The Effects Of Containerization On The Cities And Ports Of San Francisco And Oakland

1421 WordsDec 11, 20156 Pages
Containerization and the Effects on The Cities and Ports of San Francisco and Oakland The effects of containerization are arguably as far reaching as they are underappreciated. When considering technologies that changed the world, it is easy to quickly think of the internet and computers easing the speed of communication across the world. Although not as glamorous, the advent of the steel container is at the core of today’s global economy, responsible for accelerating the transfer of goods from place to place cheaply, efficiently and effectively. Containers are the physical means of exploiting cheap labor around the world and the cornerstone invention of the modern worldwide supply chain. The extent to which the “container matters to the…show more content…
San Francisco primarily relied on the backbreaking manual labor of longshoremen to load and unload ships that came through the port, a profession that had existed unchanged for hundreds of years. Officials’ beliefs that containers were a passing fad, in combination with the lack of investment and acreage required for the new technology, allowed the Port of San Francisco, and its longshoremen, to fade into history, just as its neighbor, the Port of Oakland emerged as a sophisticated leading container port. The migration of the maritime industry across the bay dramatically altered and restructured the economies of both San Francisco and Oakland. Similarly, their waterfronts were forever transformed. After World War II, the US economy boomed, while the maritime industry did not. The merchant fleet had been commandeered aby the government when the United States entered the war, and did not return to private ownership until two years after it ended, in 1947. Coastline shipping stagnated at prewar levels, while trucking grabbed the market share of domestic transportation. A cargo ship typically would spend as much time in port being loaded and unloaded as in transit, and was therefore unreasonably expensive. Despite this, there was relatively little competition for larger American ship lines since foreign lines were barred from coastal and island service. However inefficient and costly,
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