Shipping containers is currently the most productive way because it can be sent in massive quantities to their destination. Companies are forced to use the shipping lanes because the amount of materials being shipped is far more expensive than other means of transportation. Until they can figure out a way to fly mass quantities, cheaper, the shipping container industry will stay put.
Anyone who drives down a highway in the US has been trapped by the huge numbers of trucks that clog up highways. The amount of fossil fuels consumed each year just to keep up our shipping infrastructure is impossible to imagine. We have to get this under control. Shipping containers that are shipped on barges are a better option. It's more efficient that way.
I believe it is time that we start banning ship commerce. The cost associate with shipping containers and getting the product to its located is ridiculous. Ships need to bring these products to their destination and than return to its previous destination. What a tremendous waste of resource. There needs to be a new system put into place.
I live near a major port and the sheer number of shipping containers that are piled up on the docks, sitting for months, indicates that the system is flawed. Goods are too easy to lose, contraband is too easy to smuggle and it is a system designed to generate waste products and ineffeciency.