3. One of the oldest container ships set sail from Port Newark in 1956

Ship docked at Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal
Container ship docked at Port Newark

The SS Ideal-X was the first commercially successful container ship. It from the Port of Newark to the Port of Houston, Texas, on April 26th, 1956 and was an experiment to use standardized cargo containers which would be stacked and unloaded to a compatible truck chassis. To accomplish this, trucking executive Malcolm McLean installed a special spar deck with longitudinal slots to which the bodies of 58 tractor trailers were attached.

The SS Ideal-X was originally built by the Marinship Corporation during World War II — then known as Potrero Hills — before its purchase by the Pan Atlantic Steamship Company (now named SeaLand). Beginning in 1955, modifications were made to the vessel’s structure, allowing it to carry shipping containers. Though the SS Ideal X served as one of the world’s first container ships, its run would be short-lived. After being purchased in 1959 by Bulgarian owners and given the new name Elemir, the ship suffered damage during heavy weather on February 8, 1964. As a result, it was quickly sold to Japanese breakers and scrapped entirely a few months later on October 20, 1964, in Hirao, Japan.