Possible Solutions for Rationalizing Empty Container Logistics
4. Container Design
Looking at the problem from the global perspective, and considering that the repositioning of empty containers cannot be completely eliminated, the concepts being developed for collapsible or foldable containers might represent a potential solution to minimizing both regional and international movements. The potential cost savings of operating collapsible containers extends beyond the lowering of marine and surface transport costs: since several empty containers can be folded and handled in one package, incremental break-down and assembly costs can be off-set with the efficient use of space (at terminals and aboard ships) and reduced trucking, handling, and storage costs.
The idea of foldable containers is not new, several conceptual designs have been proposed and two of these are currently being introduced to the market: (a) the Six-in-One container, and (b) the Fallpac container.
I) The Six-in-One container:
The Six-in-One (SIO) container is a fully dismountable 20-ft dry container, that, once dismantled, can be folded and stacked six-high and interlocked to the exact dimensions of a standard 20-ft container (TEU: 20ft x 8ft x 8ft 6in).
The Foldable container was first introduced into the market about seventeen years ago by Six-in-One Container Co (SCC), a Swiss cooperate. Since then, the company continues to improve the feature design of SIO to improve its characters as well as to reduce manufacturing cost. To fold a container a three-person team with a forklift is required. SCC claims this process takes approximately 15 minutes and handling productivity is from four to six containers per hour.
The folding process of the Six-In-One container
II) the Fallpac container
The Fallpac container is technically quite different from the SIO. The Fallpac is a 20 ft container which combines dismountable and collapsible features. The roof of the container is...
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