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IB Geography: Changing space - the shrinking world: Changes in transport - Ocean

A guide to resources on the shrinking world for your IB geography course, compiled by your librarians.

Videos - Introducing containerisation

These two short videos provide an introduction to containerisation, including its history and development.

This video, from The Financial Times, outlines the massive impact that containerisation has had on globalisation and world trade. It explains how containers have grown in modern times and also introduces the BBC's 'The Box' (see the box below).

This TED Ed video offers an entertaining and informative introduction to containerisation. It explains how Malcolm McLean came up with the idea of commercialised container shipping in 1937 and the impact this has had on globalisation.

The BBC's 'The Box' Project

In 2008 the BBC launched a project to follow a shipping container for a year.

A customised BBC container set off from the UK and its progress was followed in order to gain knowledge of globalisation and the world economy.

Find out more about the project by watching the video and visiting

BBC, 2012. The Box. Retrieved September 10, 2013, from BBC News:

BBC, 2008. The BBC Box. [Video file]. Available at:

Useful articles on containerisation

This article outlines the history of freight containers, from 1937 when Malcolm McLean came up with the idea of commercial shipping containers.  It  also looks at some of the advantages and disadvantages of containers.

 Find a link to this article in the list of useful articles below.


Want to find more articles?

Search for more articles using the Ebsco and JSTOR search boxes at the bottom of this page.

Google books on containerisation

In this box you can find two Google Books on the subject of containerisation.

Scroll through the books to access the sections that are freely available online.  Although you will not be able to read the whole book, you will be able to find lots of useful information on container shipping.  Use the 'Search' box to find information on a specific aspect of containerisation.

Marc Levinson's "The Box" "tells the dramatic story of the container's creation, the decade of struggle before it was widely adopted, and the sweeping economic consequences of the sharp fall in transportation costs that containerization brought about" (Blackwell UK).

NOTE: DOUBLE CLICK THE '+' MAGNIFYING GLASS TO OPEN AND ENLARGE THE BOOK. 'Box boats' covers the history of commercial container ships, from the launch of the first freighter in 1956 to today, with more than 200 million containers being shipped ever year.


Levinson, M., 2008. The box: how the shipping container made the world smaller and the world economy bigger. Retrieved from Google Books:

Cudahy, B. J., 2006. Box boats: how container ships changed the world. Retrieved from Google Books:

Create a timeline of transport change

Image from: TikiToki

One of your pieces of coursework for this topic involves creating an interactive timeline using TikiToki.

The image above is an example of a TikiToki timeline showing changes in air transportation.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

In your text books...

Books in the Senior Library

You can find these useful books in the Senior Library.

Please ask a librarian if you would like help to find them.

Latest container news - Journal of Commerce

The Journal of Commerce (JOC) is the "leading information and marketing services provider for the domestic and international containerized cargo community"  (JOC website)

Explore these links to find the latest news on container freight from the Journal of Commerce website:

Reference: JOC Group, Inc., 2013. RSS: Container lines. Retrieved from JOC: Journal of Commerce: 

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containerization etc.

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Singapore has excellent public libraries and online resources. 

Click here to search the NLB catalogue, you will find information on books held in libraries.  

If you find books which would be useful for your studies either visit the library or contact us in the Senior Library (email: and we may be able to request it for you.

Find out more using Sweet Search, a search engine designed to help students find reliable information.