Rise in Demand for Containers (Part I of II)

Rise in Demand for Containers (Part I of II)

Containers in the moving industry have come a long way since their initial induction. Dating back to at least the mid-1950’s, the evolution of containers has grown and changed vastly. In this two-part article, we will take a look at the beginnings of containerization, as well as the future as demand for their usage in the moving industry continues to rise.

In 1955, Malcolm McLean, a trucking legend from South Carolina, found himself frustrated with the initial speed of deliveries along the Atlantic coastline. He began to weigh out some additional options by testing a concept he developed regarding containerization (using a shipment of Ballantine Beer).  He found his cost was cut by roughly 94%, as opposed to shipping by way of a van line, which at the time was the cheapest available option. By the early 1960’s McLean had landed his first contract, and the successful theory of containerization began to make waves across the country.

Even with the success of McLean’s early ideas, it wasn’t until the mid-1970’s that household goods first began to be shipped in the United States packed tightly in 10x8x8 containers. In fact, Smyth Van Lines, who at the time was one of the largest agencies in the country, acquired roughly 10,000 containers, as well as introduced the idea of containerization to over 11 major cities. Thus, this lead to a vast boom across the nation.

Bringing us to present-day is the nation’s second largest household goods carrier, Atlas World Group, who operates one of the biggest container moving operations in the nation. One of which operates strictly for the military, and the other for [non-military] standard domestic household goods shipments. Military shipments are packed in a Type II lift van box, with 196 cu. ft. containers which are comprised of heat-treated lumber or plywood. Additionally, they are made to fit within the standard 20′-40′ overseas containers.

In the final part of this article, we will take a deeper look into Atlas’ inner workings of containers, as well as what the future holds for containerization within the moving industry.