On-board Diary: Industrial Lego’s — A Shipping Container Harbor in Napoli, Italy

Author: Keith Ellenbogen
Date: July 11, 2008



The Oceana Marviva Med research vessel docked in Pontile Falavio Gioia the cargo shipping center of Napoli, Italy — due to the size of our ship (86ft) and status as a scientific research vessel — we were unable to dock in a less industrial harbor.

Napoli is a large hub for shipping containers — and is where hundreds of containers are shipped each day carrying everything and anything all over the world. Although it appeared chaotic, it was actually a highly organized assembly line of 40 ft containers (weighing up to 3 tons each) which were then carried by trucks, fork lifts, from one location to another before being hoisted sky high on a crane that moved these containers to and from the shipping boats.

Alone in this virtual lego playground, I enjoyed photographing — and imagining the contents — these large containers from K-Line, Mediterranean Shipping Company, Evergreen, etc in a non-stop frenzy of being loaded and unloaded.

A few interesting facts from wikipedia:

  • Today, approximately 90% of non-bulk cargo worldwide moves by containers stacked on transport ships.
  • 26% of all containers originate from China.
  • As of 2005, some 18 million total containers make over 200 million trips per year.
  • Each container shipping boat on average carries 14,500 20-foot equivalent units (TEU).