1. 97% of all shipping containers produced in the world are manufactured in China.
There are a variety of reasons for why that is the case but mainly, China’s cost of labor tends to be lower than anywhere else in the world. Additionally, it makes sense to produce these containers in a place where manufacturing for most of the other things produced in the world takes place. They also have the large scale manufacturing facilities to handle the equipment properly with overhead cranes, and lots of outdoor storage space to store the manufactured containers prior to shipment.
2. Up to 10,000 shipping containers get lost at sea every year.
This is the case because sometimes the containers are not strapped down fully or bad weather causes their lashings to loosen and for the containers to slip through and into the ocean. Here’s to hoping that somewhere out there, there are thousands of unopened original iPhones in their boxes. But then again, who would have any idea where and has the means to go searching for them?
3. Malcolm Mclean invented the modern shipping container.
Malcolm was a transportation savant who invented the modern design of shipping containers in 1955. He came up with the modular design of containers and the 4 corner posts that make it easy to lift containers and stack them on top of one another. His purpose? Make transport by sea more efficient, which he has certainly achieved.
4. Reefer containers are not actually huge fridges.
It is lesser known that refrigerated shipping containers, or reefer containers as they are often called, do not actually behave like your run-of-the-mill home fridge. Reefer containers simply maintain a given temperature by circulating the existing air.
5. Container numbers are not random.
Each shipping container ever produced has been assigned a specific number. It begins with a 3-letter code identifying the owner of the container, followed usually by the letter U, to signify the unit number that is about to follow. Next, the actual 7-digit container follows, the first 6 digits of which are unique to each container and then a check digit that is calculated by a mathematical formula. Whew, who knew we’d have to do math?
6. Where did my shipping container go?
Following up on the above point, each shipping container can be tracked by using its unique container number. It can be found wherever it might be in the world. Also, the container number is stamped on each container panel – the roof, the doors, the front wall and each side wall.
7. Shipping containers once caused a duck invasion
In 1992, a 40’ shipping container carrying rubber ducks and other kids’ floating toys fell off the ship carrying the container while on its way to the United States shore. The container somehow opened up and the duckies escaped and took about 10 months before they began to wash up on foreign shores. Interestingly enough, they contributed more to the world than laughter and curiosity – their travel helped oceanographers learn about the oceans’ currents around the world.
8. Chemical transport is serious business.
Yes, transporting chemicals can be dangerous, but vessels and shipping lines take drastic measures to avoid a dangerous situation. A rule exists where containers used for chemical transport can’t ever be used for any other purpose. Furthermore, the next chemical that is allowed for transport in a particular shipping container depends on what the previous 3 chemicals transported in it were.