Rail Freight Group

The year 1956 saw two events which shaped the UK’s future trade and prosperity for generations to come. The first of these was the Suez crisis, which is often cited as a turning point for the end of empire and a change in Britain’s status as a global trading nation The other was the invention of the humble shipping container by an American trucker, Malcolm McLean.

In the subsequent 55 years, it is fair to say the container has transformed global shipping, and with it the economic prosperity of ports, cities and indeed whole countries. Today there are somewhere in the order of five to 50 million containers in circulation, although estimates vary wildly, and nowhere in the world is untouched by the presence of these metal boxes.

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