The great men of containerization

Today, almost all long-distance transports are based on containers, and of all goods being transported, more than 90 % are transported in containers. While it is impossible to give an exact assessment of the number of containers used globally, a rough estimate places the figure at nearly 20 million. On an annual basis, approximately 300 million shipments are carried out using containers.

Containers are the standard for modern transportation and these three great men have had a great impact on the history of  modern containerization.

Malcom McLean, 1913-2001

Born in the United States, McLean was a businessman specialising in transport, who developed the modern shipping container and adopted it for commercial use in 1956. In 1960, McLean founded Sea-land Service Inc., which was one of the leading container shipping companies of it time. In 1999, the international operations of the company were sold to Maersk.

Veli Nordström, 1933-2003

The son of a Finnish shipowner, businessman and visionary, Nordström was the first shipowner in Europe to put the shipping container prototypes that he personally had designed into service in the transports of AA Lines in 1961. In 1966, he co-founded Containerships Ltd with British James B.  Sherwood.

James B. Sherwood, B. 1933

Born in the United States, Sherwood was a British businessman who, in 1965, founded Sea Containers Inc., the first container leasing company in Europe. In 1966, he co-founded Containerships Ltd. with Veli Nordström, expanding later his business operations to cover luxury hotels and railways, including the Orient Express railway connection.