Shipping is one of the world’s oldest methods of transportation and can trace its existence back thousands of years.
From the original seagoing vessels used in Ancient Egypt to the modern large scale heavy machinery shipping vessels used today, technological advancements have fundamentally transformed shipping, which in term transformed society as we know it.
Here are just some of the innovations that have transformed the world of freight shipping.
Also known as lean manufacturing, just-in-time principles transformed many industries at the same time, with shipping becoming one of the most important parts of the manufacturing process.
Previously, all of the raw materials required for manufacturing were ordered long in advance from when they were likely to be produced, with huge storage costs ensuing.
That changed when Taiichi Ohno and Eiji Toyoda, industrial engineers for Toyota, pioneered what was known at the time as the Toyota Production System, where their cars and components were only made when they were needed and in the amount they were needed.
This has transformed the entire world of logistics, which has become an even more vital backbone to industry.
It is difficult to overstate just how important the humble shipping container is to the entire freight world. Before this, loading and unloading cargo was expensive, difficult and often involved bespoke methods for each piece.
Having a standard, easily manageable container for each piece of cargo dramatically reduced shipping costs to the point that even a 950 per cent increase in oil prices due to the 1970s oil crises did not cause sea freight costs to increase.
The internet has allowed for a new, unique type of business that operates globally right from its inception, which has until the development of undersea fibre optic cables and high-speed internet and communications, been impossible to achieve.
These developments have created a global business world where any company can operate internationally and find customers that can be shipped to across the globe.