Born November 14, 1913 - Died May 25, 2001
Patent #: 2,853,968
Malcom McLean invented containerized shipping, which transformed the shipping industry, in the 1950s. By the end of the twentieth century, container ships transported nearly 90 percent of the world's trade cargo.
McLean's improvements reduced the cost of shipping 25 percent. His new company, SeaLand Industries, became the largest cargo-shipping business in the world.
The son of a farmer, McLean was born near Maxton, North Carolina. His education ended with high school. During the Great Depression, McLean bought a used truck and began hauling products for nearby farmers. Like other truckers, he chafed at the time lost as crates were loaded and unloaded between trucks and the holds of ships. In 1955, after building his trucking business into the fifth-largest fleet in the U.S., he sold it in order to capitalize on a revolutionary idea.