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View Full Version : The Container that Changed the World


dsktc
03-24-2006, 12:46 AM
In today's New York Times:

"THE political showdown over a Dubai company's plan to operate terminals at six American ports briefly focused public attention on one of the most significant, yet least noticed, economic developments of the last few decades: the transformation of international shipping.

"Just as the computer revolutionized the flow of information, the shipping container revolutionized the flow of goods. As generic as the 1's and 0's of computer code, a container can hold just about anything, from coffee beans to cellphone components. By sharply cutting costs and enhancing reliability, container-based shipping enormously increased the volume of international trade and made complex supply chains possible."

"Low transport costs help make it economically sensible for a factory in China to produce Barbie dolls with Japanese hair, Taiwanese plastics and American colorants, and ship them off to eager girls all over the world," writes Marc Levinson in the new book "The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger" (Princeton University Press)."

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/23/business/23scene.html

Dave

Pat Lorenz
03-24-2006, 05:04 AM
Many old guys will dis agree with me on this but i think the shipping container was the best thing that happend to railroads. I dont think the railroads would have grown or would have been as profitable as they have been, had it not been for the container. In fact, looking at an even bigger picture, the container has probably been the best thing that has happened to the world, giving shipping an extreamly efficent and profitable service. Interesting article.

J
03-24-2006, 01:14 PM
Many old guys will dis agree with me on this but i think the shipping container was the best thing that happend to railroads. I dont think the railroads would have grown or would have been as profitable as they have been, had it not been for the container.

No argument there. Last year intermodal surpassed coal for the first time as the largest revenue source for the industry. Major investments in recent years demonstrate this trend. Alameda Corridor, BNSF's expansion of terminals in Chicago (Joliet) and DFW (Alliance), UP's construciton of Global III on Rochelle, major clearance projects on CR and later NS, investment by CSX in their Chicago - Atlanta corridor, KCS's partnership wth NS west of Birmingham, etc. etc. CSX is increasiing capacity in their Chicago -Atlanta and southeast corridor.

We can thank SP for poineering double stack concept in the late 1970's. SP 513300 now is the property of the California State Railroad Museum.
http://www.railgoat.railfan.net/spcars/byclass/flat/f070-81.htm

John Fladung
03-24-2006, 05:28 PM
"Look at all those trucks that could be on the road! They're taking jobs away from the truckers!"

Everytime I here something like that I laugh...hard. What an ignorant statement! :lol:

bigiron
03-24-2006, 05:44 PM
Interesting read.....

Every other year there is a World Candlepin Bowling Tournament in Halifax,
Nova Scotia which I attend and between 2003-2005 the port in Halifax underwent major expansion! It always had rail access and can handle two giant cargo ships, but the amount of containers and trucks waiting to move the cargo north was unreal this past fall to see. I wish I had the daylight hours available to shoot the action.

Talking to the local people, it has been one of the largest creators of new jobs and things look like they're booming. It sorta looked like Guilford with the truckers lined up for potential hours to move containers out ;-) . As for the rail, the way the bay is shaped the line curves around to the port and you can catch the curve of the train on both sides of the water on long trains.

Pretty neat to see all the different containers from frozen/refrigerated food products to dry goods pass by when going to Selkirk yard or as trains pass in transit.

Thought I'd share what I've seen first hand on the business growth and should keep that iron rolling for all us railfans :grin: .

R.Clark