Page last updated at 02:25 GMT, Monday, 8 September 2008 03:25 UK

The Box takes off on global journey

By Jeremy Hillman
Editor, BBC business and economics centre

The Box is an ambitious and unique year-long project for BBC News to tell the story of international trade and globalisation by tracking a standard shipping container around the world.

The Box
The Box will criss-cross the world

It is a project which plans to deliver content for television, radio and online audiences - telling the individual stories behind what makes the global economy tick.

We have painted and branded a BBC container and bolted on a GPS transmitter so you can follow its progress all year round as it criss-crosses the globe. The Box will hopefully reach the US, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa and when it does BBC correspondents will be there to report on who's producing goods and who's consuming them.

Major challenge

It is a technically challenging project and things may go wrong along the way - powering the GPS transmitter and linking that to this website has been challenging. If they do, we will tell you what is happening and work to put them right. But our hope is that by the end of the year what you will see here is a unique snapshot of world trade and how it affects the lives of millions of people.

JOIN IN WITH THIS PROJECT
Send us your pictures - the Box on its travels, other containers in interesting or unusual situations, or just good shots of containers in use

We called the project The Box from a fantastic book of the same name by Marc Levinson, which tells the story of how the humble shipping container changed the face of world trade.

Lots of people have worked hard to make this idea happen and I am very grateful to the CSIS, which represents the container shipping industry and has helped hugely with the planning, and also to the shipping line NYK, which is working with us to manage the project logistics.

From the start of the voyage in Southampton this journey will be a real one and whilst we are controlling some aspects of the process for logistical reasons the story it tells will be a truly representative one painting a picture of what globalisation really means.

Free ride

Surprisingly, this project will not be costing the BBC much over and above the coverage costs for the editorial content.

Whilst we have paid a little for the branding of the box and some technical costs the fact this is a working container means it will be earning its own keep.

We are keeping our fingers crossed the Box does not fall overboard (it happens) and that it gives us a better understanding of what ties countries and continents together.


You can join in with our project by sending us your pictures - the Box on its travels, other containers in interesting or unusual situations, or just good shots of containers in use. We will show off the best on this website.

Send your pictures to yourpics@bbc.co.uk, text them to 61124 or you have a large file you can upload here.


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