and unregulated freight handling on the docks, the result is the same: inertia in the evolution of both road and rail, and competences to handle cargo. Despite awareness of production line efficiencies, these are not applied to the logistics channels, and their labour-intensiveness remains unquestioned. Levinson describes in great detail the value in managing cost, and optimising resources by applying economies of scale.
By situating the reader in time, the author documents an abbreviated history in transportation for the 20th Century. Up until 1956, the century sees two world wars, a stock market crash, rationing, depleted industries, men desperate to work, and federal protectionist policies to sustain the livelihood of farming communities, or so we thought. He describes how the powerful steam train of the 19th Century suffers from decades of regulation and ‘competing’ services, how road infrastructure improves with freeways, turnpikes, and interstates under execution.
Sea freight also remains unchanged as either bulk or break bulk. Freight handling at the dock from the ‘20’s to the ‘50’s, suffers from ever increasing strike activity by unions, and wharves laying more and more empty. Shippers are aware of the frustrations of transporting break bulk cargo, the numbers of manual transfers a single piece of cargo goes through when it is on the
References: David Arthur Yost, Yost.com, All Rights Reserved. http://Yost.com/misc/innovation.html - this page 1995-08-28 Created. 1997-05-16 Modified. 2003-06-15 Modified cosmetically Marc Levinson, “The Box” 2006 Oslo Manual, OECD, 2005 Frascati Manual, OECD, 2002 http://www.roadscholar.com/blog/tag/interstate-commerce-commission/ http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5026.html Operations Manual, Camara de Comercio Malaga, 2011