British Box Business - A History of OCL

British Box Business - A History of OCL

Augustus Muir and Mair Davies

British Box Business - A History of OCL

Edited by Alan Bott, OBE

Published by  SCARA

"The advent of containerisation was, in fact, the most dramatic and profound change in the structure and operation of the international liner trades that has ever occurred...   the experience of OCL is therefore an important part of a major episode in shipping history..." - Sir Frederic Harmer

This book chronicles the British Container Revolution, 1965-1985.   It describes the genesis of the transformation from conventional to container shipping undertaken by the founders of Overseas Containers Limited - P&O, Ocean Transport & Trading, Furness Withy and British & Commonwealth.


With a forward by SCARA President Robert Woods and a Preface by Editor Alan Bott, the book contains fourteen chapters covering the birth of the container shipping company, the growth of each major trade, and the years that followed with P&O Containers and P&O Nedlloyd:


    Planning the first service

    Sailing to Australia

    Conferences, Consortia and Crossing to Japan

    Building the Through-Transport-Business

    Far East Trade

    The Years Between: 1973-1978

    New Zealand Trade

    South Africa Trade

    OC(P)L and the Australia/New Zealand-Asia Trades

    Middle East, India and East Africa Trades

    Facing the Competition: 1979-1986

    Financial Matters

    After OCL : 1986-2005

The nine appendices provide background information on the founding companies, and then detail each major aspect of the operation:

    i. The founding companies of OCL

    ii. Planning the first service

    iii. Calendar of Events in OCL : 1965-2005

    iv. OCL and P&OCL Directors : 1965-1996

    v. International Container Management (ICM)

    vi. Combined Transport Documents, Insurance & Claims

    vii. Computer Systems and Documentation

    viii. Life at Sea in the Container Age

    ix. Financial Matters


This high quality, hard-cover book is published by SCARA with 288 pages and many illustrations which embrace the personalities, the ships, the terminals & containerbases and the cargoes. Edited by Alan Bott the book is authored by many who played a direct role in the early years of containerisation.

The contributors include: Robert Woods, Alan Bott, Michael & Patricia Graham, Sir Adrian Swire, John Roberts, Michael Read, Stephen Rabson, Pat Tobin, Guy Cheeseman, John Newton, captains Michael Penney, Ken Owen & Michael Heron, Bob Straffen, Marion Ward, Pat Moore, John Richardson, and Anton Ratnayake.

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