The auto transport industry, or car shipping, as it is also called, has been largely successful for decades, but it wasn’t always, and the process was less efficient. The “industry” had a hard time starting up because of the lack of vehicle technology that can transport several cars at once and make the loading and unloading portion of transporting easier.
The process all started in the last 1890s. The first semi-truck was invented in 1898 by a man named Alexander Winton. Winton first invented cars, but he had customers that lived in farther away states from his home (Ohio) and needed a good way to deliver their vehicles.
Winton soon discovered that he can load cars onto a flat cart, attached on top of the engine and to the back of a modified truck, and he called his invention the semi-truck. This was a great start and Winton’s semi-truck were also used to transport food, but the main flaw of this design is that you can only transport one car and it takes three people to get the car on and off from it. This is where entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to make money and make the auto transport industry grow.
George Cassens came onto the scene and came up with the idea of having a trailer that can transport 4 vehicles pulled by a 2-ton truck. This was the first “BOOM” for the auto transport company and came in during the early 1920s. The spike evened out more along the next two decades and hit another BOOM in the 40s and 50s. Volkswagen worked with German railroads to create two level flatcars and transport vehicles via trains. This was highly successful for a time but was in main concentration in Europe and Canada with a couple of routes in North America. This became unpopular because more effective and efficient ways to transport vehicles to almost anywhere.
Air and Sea
Before we get to the modern auto transport industry, there are still more ways that people expanded the process. At the same time as transporting your vehicle by train, you could transport your car by airplane and cargo boat (you can still do that now). When you ship by airplane, you mainly want to transport your car across seas faster and to a country that is not near a port. You will see a lot more cargo ships transporting cars because they have space to carry more vehicles and many auto transport companies use cargo ships to transport to Hawaii.
The Auto Transport Industry Now
Now we are in the present. The 1980s are the time that the auto transport company really expanded and the iconic carrier we have today have not really changed in style, but their technology has greatly improved. There are now more carriers available such as open carriers, enclosed carriers, flatbeds to transport materials and certain specialized vehicles, and even expedite carriers to get your vehicle to you faster. There are now ramps and elevators that can make loading and unloading vehicles faster than ever.