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Shipping container history

Posted on:
May 26, 2023

A Quick Shipping Container History Guide

Shipping container history is a dense topic, but we’ll keep it simple with a few interesting facts!

The modern shipping container has only existed for            Dry Box

less than a century, so it’s incredibly impressive how

versatile shipping containers have become. 

To fully appreciate the shipping container as we know

it today, it’s important to know where the container

industry started. Check out these quick facts about

shipping container history that you may not know.

The First Container Ship

A North Carolina trucking entrepreneur named Malcolm McClean invented the shipping container in the 1950s.

Known as the Ideal X, the first container ship set sail on April 26th, 1956, taking five days to travel from the Port of Newark, New Jersey, to the Port of Houston, Texas.

The Ideal X was retired in 1964 after only eight years of cargo operation, but McClean’s design remains the inspiration behind current shipping containers.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

In 1961, the ISO established the standard size for shipping containers, creating cohesion between shipping companies and making shipping container transportation quick and efficient by ship, truck, and train.

The shipping container sizes available today operate on these same ISO guidelines.

The Shipping Industry Transformation

McClean’s shipping container introduced the world to a more reliable way to transport goods from place to place.

The shipping industry benefits of McClean’s invention were especially clear during wartime when troops on the front lines required supplies, equipment, and additional support.

The Modern Shipping Container Industry

The emergency support provided throughout the shipping  Dry Box

container history remains relevant in the shipping industry.

DRY BOX can modify shipping containers to be above

-ground shelters for natural disasters and portable

medical clinics during emergencies.

Fire trainers also allow firefighters to train for a potential crisis.

The More You Know

Shipping container history is a fascinating example of how a seemingly small invention can create massive changes that positively impact industries and people across the globe.

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If you’re ready to start your shipping container journey, the creative possibilities are nearly endless.

Contact DRY BOX

Contact a member of our team for all of your shipping container needs, and we’ll get you set up right away.


    Corporate Headquarters

    132 Estep Rd
    Chehalis, WA 98532

    Office: 360-262-1841 (Local)

    Branch Manager, Kirk Vigre

    Tacoma Container Yard

    2021 E Marc St
    Tacoma, WA 98421

    Branch Manager, Aaron Norlin

    Portland Container Yard

    10400 N Burgard Way
    Portland, OR 97203

    Office: 503-946-9744

    Branch Manager, Wayne Vigre

    Denver Office Container Yard

    6135 Lipan St, Denver, CO 80221

    Office: 303-505-0500

    Branch Manager, Rick Jewert


    Salt Lake City Containers

    2820 W 500 S
    Salt Lake City, UT 84104

    Branch Manager, Clarence Wright

    Spokane Container Yard

    8414 W Geiger Blvd
    Spokane, WA 99224

    Office: 509-606-2699

    Branch Manager, Ryan Earle