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Port Newark and the Origins of Container Shipping


originally published: 08/23/2022

Port Newark and the Origins of Container Shipping

Container shipping is a vital part of the global economy. Goods from all around the world, from vegetables to automobiles, are placed in large metal containers which are transported across the ocean in ships, then loaded onto tractor-trailers and railroad flatbeds. But when and where did this world-changing invention get started?

Port Newark and the Origins of Container Shipping by Angus Kress Gillespie is a fascinating study that traces the birth of containerization to Port Newark, New Jersey, in 1956 when trucker Malcom McLean thought of a brilliant new way to transport cargo. It tells the story of how Port Newark grew rapidly as McLean’s idea was backed by both New York banks and the US military, who used containerization to ship supplies to troops in Vietnam. Angus Gillespie takes us behind the scenes of today’s active container shipping operations in Port Newark, talking to the pilots who guide the ships into port, the Coast Guard personnel who help manage the massive shipping traffic, the crews who unload the containers, and even the chaplains who counsel and support the mariners. Port Newark shines a spotlight on the unsung men and women who help this complex global shipping operation run smoothly.

"Angus Gillespie tells a riveting story that includes political intrigue, labor conflict, crime, racial strife, charity work, and the impacts of globalization. The narrative of Port Newark, one of the busiest ports on earth, is about a small point on the map. Yet its story is the story of the consumer world we live in." — Simon J. Bronner, author of Americanness: Inquiries into the Thought and Culture of the United States

Since McLean's innovation, Port Newark has expanded with the addition of the nearby Elizabeth Marine Terminal. This New Jersey complex now makes up the busiest seaport on the East Coast of the United States. Some have even called it “America’s Front Door.” The book tells the story of the rapid growth of worldwide containerization, and how Port Newark has adapted to bigger ships with deeper channels and a raised bridge. In the end, there is speculation of the future of this port with ever-increasing automation, artificial intelligence, and automation.

"Port Newark takes a fresh look at the often-overlooked history of containerization, beginning with its inception in 1956. Gillespie’s writing is free of academic jargon, richly illustrated, and readable. Port Newark is essential reading for all maritime aficionados." — Daniel A. Dermer, Central Jersey Council, Navy League of the United States.



 
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Port Newark and the Origins of Container Shipping will be published by Rutgers University Press in October 2022. Paperback, $29.95 - ISBN # 9781978818712. The book is 274 pages with 20 B&W and 19 color images. Cloth and e-book will be available.

Angus Kress Gillespie is a professor of American Studies at Rutgers University. His many books about the cultural implications of civil engineering include Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike (1989), coauthored with Michael Aaron Rockland, recognized by the New Jersey State Library as one of the ten best books ever written about the state. He is a folklorist who has studied myths, legends, tales, and ballads found in the United States. His courses in folklore range from historic figures such as Buffalo Bill, Casey Jones, Calamity Jane, and Molly Pitcher to contemporary issues such as urban legends and conspiracy theories. From time to time, Gillespie offers courses in weird folklore where he discusses creatures such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Jersey Devil. His courses in folklife consider physical folklore including architecture, art, craft, cookery, cattle ranching, seafaring, and fence construction.



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EVENT CALENDAR

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Motor City Revue

Friday, October 07, 2022 @ 6:00pm
Brook Arts Center
10 Hamilton Street, Bound Brook, NJ 08805
category: music


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Bettye LaVette & Raul Midón

Friday, October 07, 2022 @ 8:00pm
South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC)
One Sopac Way, South Orange, NJ 07079
category: music


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The Wolves

Friday, October 07, 2022 @ 8:00pm
McCarter Theatre Center (Berlind Theater)
91 University Place, Princeton, NJ 08540
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John Prine Tribute

Friday, October 07, 2022 @ 8:00pm
Outpost In The Burbs
40 S Fullerton Ave, Montclair, NJ 07042
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Morristown Festival of Books presents: The Beauty of Dusk: An Evening with Frank Bruni

Friday, October 07, 2022 @ 7:30pm
Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC)
100 South Street, Morristown, NJ 07960
category: community


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WP Presents! The Bronx Wanderers

Friday, October 07, 2022 @ 8:00pm
Shea Center for Performing Arts
300 Pompton Rd, Wayne, NJ 07470
category: music


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The Caretaker

Friday, October 07, 2022 @ 8:00pm
Shakespeare Theatre Of NJ - F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre
36 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ 07940
category: theatre


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Vivid Stage presents "Soft Animals"

Friday, October 07, 2022 @ 8:00pm
Oakes Center
120 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901
category: theatre


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