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The Economist on the wonders of containerisation. While politicians might like to take the credit for opening up markets through bilateral agreements, new research has shown that introducing containers to routes that were previously the preserve of general cargo operations has a far more galvanising effect on trade numbers, despite the fact that container shipping freight rates – bar the current madness on Asia-Europe – are at much the same level as pre-container rates. No, it is huge efficiency improvements that containers made possible that has been the real game-changer.