Press Release Article


Date: Apr 25, 2006
Press Release Number: 32-2006

Method of Transporting Cargo Revolutionized the Region’s Seaport

Fifty years ago tomorrow, businessman Malcom McLean launched an innovative concept when he transported cargo for the first time in shipping containers from Port Newark to Texas.

On April 26, 1956, Mr. McLean launched his concept – known throughout the maritime industry as “containerization” – at Port Newark by rigging 58 containers to the Ideal X, a converted World War II tanker, and transporting them to Houston.

Fifty years later, the Port of New York and New Jersey handles more than 2.8 million containers every year, or on average more than 7,700 containers every day. More than 50 percent of the total value of worldwide cargo shipped by ocean is transported via containers, and it is estimated that about 67 million containers were shipped worldwide in 2005 – a 1.2 millionfold increase over the original 58 containers that left Port Newark in 1956.

The Port Authority celebrated Mr. McLean’s containerization concept by unveiling a plaque today to mark the milestone anniversary for the Port of New York and New Jersey and for the international shipping community. Containerization, which provided a way for international cargo to be transported more cost-efficiently, revolutionized the way the Port of New York and New Jersey and seaports around the world do business today. It led to the construction of the world’s first containerport in Elizabeth, N.J. in 1962.

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “During the past 50 years, our seaport has blossomed into the leading destination on the East Coast for international shippers in part because of the benefits that containerization provides. Millions of cargo containers carrying goods valued at $132 billion moved through our port last year – activity levels that would not be possible without the ability to quickly and cost-efficiently handle the cargo.”

Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “There’s little question that containerization transformed the maritime business here and throughout the world. Today, ships can quickly be loaded and unloaded with modern-day cranes, and cargo can be transported more efficiently by truck, rail car or barge. Containerization has allowed our port to be a steady source of economic activity for the region.”

Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler Jr. said, “In addition to revolutionizing the maritime business, containerization has had a major impact on what all of us pay for the goods we use every day. Providing an efficient means for cargo to be transported ultimately reduces costs that consumers bear for products such as beverages, furniture, toys and clothing.”

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.

The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.

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