At Quicken Loans, we believe finding simpler, and better ways to do things can make a big difference in our lives and the world around us. One person who discovered that simplicity can make is big difference was Malcolm McLean.
In 1956, McLean had a great idea that ended up revolutionizing the global economy: Instead of loading and unloading a ship crate by crate, he thought it would be a lot more efficient if dock cranes were to pick up the entire trailer of a truck and place it on the ship. The idea to eliminate the previously expensive and time-consuming loading task, led to McLean’s invention of the standardized shipping container.
McLean died in 2001 at the age of 87, but his contribution changed the world forever. It’s hard to imagine that a simple invention made such a large impact on the global economy, but have a look around if you don’t believe me. Just about everything you see or use has spent some time in one of McLean’s cargo containers, in fact, about 90% of all of the worlds goods are now transported via a cargo container.
Malcolm McLean’s quest to change the world started with one second-hand truck he bought after saving his money while working at a gas station during the great depression. By 1955 he sold his McLean Trucking company and its 1,776 trucks for six million dollars. He knew there was a better way to transport cargo that didn’t require waiting nearly a whole day to load and unload a single truck—that’s when he came up with his design for the standardized shipping container.
The container he developed is the primary cargo container still used today. It’s easily stacked on ships, and fits nicely on the back of truck trailers and rail cars. His simple invention allowed for time and cost-effective global trade, an immeasurable impact on today’s economy.