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 of dollars while also improving safety for terminals and shipping lines.
The shipping container has revolutionized 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 $15-20 billion a year – up to 8 percent of a shipping line’s operating costs – according to Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
“Moving relatively light empty boxes, which represent over 20 percent 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 of 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.
With bigger vessels up to 20,000 TEU and higher container throughput up 75 percent since 2005, peaks of activity are putting terminals under increasing pressure worldwide with new port handling systems required to match the demands of vessel size and the efficiency boosting alliances that have been made by the shipping lines.
Martin Clive-Smith, CEO of BCS, said, “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.”