Diffusion Cycle of Containerization
- Adoption. In the early 1960s,
containerization was yet an unproven technology with a few
competing standards in terms of size of latching systems. The
services offered were specific (point to point). Still,
containerization demonstrated that it was achieving
productivity gains since it involved a much more
efficient form of transshipment.
- Acceleration. In the early 1970s,
containerization finally became a recognized and emerging form
of transportation. New services and consequently new networks
were being established, which multiplied its
productivity, with growing volumes and the beginning of
the application of economies of scale, both at the modes and at
Pendulum services, which would become the
standard network configuration for containerized maritime
shipping, were being set.
- Peak Growth. By the 1990s, containerization
became the dominant support of global trade and of
globalization, heading towards its full market potential. Its diffusion was massive, particularly in newly
industrializing economies such as China. Network development was
facing growing complexities, which led to the setting of
intermediate hubs reconciling regional and global shipping
- Maturity. In a phase a maturity, growth is much less related to
diffusion but with standard economic cycles and the exploitation
of remaining niches, such as the containerization of
commodities. It remains highly debatable if the global maritime
container transport system has reached a phase of maturity.
While in many regions, such as in Latin America, growth remains
significant (peak growth), in markets such as Japan, Western
Europe and North America, there are signs that the growth
potential may have peaked.