A new system which treats lifting four or six empty containers as a single block using the same principles as the lifting of a six pack of beer cans has been developed to save the industry billions while also improving safety for terminals and shipping lines.
The shipping container has revolutionised international freight transport and continues to account for a greater share of cargo moves every year but the handling of empty containers is a continuing problem.
Repositioning empty containers costs the shipping industry $20 to $27 billion (US$15 to US$20 billion) per year – up to eight per cent of a shipping line’s operating costs – according to Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
“Moving relatively light empty boxes, which represent over 20 per cent of total in-port container moves, often one by one with powerful cranes and vehicles is incredibly inefficient,” said Selwyn Rowley, Sales and Marketing Director, BLOK-Container Systems (BCS).
“By deploying BLOKs of containers linked with BLOK-Locks and specially developed BLOK Spreaders and Trailers the whole container handling system can be speeded up dramatically using existing cranes and terminal infrastructure which will save money, speed up vessel turnaround, ease congestion and make the whole operation safer on land and sea,” he added.
Martin Clive-Smith, CEO, BCS added, “This is a rare project in which the whole industry will benefit from improved safety and commerce, with minimal changes in infrastructure and practices required.”