50 years of container services in Rotterdam port

On 3 May 1966 MS Fairland arrived in Rotterdam under the watchful eye of Queen Juliana, with 226 containers on board

50 years of container services in Rotterdam port

From that moment on, the Sea-Land Shipping Company has been maintaining a weekly container service between New York and the West European ports of Rotterdam, Bremen and Grangemouth, and Rotterdam became Europe’s first container port. ECT was founded by Quick Dispatch, Thomsen’s Port Authority, Cornelis Swart Rope, Müller Progress Pakhuismeesteren and the Dutch Railways to handle the containers and to respond to this development.

Today, Rotterdam is still the main container port in Europe. On Tuesday 3 May at eleven o’clock, the Port of Rotterdam Authority wishes to take a moment to reflect on this event in 1966 that turned out to be so important for the port of Rotterdam. They want to do this on the bridge of a container vessel.

The importance of container transport for global trade can hardly be overestimated – which is why the container has also been called ‘the invention of the century’. The American Malcolm McLean came up with the idea that it would be much more efficient if everyone worldwide were to use an identical container. He invented the container that we still use today. A steel 40-ft or 20-ft box, with swing doors.