Changes to global intermodal unit standards

An absolutely key principle of effective global intermodal freight is that of high standardisation. Current container standards are virtually unchanged since the origins of the concept in the 1950s. There have been intermittent suggestions about changing container standards over the years and the issue of changing global standards has been on the agenda for over 20 years – see Banks (1992) for example.
In more recent years there have been other attempts to introduce different standards, for example:
 The EU proposal for a European Intermodal Loading Unit (EILU) – see EU (2007)
 The commercial decision by APL to experiment with 53ft containers on its Los Angeles-
South China service – see APL (2007)
Neither initiative was successful, perhaps leading to the inference that changing intermodal unit sizes will never happen.
Learning Outcomes
3 Examine the range of standards, regulations and codes of practice with which the industry must comply
Coursework Specification and Corresponding Marks
Your task is:
 To review the two initiatives described in the introduction, explaining the advantages
which it was envisaged would result from them
 To analyse the reasons why each was unsuccessful
Briefly address the key underlying question:
 Is a single, global intermodal unit standard desirable and/or achievable, or is the industry
always likely to have a variety of standards to suit different markets?

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