Feature, Freight News, Sea

Six-pack system could keep shipping costs in trim

[ May 16, 2017   //   ]

BLOK-Container Systems (BCS) has developed a ‘six-pack’ system to lift up to half a dozen empty containers as a single load. According to the company, repositioning empty containers costs the shipping industry $15-20bn a year – up to 8 per cent of shipping line operating costs – according to Boston Consulting Group.

BCS chief executive Martin Clive-Smith, described the new system as “a rare project in which the whole industry will benefit from improved safety and commerce, with minimal changes in infrastructure and practices required.”
BCS sales and marketing director, Selwyn Rowley, added: ”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.
“Moving relatively light empty boxes, which represent over 20% of total in-port container moves  often  one by one with powerful cranes and vehicles is incredibly inefficient.”

He argued that with bigger vessels and higher container throughput up 75 per cent since 2005, peaks of activity are putting terminals under increasing pressure. He quoted Maersk chief executive, Søren Skou as saying: “On an Asia-Europe round-trip the time spent in port has increased from 12 days in 2007 to 18 days. If we can’t lift the containers off faster, the whole thing will come to a grinding halt.”