Over 18 million total ISO shipping containers are making over 200 million trips between major ports around the world. The mass adoption of the shipping container gives rise to containerization, impacting the world economy in several ways:
- Standardized containers forces a rationalization in manufacturing as well as shipping.
- Containers improve shipping efficiency and capacity to a large degree which in turn reduces the cost of international business transactions.
- Containers bridge the distance between countries and makes the world smaller when they travel between major ports around the globe 24/7.
Thomas Friedman discusses this extensively in his book, “The World is Flat”.
Today, the demand for shipping container is growing at a neck breaking speed. China and European countries are the leading manufacturers of ISO containers. In 2001, China produced more than one million twenty feet equivalent units (TEUs) or 80 percent of the world's containers. The second largest producer of containers is Europe at 104,000 TEUs or approximately eight percent of the world's container output.