The $14 trillion reason you should care about the shipping container shortage

Good article, includes a mention of the familiar the Malcolm McLean story but also some good tidbits like this one.

This system dramatically reduced the cost of loading and unloading a ship. In 1956, manually loading a ship cost $5.86 per ton; the standardized container cut that cost to just 16 cents a ton.

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on the other hand it may revitalize things that use to be “local” !

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Co2 carbon based sales tax on items will bring things back locally
At least the public will be informed

I read the above article with interest, and frankly, amusement. IMO there isn’t a shipping container shortage. They are just in the wrong place. Search eBay, Craigslist, Marketplace or the classified section of our Trade magazines and you will find shipping containers for sale. Many are advertised as “1 Trippers”. The trouble is the cost of getting them back into the “system” can be more than what the containers are worth. This is especially the case if the container can’t get a back load and would have to be deadheaded. More often than not they are just sold off locally once they reach their final destination. Seems to me this is a problem of logistics.


I have a 40’ shipping container in my backyard I paid $3200 for. If you look up it had padeyes cut out and welded back up.

Was it a throw away or did it “fall off a truck?”

Imo: the problem is the speed of loading containers in the states.

It’s an infrastructure problem.

It’s cheaper to send them back empty (for whom, well the Chinese manufacturer and American consumer).

As a nation we still need to export goods for revenue. It sucks for farmers who have surplus but cannot afford the container fees (due to our lacking skill of speedy loading).

Here’s hoping the trillion dollar infrastructure bill will address this issue (hah! Yeah right)


Yes. Unproductive, technology resistant American union longshoremen are a huge part of the problem.

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The article is some background on the role of containers in world trade, not intended as a analysis of current underlying systemic issues in shipping.

Logistical issues will manifest locally as shortages.

Lots of articles about underlying issues, this isn’t one of them.