In the world of logistics, the significance of a ‘Container’ is undoubtedly irreplaceable. A container is essentially a large and robust structure used for storage and shipment. ‘Containerization’ on the other hand, is a systemized way to ensure seamless intermodal freight transportation.
In the past, due to the lack of a formal acknowledgement of its use, people had taken advantage of the situation. In an interview with Camelport, Capt. Dinesh Gautama, the President of Navkar Corporation Ltd. threw light on this matter. He said “All these import-export laws did not have word container movement. This gave a lot of liberty for business owners to find loopholes.” It thus became imminent to lend a firm status to the concept and utility of a ‘Container’ in the logistics industry, to plug up the loopholes. This finally resulted into its formal recognition in the Indian Foreign Trade Policy.
The captain further elaborated on the origin of the concept of ‘Containerization’. He said that it is intertwined with the historic influx of European migrants into the United States of America, which had taken place around 1925. The goods that the Europeans had brought along were invariably contained in wooden boxes with phrases reading – ‘Lift Van’, ‘No Pilferage’, ‘Ease of Handling’, or simply ‘Single Unit’. And that lead to the novel idea. In India in 1956, the very first steel-made containers were carried on a modified tanker. Later in 1972, the first feeder container ships arrived at the shores of Kochi.
The container-building industry has come a long way today. Containers in the past were each 8x8x20 ft. They were later upgraded to 8×8.5x20ft, to accommodate the 2-high pallets. India today uses container ships that are 8ft high. In the words of Mr. Gautama, “In olden days ships carrying more than 30 containers were given priority at port. Now containers carry almost 500 containers.”