From the carriage, to the early land roads and railway transportation, the goods were loaded into the carriage by artificial single pieces or by machinery. After the destination, the goods were unloaded one by one. If you want to transfer to other destinations, you have to go through one or more loading and unloading. Obviously, it is both laborious and time-consuming, and it is also easy to cause damage and cargo loss. Later, the road transport on land took the lead in transporting small single pieces of single goods in the same destination. The result found that it not only improved transport efficiency, but also reduced the damage and difference of goods, so this way of transportation was extended to the railway. In the 1814, the British railroad cars were open, made of frames of square timber, and boards made of wooden strips with no covers on top. In 1830, a coal loading container was first appeared on the British railways, and then a container was used to transport hundreds of groceries on the railways. In 1845, a fully enclosed freight car began to appear on the British railways, and the box body was made of iron wood.
Freight cars on British Railways around 1850
到19世纪下半叶，英国兰开夏郡出现一种带有活动框架的铁路托盘，用来运输棉纱和棉布，俗称“兰开夏托盘”（Lancashire Flat），这可以认为是集装箱的雏形。20世纪初，英国铁路运输中首先出现了较为简单的集装箱，尝试着把家具装在木制箱子里，用铁路平板车运输，到站后用起重机把箱子转移到公路运输的车辆上，再继续将货物运至目的地。这种新型运输方式得到了推广。1920年前后，美国纽约中央铁路公司和宾夕法尼亚铁路公司，引入了9英尺长的钢制集装箱。每节铁路货车里，可以装6只集装箱，每只载重量为5吨。有了这些集装箱，铁路在沿途转运货物时，效率大为提高，成本则大幅降低。以后这种方式传到了德国和法国等。1928年，在意大利罗马举行的“世界公路会议”上，讨论了在国际交通运输中使用集装箱的问题。两年后，在法国巴黎成立了集装箱运输的国际组织——国际集装箱协会（Bureau International Des Containers，BIC），负责研究集装箱的标准化问题，以便协调各国之间的集装箱运输工作。为了进一步提高铁路集装箱运输效率，1933年欧洲“国际铁路联盟”（International Union of Railway，UIC）制定了铁路集装箱的标准，并在欧洲地区的铁路运输中使用了统一的集装箱。在以后的十多年里，由于公路相对铁路发展迅速，公路铁路双方的配合不协调，使得集装箱运输的优越性不能很好的体现，集装箱运输出现了停滞不前的局面。直到1955年，美国铁路公司将集装箱连同拖挂车一起装载在铁路的平板车上运输，使得铁路的低成本、高速度优势与公路的“门对门”特点有机结合起来，于是集装箱运输的经济意义重新得以显现。
By the second half of nineteenth Century, a railway tray with an active framework was developed in Lancashire, England, used to transport cotton and cotton, commonly known as the "Lancashire Flat", which is considered to be the embryonic form of the container. In the early twentieth Century, a relatively simple container was first appeared in the British railway transportation. It tried to pack the furniture in a wooden box, transport it with a railway flat car, then transfer the box to the road transport vehicle with a crane after arriving, and then carry the goods to the destination. This new mode of transportation has been popularized. Around 1920, the New York central railroad company and the Pennsylvania railway company introduced 9 foot long steel containers. Each railway wagon can be loaded with 6 containers, each carrying a weight of 5 tons. With these containers, the efficiency of railway transportation is greatly improved while the cost is greatly reduced. This way was passed to Germany and France in the future. In 1928, at the "world highway conference" held in Rome, Italy, the problem of using containers in international traffic and transportation was discussed. Two years later, the International Container Association (Bureau International Des Containers, BIC), an international container transport organization, was set up in Paris, France, to study the standardization of containers in order to coordinate the container transport between countries. In order to further improve the efficiency of railway container transport, the European "International Union of Railway (UIC)" established the standard of railway container in 1933, and used a unified container in the railway transportation in Europe. In the next more than 10 years, because of the rapid development of the highway relative to the railway, the cooperation of the two sides of the highway and railway is not coordinated, which makes the superiority of the container transportation not very good, and the container transportation has been stagnant. Until 1955, the American Railway Company loaded the container along with the trailer on the railway flat car, which combined the low cost and high speed advantages of the railway with the characteristics of the "door to door" of the highway, so the economic significance of the container transportation was reappeared.