Container Improvements That Have Impacted Intermodal Transportation

1115 words - 5 pages

Container Improvements That Have Impacted Intermodal Transportation

In 1956, Malcom McLean created a new concept to standardize the many types of containers that are used in intermodal shipping. By standardizing shipping containers, the transportation industry became much more efficient and helped save companies a lot of money. The creation of these standardized shipping containers also helped create better safety, less gridlock in the transportation system, less theft, and less damage to goods. The used of these containers also lessened labor costs. Once Mr. McLean’s idea took off, others tried to capitalize on it. All that created was more container sizes and more confusion in the ...view middle of the document...

Connecting these container ports with intermodal rail allows rapid movement of containers from China arriving at ports on the West Coast of the United States to be moved rapidly to East Coast population centers.” (Carlos A. Alvarenga) This supports our textbook, which says, “The intermodal environment created several new ways of shipping goods internationally.” (Pierre David Ph.D) The textbook also talks about the use of land bridges. Containerization made land bridges more economically usable. It takes much less time to unload and reload cargo and getting it moving to where it’s going quickly. These standardized containers don’t require the transferring of materials manually anymore or by having to use many different forms of equipment and manpower to transfer materials and products to different types of containers that used to be used by ships, railcars, and trucks.

This information will help me in my career as a supply chain manager by having my team make sure, when shipping, especially globally if it applies, that we are utilizing companies that take advantage of these standardized containers. Firstly, for the impact they have on efficiency and secondly, for the cost savings. Possibly, we could even incorporate them into our operations if it would help to speed up our shipping processes as our products leave the plant toward their final destinations. I’ve worked for companies on a smaller scale that had many container issues. I worked for a company that had a plant in Mt. Pleasant that did almost all of our packaging so we had to ship finished product to them. The company used their own trucks for this process but did hire outside transportation companies when shipping product to customers. Anyway, when final product was shipped to the Mt. Pleasant plant, the containers were usually needed back to the production plant ASAP. The plan was supposed to be that they were returned on a timely basis when the trucks came back to load up with finished product again. The problem was that the Mt. Pleasant plant was using these needed containers as storage for standard inventory product. Because of this, the company would run out of containers during production and have to waste money sending an unloaded or semi-loaded truck down to Mt. Pleasant to retrieve them. The company needed to either buy more containers or coordinate a better system. Maybe if when they produced standard product for inventory they could have produced...

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