BBC News launches The Box to explore globalisation

 18 Sep 2008 05.18pm

In an ambitious and innovative experiment BBC correspondents will follow the container as it criss-crosses continents with its various cargoes telling the stories behind those goods, those who make them and those who consume them.

The 40-foot branded shipping container begins its worldwide journey today from Southampton.

The project, called The Box, will follow the container as it transports real goods, from car parts to footwear, in a genuine snapshot of global trade.

Visitors to the BBC News website can interactively track the progress of the trailer online in real time through GPS tracking at

Jeremy Hillman, BBC News Business and Economics Editor, said: "The Box will highlight major issues and trends in the global economy at a critical and testing time.

"It is a creative, exciting project which will provide depth to our coverage of the credit crisis and global economic uncertainty.

"The stories behind The Box are sure to be illuminating and fascinating."

The Box will first travel to Scotland to be loaded with whisky and then put onto a container ship bound for China.

The idea of The Box comes from a book of the same name by Marc Levinson which tells the story of how the humble shipping container changed the face of world trade.

The Container Shipping Information Service (CSIS) are working closely with the BBC on logistics and planning.

BBC Business presenter Declan Curry will be reporting the launch from Southampton today and will relay the progress of the container as it travels the world with:

  • Whisky from Scotland to Shanghai, China
  • Consumer goods from Shanghai to Treemont, Philadelphia, USA
  • General cargo from New York/New Jersey to Germany.

From there The Box is likely to travel to countries like Japan, Russia, Singapore and Vietnam carrying cargoes as varied as car parts and sporting goods.

Its journey will be picked up at each stage by BBC correspondents around the globe bringing their expertise and reporting to a remarkable journey.

  Container Handling