Archives For Shipping container

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A new collapsible 20ft container, which is currently in development, promises to save operators both money and space both at the terminal and in the supply chain, according to Port Strategy.

Navlandis’s ZBox claims to be able to take the place of empty containers, which take up around 25% of sea traffic, slashing both logistics and transportation costs.

This is because five folded units can fit into the space occupied by a current standard container potentially reducing operating costs by up to 50% and CO emissions by up to 20%.

This container has the same strength as conventional containers. In addition, it can be handled with the same machinery at all freight ports and with minimum human resources, which will make operating costs much more competitive.

The technology is still at prototype stage but reportedly has the backing of the Port of Valencia. Navlandis said that a good number of shipping companies have shown interest too.

Navlandis said that the 20-foot container complies with all ISO and CSC certifications, ensuring all loading, resistance and watertightness requirements of the logistics industry, with the same dimensions as a standard container. In addition, it is manufactured with the same parts as the standards require. Source: Port Strategy

APM Terminals 2The Maersk-owned company APM Terminals has revealed it is investing about 14 billion kroner (US$2 billion dollars) into a new port in Bagadry, Nigeria, in what will be its biggest ever investment. The port will become the second-largest port in Africa – only surpassed by Port Said in Egypt – and is a clear signal that the Danish shipping giant’s terminal operator sees the African continent as a long-term hotbed for economic growth.

“We are currently purchasing property from the state and will start construction later this year. The port is scheduled to be completed in 2019,” David Skov, the managing director for APM Terminals in Nigeria, told Børsen business newspaper.

“Globally, it will be APM Terminal’s largest ever investment and marks a strategic shift to multi ports. It means we will supplement our own experience in container ports with the establishment of a free zone, an oil port and a bulk port, so in other words a complete port.”

APMT recently acted on its decision to invest $1.5 billion on the Port of Tema in Ghana, Africa, with the establishment of a Greenfield port outside of the existing facility and upgrades to the adjacent road network.

Vietnam Custom ivory seizureCustoms officers in central Vietnam have seized a tonne of ivory and four tonnes of the scaly hide of the pangolin, according to authorities today.

Officials found the contraband on Tuesday inside a shipping container labelled as carrying red beans from Malaysia that arrived at the central port city of Da Nang on Aug 10.

“This is the largest amount of ivory and pangolin smuggling we have discovered in Da Nang,” Dang Van Toan, the port’s head of customs, told the German Press Agency.

The pangolin is an endangered type of armoured anteater found in parts of Asia and Africa. The flesh is sold as an exclusive, but illegal, meat, and the hide is used for traditional medicine and fashion.

The weight of the hides found this week corresponds to around 4,000 individuals, Le Xuan Canh, former head of the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, told DPA. Tuesday’s haul brings to nearly eight tonnes the total of tusks, horns and hide from endangered species impounded over the past two weeks in Da Nang.

Last Friday the port’s customs officers seized more than two tonnes of elephant tusks. Eight days earlier they confiscated nearly a tonne of elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns, authorities said.

The three shipments were posted to two local companies, which have denied any knowledge of the smuggling, said Pham Van Thieng, deputy head of the central region’s anti-smuggling team.

Trafficking of endangered species and their parts violates international law. Like elephant ivory and rhino horn, pangolin is considered a sign of status among some of Vietnam’s wealthy elite.

A revolutionary new container design is set to change the economics of shipping palletised cargo, allowing cargo owners and consolidators to increase significantly the volume of cargo shipped at any one time.

A revolutionary new container design is set to change the economics of shipping palletised cargo, allowing cargo owners and consolidators to increase significantly the volume of cargo shipped at any one time.

Maritime-Executive.com recently featured the following article. UK-based container design company Container Group Technology (CGT) Ltd has announce the availability of the 20-20 SeaCell Container. From the outside the patented ‘20-20’ looks little different from a conventional ISO 20ft shipping container. However, subtle innovations on the outside and inside of the container enable the unit to provide for 36% greater pallet space.

In practical terms, this means that for each tier, 15 Euro-pallets (1200mm x 800mm) can be loaded into the container instead just 11 Euro-pallets in a standard ISO 20ft dry container. With standard ISO pallets (1200mm x 1000mm), the 20-20 can load 12 units, two more than in a conventional 20ft container (see graphic).

And by using 100% of the floor area, pallets fit snugly together inside the container making the 20-20 ideal for using lightweight slip-sheets or paper pallets, thereby reducing costs and increasing useable volume and payload at the same time.

The 20-20 SeaCell Container achieves this feat by being exactly 20ft (6096mm) in length and 2426mm wide internally. Standard 20ft containers are, in fact, 19ft 10½ ins (6058mm) long x 7ft 7¾ ins (2330mm) wide internally. Thus the internal length of the 20-20 allows it to accommodate the additional four Euro-pallets or two ISO pallets per tier. The door opening width is 2408mm which allows fork-lift trucks to load pallets two or three at a time.

However, the innovation does not stop there. Two 20-20 containers can be easily locked together from the outside with no special tools to make a 40ft container, but again with significantly greater internal volume than standard. Two 20-20 containers will carry six more pallets than one standard 40ft container. It is also possible to mix Euro & Standard pallets in the same 20-20 and still have 100% pallet utilisation.

The 20-20 is fitted with larger corner castings of the type typically used in flat rack containers, enabling them to be lifted by standard 20ft or 40ft spreaders, loaded singly or as a pair into a container ship’s 40ft cells or onto any current road chassis and rail wagon.

An integral locking mechanism in the corner casting is activated from the outside of the container. In just a few minutes, the two 20-20 containers can be securely locked together and lifted as a single ‘40ft’ unit. In the standard configuration, two 20-20s are joined at the front ends, i.e., with the doors accessible at each end of the combined containers. However, if requested CGT can also position the locking mechanism at the door-end corner castings so that the two 20-20 units are effectively sealed until reaching their final destination. This is an important feature for high value or sensitive cargoes.

Lifting two 20ft containers together has been made possible in the past decade by innovations in container lifting technology, and it has become increasingly popular with shipping lines and container port terminals as a way of loading and discharging ships faster and more efficiently.

However, it is only now, with the introduction of the 20-20 SeaCell Container, that the ability to lock and lift two 20ft containers and handle them as a single 34 ton maximum gross weight (MGW) unit has been made possible. The benefits of this innovation are numerous, including:

  • It can significantly reduce ship loading times and the time needed to lash containers on deck.
  • Estimates suggest it could reduce handling and transportation costs by 25% to 35%.
  • The fact that 20-20 containers can be linked or unlinked at any stage of the logistics’ chain should also reduce the need for empty repositioning, thereby optimising each container’s usage.

Prototypes of the 20-20 container have been built and fully tested in China, and the new design is being made available for sale or lease.

Artistic impression of the Club K Missile System

Artistic impression of the Club K Missile System

Critical Logistics, an informative blog, reported an interesting if not disturbing article on the development of a new weapon’s system which uses the ubiquity of shipping containers as it is housed in a 40-footer. It is known as the Club-K Container Missile System.

An article by concerned commentator, Lajos F. Szaszdi, (The Heritage Network) raises several valid concerns in his article “The Club-K: A Deadly “Pandora’s Box” of Cruise Missiles”, which are summarised in the following paragraphs.

[…] Fittingly, the marketing name given to the system is “Pandora’s Box.” The container-looking weapon system can be fired from a container ship, a train cart, or a container truck. By appearing externally as a simple container, the Club-K can be positioned covertly, ready to unleash a surprise attack, probably firing simultaneously from more than one container.

[…] Container ships carrying the Club-K system could be used to attack commercial shipping, particularly in choke points like the Straits of Hormuz and Malacca. These container ships would be acting like Germany’s auxiliary cruisers of the First and Second World Wars, which were armed merchant ships used for commerce raiding. Cargo ships armed with the Club-K could be equipped with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to provide airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR).

Even though use by Hezbollah is a possibility, the greatest potential threat could come from China, which reportedly was already interested in acquiring Club missiles for its submarines of the Type 041 Yuan class, the nuclear-powered Type 093 Shang class, and Russian-made Kilo class subs. China could load container ships with land-attack missiles, with E-Bombs for a surprise attack against Taiwan, and armed with nuclear warheads and E-Bombs to strike the port facilities used by the U.S. Navy in Singapore, the U.S. West Coast, the Panama Canal, etc. Chinese missiles could be launched from container trucks sent secretly to Mexico mixed with legitimate containers. India, another customer of the SS-N-27, could use the Club-K system against Pakistan or China as a first or second strike weapon. Iran could be another customer for the Club-K, once U.N. sanctions are lifted.

The Club-K is a highly destabilizing weapon system. Due to the nature of international trade, with millions of containers being shipped worldwide, transported by train and particularly by trucks, it would be very hard to detect, and an attack could happen at any time on any day without warning. The military and intelligence services of the U.S. and its allies must keep a close watch on this Pandora’s Box, to make sure it will never be opened in anger against them.

A promotional video of the system by (oddly named) manufacturer Concern Agat appears below. http://

For more details on the system visit their website – http://www.concern-agat.com/products/defense-products/81-concern-agat/189-club-k

The fluid transition from sea to land

The fluid transition from sea to land

Here’s an interesting view on containers, presented by Alex Colas from Birkbeck University, USA. Colas highlights that containers have been fundamental drivers of global processes and have had an unprecedented effect on logistics and labour organisations. Moreover Colas demonstrates that containers as well as being transformative objects in themselves, have also transformed the way in which circulatory barriers have been overcome through seamless transitions from water to land. Containers are a worthy protagonist of material analysis in international systems and there is much room in academic discourse for the full story of the container to unfold. Herewith the link to the article Thinking Inside the Box, available on the blog – Geopolitics & Security.

container-trackingThe US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Internet search giant Google a patent on a system for securing, monitoring and tracking containers. According to United States Patent 8284045, it describes a two-way communication system, supported by an electronic bolt seal, a network gateway, a web-based platform, and a mobile device, that allows containers to be networked for the transfer of data. Shipping containers are networked for transferring data between the shipping containers. The shipping containers include sensors for detecting conditions associated with the shipping containers. The conditions sensed by any shipping container whether transported by rail or ship is transmitted from an ad hoc network, via a gateway configured for satellite or cellular communications for example, to a container-tracking application server or equivalent computer system. The computer system is remotely located to the shipping container for central compilation, analysis, and/or display of data regarding the shipping containers.

The system describes an environmental sensor that can travel with a product within a carrier’s logistics network. The environmental sensor being configured to sense an environmental condition capable of affecting the product to generate product environment data. The system includes a scanner configured to read product environment data from the environmental sensor. The system also includes a hub control unit configured to communicate with the scanner and receive the product environment data from the scanner and determines whether the product environment data transcends a limit of exposure of the product to an environmental condition. The hub control unit is also configured to generate a transporting instruction to redirect transport of the product to an alternate destination different from its original destination if the hub control unit determines that the product environment data indicates the environmental condition of the product has transcended the limit of exposure. What a mouthful! I dare say that there are people out there that can decipher the patent content and relate to its various diagrams. If you are interested in this topic, please visit the following link – http://www.archpatent.com/patents/8284045. Also visit the Patent Buddy for similar information. Hopefully as the business case for this patent unfolds things may become a bit more clearer – and perhaps a little sinister too for some!