The Old Standard: a Short History

Setting a new standard, you say? Why? The old standard appeared to be working just fine and has been for hundreds of years now. So, is this just change for the sake of change or is there more to this story?

We could dive into many of the past, world-changing inventions in order to point out how our lives are better because of technological advances and the new standards resulting from those innovations. Think of inventions such as the telephone, the television, computers, and cell phones just to name a few. We have learned, though, that innovation also often comes with some sort of downside. It may concern you that making a change to your shipping container might lead to unintended consequences more detrimental than the positives of making the change.

Let’s start at the beginning, and then you can decide if we really have a game-changer on our hands, or if this new idea is just bluster and smoke and mirrors.

Wood Crates

Wood crates first went into formal use as shipping containers in the 18th century – long before the invention of metal shipping containers (1956) and new manufacturing improvement concepts and challenges such as:

  • 1940’s: Kaizen/Continuous Improvement
  • 1947: ISO
  • 1970: OSHA, EPA, and 5S
  • 1980: The Motor Carrier Act of 1980 and the deregulation of the shipping industry.
  • 1988: In June of 1988, climate change became a national issue.
  • 1990: LEAN manufacturing
  • 2007: The introduction of dimensional shipping

Looking at this history, we realize that the old standard was sufficient for a very long time and a new and better shipping crate has only become a priority in recent years.

The old standard, or wood crates, addressed the obvious concerns: more affordable and easier to customize than alternatives. They’re made from readily available materials and can be built as needed in a relatively short time. Wood crates offer better mobility and protection for bulk loads, as well as stackability and better built-in unitization features. History shows that wood containers have been an optimal choice, but many of you are realizing that the old standard is just not robust enough to meet modern challenges.

Why does the Old Standard fall short in modern times?

It takes time for new ideas and concepts to flourish and to be impactful. So, what took a long time to develop? There are three important time frames to consider:

  1. Prior to 1956: Before the Metal Shipping Container
  2. 1956-1990’s: Important Changes in Legislation, standards, and process.
  3. 1990’s – Present: Major increases in all cost inputs, climate change concerns.

Prior to 1956:

The standards prior to 1956 were much simpler. Old factors like cheap floor work space and lower work safety standards offered lower operating costs to businesses. Additionally, shipping weights were not significant, and wood crates were haphazardly loaded and stacked onto ships. Labor rates were low, and there were very few, if any, environmental concerns. Asian or Indian manufacturing didn’t yet offer US businesses competition, either.

1956 to 1990’s:

Then in 1956 there was a major shift in worldwide shipping. The metal shipping container was invented and put into use. The invention of the metal shipping container now meant that items packaged in corrugated boxes could be protected from the elements without first being placed in a wood crate, reducing the need for heavy and robust wood packaging. As time moved along from 1956 into the early 1990’s, many important changes came along, especially new legislation and new standards established between 1970 and 1980. American manufacturing was in full swing now, the rest of the world was getting involved, and competition was heating up.

1990’s to The Present:

By the 1990’s, new legislation and standards were well established and the new business principles, many based on unique Japanese management concepts, were bearing fruit. We were learning how to simplify, minimize and only use exactly what is needed to accomplish the task. This is fortunate because in 2007, the shipping world finally recognized their true costs as being more than the weight of the shipment, but also the dimensional size of the shipment. This led to major rate changes that now factored dimensional weight into the cost. Along the way, a focus on better environmental stewardship became a major focal point.

Setting The New Standard: Our World Expects More Now

You would expect an improvement to come from 70 years of innovation and radical change. The metal shipping container definitely improved the shipping industry. However, it had challenges in getting the products safely to the port for export and from the receiving port to the customer – some still have these challenges today. This issue has only been solved through the continued use of wood crates.

Our radical discovery was finding that by constructing corrugated paperboard material in a very specific way, we could actually make a building product with it. The resulting paperboard product is much like wood, but without the downside of the heavy weight of being hard to handle and of the resulting decreased safety. Along with this discovery came the idea for a patented, all corrugated, standalone crate solution: Ecorrcrate®. Convenient, practical, and innovative.

So what set the new standard?

Actually, it was our customers. As we began testing, each customer reported certain factors that were important to them; although they were not the same for everyone. We compiled a list from their comments and determined there were 12 key benefits for Ecorrcrate, and our customers continue to emphasize their importance.

Ecorrcrate options are:

As Ecorrcrate gained traction, we realized that we were going to be held to a higher standard than a wood crate because we were new and unproven. We couldn’t just be “as good”, we needed to be better. A corrugated paperboard crate can perform as well or better than the wood crate that it is replacing, and have added benefits. Ecorrcrate sets the new standard because it incorporates the needs of the modern world into the solution. We are pleased to say that the result is a better shipping crate, that overall is a better experience for you and for your customer.

Our challenges that inform our standards today reflect:

  • Working floor space that is very expensive.
  • Worker safety is a high priority.
  • Shipping weights are very significant.
  • Labor rates are rising significantly and there is a shortage of workers.
  • Intense competition from Asia, India and South America.
  • Significant Environmental concerns. Demand for protecting the Environment.
  • Crates must now fit well in metal shipping containers and be made to maximize the dimensional space of the entire container.

What challenges would you add to this list? Share your challenges via Facebook or drop us a line via our contact page.


Just like other significant innovations in modern history, Ecorrcrate is setting the new standard in what to expect in your crated shipping. The bare minimum is no longer good enough. Customers are demanding a better experience but won’t pay more for it, making you the hero when you find a simple solution. And let’s face it, wouldn’t you like a better experience for you, your cohorts, and your company? The good news is Ecorrcrate is simple and is most often a very organic, easy change. Consider ordering a sample Ecorrcrate to test. We believe you will find Ecorrcrate to be your next, best crating solution.

Make the Change Today!