Containers & Box Ships 50 years on.

31st May 2006, 00:21
Prompted by a review in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' last Sat 27-05,of the Book:THE BOX
Marc Levinson
Princeton University Press.
In which he described it as "An engrossing read...well written...absorbing and informative".....I thought I would let you know of another, that my local Municipal library is ordering for me:
Brian Cudahy
Fordham University Press.

You may recall that he is the author of 'The Cruise Ship Revolution in North America' which was published some time ago, and a fantastic read, giving a lot of details about the birth of the 'Big 3' giants of todays industry.
All of the above are available from
Regards, David D.

31st May 2006, 11:29
Read recently on the Adsteam website, the world's first purpose built container
ship was the 'Kooringa', built in 1964 for the Adelaide Steam Ship Co./McIlwraiths to serve the Melbourne - Freemantle run.

5th July 2006, 02:04
Well I have just finished reading the book and here are some observations:-

It is essentially a history of Sea-Land Lines and all its various owners.
It is extremely oriented to readers in the US to almost the sole exclusion of European and East Asian Lines, with the exception of a short piece (3.5 pages) about Evergreen Marine. No background info about its owner whatsoever, nor how he came to found the business.
He makes the interesting statement to the effect that P&O "left" the OCL Consortium. I was of the belief that it took it over then did the same with the ACT group.( a shipmate may advise on this matter.)
Manchester Liners gets 2 sentences, even though "the Manchester Challenger....first fully cellular British box boat, designed for 'deepwater' trade".
Next to zero info on Ro/Ro shipping. I guess the reason being that there are no US representatives of the type.
The Moller Group gets ONE sentence as to its long history!
There are several 'fearsome' typos which in a book of this type should not be allowed to go to print.(even more so considering the publisher is a University of some note!)
The book is totally devoid of any Maps or Diagrams, but filled, AND I MEAN FILLED with tables and Lists, many of them repetitive. The Notes, Appendices, Index, Bibliography section at the back, occupies 85 pages!! in a 338 page book!!
Also extremely disappointing are the 20 pages of B/W pics which are reproduced on the bookstock, not as separate glossy pages. Grainy and in
many instances very small, they do the publication no favors.
Having said that however there is some very interesting info about the immense infrastructure that exists in the USA, particularly the transport across the country of Trains loaded with 40 foot boxes loaded 2 high.."each a mile the rate of c400 per WEEK!!! out of the dual ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach" (my emphasis). And the extraordinary inland River Barge Transport System.
Whilst on the subject of Barges, he gives very little space to thr "Lash" System. Even though it was a bit of a "dead-end" in the overall scheme of things, he could have explored this a bit more.
Perhaps the most entertaining is the sections on the actual types of vessels, many unique to the US Flag Companies.
The story of the marvellous SL-7,s that sped across the Atlantic and Pacific at 33 knots prior to the 2nd oil shock in 1979. How Sea-Land disposed of them to the Military, would be a story in itself.
Finally from a personal point of view, I have finally discovered the last disposition of the "Daewoo Dozen", those 1984/5 4614Teu that McLean specified to sail at 18knots, serenely around the World on a weekly Schedule and became the millstone that finally sank United States Lines.
I would recommend this book as a good READ!, not necessarily a good PURCHASE, unless you had the money to spare. You may, like me, prevail upon your Municipal Library to order it, which is a far better option.

David D. (Read)

5th July 2006, 03:10
Thats an excellent review David, Thankyou. I will save my money . (Applause)