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The Only Facts About Containers You Need to Know.

We love a good stat and fact here at M54 Space Centre, especially when the theme is, you guessed it – containers! In this blog post, we’ve rounded up our top facts and interesting stats about containers and the container industry that we think you’ll enjoy! 


Did you know that…

  • Malcolm McLean invented the world’s first metal shipping container in 1956.
  • 95% of the cargo in the entire world is transported by ship, with the remaining 5% being transported by other modes of transport.
  • If you had a lot of shoes to store, you could fit around 3,500 shoe boxes in a standard 20ft container, and more than 8,000 shoe boxes in a 40ft container.
  • Around 96% of all shipping containers are manufactured in China – which is a crazy amount! The reason for this is because the Chinese labour rate is much lower than many other countries, similarly to a lot of other products being manufactured there. It is easier to produce containers close to the shipment, rather than relocating containers around the world.
  • In a whole year, around 675 shipping containers (and potentially their contents too) are lost at sea – that’s one every hour! The lost containers are damaged by waves and will sink quickly, but some of them may float for a little while before. The ones that don’t fully sink straight away hang around just below the surface of the water, which causes damage to other sailing vessels that steer into the container they didn’t know was there.
  • There are currently over 17 million shipping containers in the world, with five or six million of them currently shipping around the world at this current moment.
  • The busiest shipping port in the world is Shanghai. It handles more than 31 million containers in a year, either arriving or departing from there.
  • The UK’s busiest shipping port is Felixstowe which handles 42% of the UK’s total container traffic. It handled just under 4 million 20ft equivalent containers during 2013.
  • If every container that exists in the world was laid out end to end in a line, they would circle around the world twice.


Don’t forget that we at M54 Space Centre, have a wide range of container sizes available to suit your needs and budgets, so please feel free to give us a call to chat through as well as arrange a tour of our storage site. We’d love to hear from you!