Singapore’s economic development is linked to its port. Strategically located on the way between Asia and Europe, Singapore offers a great platform for shipping between South East Asia, China and the rest of the world. This explains the volume of transshipment in Singapore (first port worldwide) as it acts as a hub between regions.

Singapore is currently the second largest harbor in the world in terms of total shipping tonnage, behind Shanghai.

All this is possible because of a major change that impacted the international trade. The container.

  • Because it’s standard, the container enabled a drastic drop in the cost of shipping as handling standard boxes is much easier.
  • Because containers are locked, it also led to a drop of losses to theft, and consequently, insurance prices.
  • This together with the reduction of trade barriers lead to an explosion of international trade.

Read this article from the Economist to learn more about how containers have changed the world and check out the video from National Geographic Megastructures

As The Economist puts it: not bad for a simple box.