In 1956, an entrepreneurial trucker named Malcolm McLean, seeking a cost effective alternative to move cargo between New Jersey and Texas loaded 58 trailer bodies onto the World War II vintage tanker, the TS Ideal X, marking the start of what we call "Containerization. From this humble beginning, the container industry has evolved into a sophisticated global transportation system with a volume exceeding 100 million units of containerized cargo annually.
To support this containerized system, over 37 million teus* move in more than 19 million vessel slots and transit on roads, railways and waterways throughout the world carrying a diverse mix of cargo in a safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible manner.
The container and chassis leasing industry developed to support containerized trade by offering quality equipment and services. Today the leased fleet has a replacement value of approximately $53 billion for the 20 million container teus** and between 500,000 and 600,000 chassis*** in the leased fleet.
Containers and chassis are available in numerous configurations to meet customer needs. Equipment can be selected by length and height; closed, open-top or, flatrack; dry or liquid cargo suitable; refrigerated, or ambient; fixed wheelbase or slider, tandem or tri axle; straight frame or drop frame, or other specifications to meet cargo needs.
The efficiency of containerization for transporting consumer goods and certain raw materials has facilitated the growth of international trade. Significant efficiencies in packaging and handling has increased productivity and reduced damage that has resulted in significant growth in volumes.
Every Container and chassis has a unique alpha numeric identity that can be linked to the owner or operating company. This assists with tracking units associated with specific shipments and permits visibility throughout the supply chain.
*TEU is a twenty-foot equivalent unit, the standard measure of capacity where a twenty foot container is one teu and a forty foot container is two teus.
**Source: Drewry Maritime Research: Container Leasing 2018/19
***Source: IICL US Section 301 China Tariff Part 3 Tariff Hearing IICL Testimony