For the past year a shipping container marked with the BBC logo has been travelling around the world, with the aim of alerting the public to the importance of shipping within the world economy. The container was operated on a commercial basis, and its progress could be tracked on the BBC website. When it arrived back in the United Kingdom last week, a media reception gave freight industry commentators the opportunity to explain the threats facing the international shipping industry during a global economic downturn. Shipping lines have experienced a 15-20% fall in volumes during the year of the Box, whilst revenues may have fallen as much as 25 – 30%. They have responded to the adverse conditions by reducing capacity, adding more ports, and reducing the speed at which ships travel. This has meant that felxibility, availability and customer service have been reduced. Many retailers were over-stocked last year, and have been trying to reduce inventories; this may result in a shortage of popular goods for Christmas. If retailers attempt to re-stock at the last minute, they may have to use air freight, which may mean that this sector benefits from an up-turn in demand towards the end of the year.