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The Box by Marc Levinson

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Chapter 13

 

 

The Shippers’ Revenge

Disappointing as they were for investors, the first years of international container shipping introduced an entirely new dynamism to the boring old business of moving freight. The decade-long rate war, as Karl Heinz Sager of the German carrier Hapag-Lloyd commented later, “entailed tremendous losses for shipowners, but it brought on the other hand the breakthrough of the ‘box’ with shippers.” The new container technology spread widely, and it would soon begin to penetrate deeply into the world economy.1

The initial effects of the container were felt mainly within the narrow confines of the maritime industry, by ship lines, port agencies, and dockworkers. Carriers staggered under the enormous costs of the transition ...

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