Talking Headways Podcast: More Than Just a Box

This week I’m joined by Matthew Heins, author of The Globalization of American Infrastructure: The Shipping Container and Freight Transportation. Matthew talks about how the American highway and rail systems created a global standard for shipping containers, containerization’s effects on labor and relevance to an automated trucking future, and the massive intermodal freight terminals in cities like Chicago.

  • david vartanoff

    Interesting chap. On a railfan site this week there was discussion of 60′ boxes–way to long IMHO to allow on city streets. As it is 53′ units are messy in dense urban areas. FWIW, the standard statistical unit is the long obsolete 20′ box Meanwhile US RRs are reaming out tunnels, and lowering trackways under bridges, in order to carry “high and wide” doublestacks. Doubling the cubic capacity of a given length train (limited by the length of passing sidings) has been a huge increase in RR efficiency–doubling the tonnage per employed crew members.

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