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Why containers?

Image supplied courtesy of Port of Melbourne Corporation.

Did you know most of the things you use every day, like your TV, computer, refrigerator, clothes, food, furniture etc. spent some time being transported in a shipping container?

So why are containers used?  There are many reasons for this, such as:

  • It is much cheaper to move large containers around than to load and unload boxes of goods from trucks and rail wagons into ships holds.
  • Containers are a much safer way to transport goods, especially when they are being moved on and off ships.
  • Containers make it more difficult to steal the goods.
  • Containers are built to standard international sizes, so rail wagons and trucks can be built to carry them anywhere in the world.

    Loading and unloading shipping containers is much faster than using old methods of handling cargo. The advantages are:

    • Ships can spend more time at sea transporting more goods.
    • Ships spend a short time in ports saving the ship owner money on port fees.
    • Ships can be larger because it is possible to move large amounts of cargo quickly.
    • Goods in containers spend less time in port because they are easy to load on and off rail wagons and trucks.

    Did you know that every day there about 18 million containers being moved around the world? About a quarter of them move in and out of China. About 90% of the world's non-bulk cargo spends some time in a container.  

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