Dublin July 2015


The Global Institute of Logistics Announced Today That It Has Begun Researching the key 50 organizations who have shaped containerization since its internationalization in 1966.

2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Globalization of the Container Transport Process. To mark this significant milestone the Global Institute of Logistics is to create a “Roll of Honor” to honor 50 of the most influential organizations who have shaped the industry over the last 50 years. Each honoree will be accredited by the Institute with its highest accolade the “Award of Excellence” in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the development of the industry. The selection process will be overseen by an accreditation committee comprising members of the Institute’s Hall of Fame. The results will be published in October 2016. A gala lunch will take place in December 2016 to celebrate the Golden anniversary of the Globalization of the Container Transport Process where the formal presentation of accreditations will be made to the organizations included in the Roll of Honor



On the  3rd of  May 1966, ten years after containerized shipping started in the US, Sea-Land’s container ship ‘Fairland’ arrived in Rotterdam for the first time, together with three sister ships, all with a capacity of 226 containers, the Fairland operated a weekly container service between North America and Northwest Europe, it was to become the starting point in the globalization of the container transport process. Container ship construction then began to increase over the next couple of years. In 1968, 18 container vessels were built, ten of them with a capacity of 1,000 TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit), which was large for the time. In 1969, 25 ships were built and the size of the largest ship increased to almost 2,000 TEUs. Modern container ships have a capacity of up to 21,000 TEUs for major trade lanes.

Containerization is a testament to the power of process innovation. In the 1950s the world’s ports still did business much as they had for centuries. When ships moored, hordes of longshoremen unloaded “break bulk” cargo crammed into the hold. They then squeezed outbound cargo in as efficiently as possible in a game of maritime Tetris. The process was expensive and slow; most ships spent much more time tied up than plying the seas.

Containerization changed everything. It was the brainchild of Malcom McLean, an American trucking magnate. He reckoned that big savings could be had by packing goods in uniform containers that could easily be moved between lorry and ship. When he tallied the costs from the inaugural journey of his first prototype container ship in 1956, he found that they came in at just $0.16 per tonne to load—compared with $5.83 per tonne for loose cargo on a standard ship. More important than savings on costs were the knock on effects on efficiency, in 1965 dock labour could move only 1.7 tonnes per hour onto a cargo ship; five years later a container crew could load 30 tonnes per hour. Containerisation quickly conquered the world: between 1966 and 1983 the share of countries with container ports rose from about 1% to nearly 90%, coinciding with a take­off in global trade.

Today, in the 21st century, international supply chains have transformed the global economy by connecting trade, investment, and services. This has been accompanied by the ongoing revolution in information and communication technologies, which has made it possible to manage the complex challenges of coordinating logistics on a global scale. The interconnected global economy depends on reliable, on time delivery of goods and services in order to run smoothly and minimize costly delays. Containerization continues to be the solution to this challenge. Regardless of the occasional shock to the world’s financial system, global trade will continue to expand and the world will continue to get smaller. Containerization’s  role is to bring the benefits of global trade to every corner of the planet, moving goods from producers to customers.

In the 50 years since the beginning of globalization of the container transport process in 1966,  a host of individuals and organizations have been pioneers in making the complex global systems of transport and logistics work for customers in a simple, reliable way.  The aim of the Institute’s 50@50 “Roll of Honor” is to acknowledge 50 of the most influential organizations who have shaped the industry over that period.  Our belief is that in in so doing  we will bring much deserved attention to the “Humble Hero” of world trade the simple container.



The Institute has been at the heart of the global container supply chain for the last 20 years and has in that time played a key role in bringing stakeholders together from all aspect of the process. As a result we have an extensive insight into the workings of the industry and most importantly the people and organizations who are leading the way.

This “Hands On” understanding combined with our extensive annual secondary research places the Institute in a unique position to create a “long list” of candidate companies for consideration by the accreditation committee. On further evaluation, the long list will become a short list of 100 companies from which the “final list” of 50 will be chosen.

All shortlisted companies will be notified in May 2016 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first sailing of the Fairland from New York to Rotterdam on May 6th 1966. Each company will be requested to provide the Institute with additional information concerning their history, milestones and future plans, this in turn will be presented to the accreditation committee for consideration. The successfully accredited organizations will be notified between July and September 2016.

The Institute will publish the “Roll of Honor” as part of a specially developed website in October 2016. The WebSite will act as a living testimony to the story of containerization and will include case studies from and profiles on those organizations who have been included in the 50 @ 50 Roll of Honor.

The Institute will host a gala lunch and awards ceremony in December where the formal presentation of accreditations will be made to the organizations included in the Roll of Honor