Meet The Humble Container That Moves The Global Economy

The container carrying the Planet Money women's T-shirts is loaded onto a ship in Cartagena, Colombia.

The container carrying the Planet Money women's T-shirts is loaded onto a ship in Cartagena, Colombia. Eric Helton for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Eric Helton for NPR

NPR's Planet Money team is manufacturing its own T-shirt. After the women's shirt was assembled in Colombia, they voyaged by container ship to Miami. The container, a big standardized box that moves easily from truck to ship to train, is the unsung hero of the global economy. It was invented in the 1950s and dramatically reduced shipping costs, ushering in a new era vastly different than the world retired stevedores remember. There's a whole lot more about what it takes to make a simple T-shirt — the journey from cotton to completion — here.

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