The size and volume of containers make it possible to hide munitions, drugs, stowaways, explosive materials.
A "standard" shipping container is 8 feet wide, 8.5 feet high and 20 feet long.
It can hold as much as 19 tons of soft and hard goods.
Only about 2% of the containers that move through a port get screened. In Oakland, gamma ray scanners are used to boost that to 10%.
For an infographic on the rapid flow of vessels in to the port of Oakland, please download this PDF.
Senior Writer Elizabeth has been writing and reporting at Baselinesince its inaugural issue. Most recently, Liz helped Fortune 500 companies with their online strategies as a customer experience analyst at Creative Good. Prior to that, she worked in the organization practice at McKinsey & Co. She holds a B.A. from Vassar College.