On This Day in Oil & Gas: April 27th - Ideal X

April 27th 1956, Newark, New Jersey – The converted World War II oil tanker, the SS Ideal X leaves port bound for Houston, Texas. 160 metres long, 21 metres high and 9.1 metres at the beam, her stats belied nothing special. Her cargo, however, was revolutionary. When she arrived at her destination, dockers unloaded 58 33 foot containers onto 58 trucks.

Ideal X
was the world's first successful container ship and changed transportation by sea forever.

After serving as a container vessel for nine years, Ideal X was sold for scrap in 1965 and went to the breakers yard in 1967. 57 years after her maiden voyage, there are some 5,922 container ships active in the world carrying 219 million deadweight tonnes of cargo at any one time. And all of them owe their existence to a non-descript tanker that earned a second life.

P.S. More on the development of containerisation here



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