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The Box That Shrank the World

by Marc Levinson (3437 words)

The lowly, inelegant container has been the key to a revolution that continues to shape the everyday lives of nearly everyone in the world.

There is, let it be said, nothing remotely sexy about a shipping container. Six sheets of steel welded into a box with boards for a floor and a couple of doors at one end: transportation equipment doesn’t get any more basic. Yet since the first modern container voyage in April 1956, the container has helped transform the world economy. By dramatically lowering the cost of shipping goods, the container made possible a vast expansion of international trade.

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