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Page last updated at 17:05 GMT, Monday, 3 November 2008

Students lift the lid on The Box

School Reporters visit The BBC Box
What's in The Box?
Oliver, Bernie, Luke and Shannon, aged 13
School Reporters
Park Community School, Havant

This year, the BBC is following the journey of a 40-foot container all around the world.

We travelled to Southampton docks to find out why tracking - what is essentially a big metal box - is so exciting. And why we had to have big feet in order to do it!

All our customers would say their cargo is the most important, but for yourselves I think the most important cargo is Christmas presents
Ian Aitchison, General Project Manager, NYK shipping line

Arriving at the docks, we were amazed at how large everything was, particularly the massive container transporters where the driver sits to the side.

Feeling slightly nervous, we tip-toed into reception only to be told that to go any further we would have to be searched.

Top gear

We all survived, but just as we started to relax, out came some giant steel-capped boots, reflective jackets and unfashionable hard hats for us to put on.

And here was the answer to one of our questions; the boots only came in three sizes - big, bigger and even bigger than that.

The Box was exactly as we expected it to be; big, red and full of whisky. The added addition of the BBC logo meant that we could not miss it.

School Reporters visit The BBC Box
The shipping line chief reaveals a container's most precious goods
The main surprise was how noisy everything was, as vehicles in the background loaded a ship.

We discovered that The Box was soon to be on its way to Shanghai in China, where lots of whisky from Scotland is imported.

We interviewed Ian Aitchison, the General Project Manager for NYK, the shipping line, and asked him about the docks and The BBC Box.

Curious cargo

He told us about the most unusual things carried in the containers; from the canoes for the Beijing Olympics to vintage Bentleys.

We also asked him about the most important cargo carried in the containers. He said "All our customers would say their cargo is the most important, but for yourselves I think the most important cargo is Christmas presents."

School Reporters visit The BBC Box
School Reporters take in the scale of the docks
He told us that the containers, which last up to 10 years depending on how they are handled, are eco-friendly, compared to train and lorry transport.

Mr Aitchison compared carbon emissions generated by different means of transport. He said: "For a ton of cargo that goes by sea, it is about 12 grams of carbon per mile. If you take it by air it's about 532 grams."

We look forward to tracking The Box as it travels round the world.



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