改变世界的箱子

长40英尺,高8.5或9.5英尺,宽8英尺;推荐使用空间2000立方英尺,可容纳重达29吨的货物——这些货物的零售价格约为50万美元(甚至更多);只要有适当的港口、铁路、火车、平台货车、牵引车、柴油和公路,就可以在一个月内连同所装的货物一起运到世界上的任何地方。

这就是现代货物集装箱,它可以将不易损坏、不易腐烂的货物从任何一个有装卸码头的现代化工厂运送到世界上任何一处现代化仓库,代价仅为零售价值的1%。不错,集装箱的运输费可能只有极少的5000美元——正如Marc Levinson(《集装箱:货运集装箱如何使世界更小,使世界经济规模更大》这部杰作的作者)所形容的那样,还没有头等舱的机票贵。

这一切是从1960年左右开始的。当时,大多数货物的国际远洋运输费用基本上都在零售价值的10%到20%之间。货物集装箱改变了一切。

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