Shipping goods around the world, or at least what was long known as the 'civilized world', is a practice that was carried out as far back as the time of the Phoenician and Greek empires, if not further.
Indeed the term 'shipping' that is used for moving the goods themselves, can quite obviously be traced back to the practice of moving them over water. For more information about shipping containers sizes, you can check out via the web.
If we go even further back in time, we are sure to find the first instance of the use of a container, unfortunately, I am unable to provide an exact, or even approximate date for this.
Whether the goods were shipped and handled in pots, nets, crates, or in modern day containers, the principle has always been the same. Move the goods from A to B with a minimum of spoilage cost and do it as quickly and efficiently as is possible.
And so we find ourselves, around three thousand years later, still using very similar techniques for shipping goods around the world.
Ships have changed, of course, gone are the wooden, wind and sail powered boats and so are the original containers that held the goods they transported.
In the modern world of huge, in some cases three hundred and sixty meters long, diesel powered container ships, huge gantry cranes and side loaders, non-bulk goods are widely transported in large, intermodal containers.