Entrepreneur Malcolm McLean, frustrated with the snail-like swiftness of cargo handling he witnessed when he first got into trucking in the 1930s, invented the shipping container in 1956. Little did he know back then that he would wind up changing the whole world.
Today the biggest maker of chassis (the plural is spelled the same as the singular, but pronounced chass-eez), the trailers that handle the over-the-road portion of container intermodal shipping, is working on more modest but still dramatic changes. CIE Manufacturing, Inc. (formerly CIMC Intermodal Equipment), headquartered in South Gate, California, has already revolutionized the business by introducing laser cutting, robotic welding, and powder coating to their manufacturing processes. For years they’ve been steadily working to improve the quality of the chassis they make. Their latest move, started in the fourth quarter of 2019, was to relocate their manufacturing from China to the U.S. by creating full manufacturing capabilities in both their South Gate facility as well as on the east coast in Emporia, Virginia, a move that will target faster product delivery.
The share holder of CIE Manufacturing is CIMC Vehicles Group (CIMC) (HK1839). Headquartered in Shenzhen, China, it’s the world’s largest container box and trailer manufacturer. Its 2018 revenue was nearly $13.5 billion, and its market capitalization is just over $4.5 billion. CIMC’s manufacturing operations span 17 different countries, and the company employs over 51,000 people across the world.