Empty container management remains as one of the most cost inefficient issues facing the shipping, rail, barge and intermodal industry today. ISO certified containers spend approximately 56% of their life expectancy unutilized due to the trade imbalance with Asia and the high cost of repositioning, all the while incurring yard storage fees in locations with limited space. Approximately 20% of all ISO containers moved worldwide are empty boxes that consume space and area on ships, trucks, trains and inland barges, and vast amounts of prime land area at ports, terminals and depots. Movements of empty containers consume millions of hours of truck, tractor, chassis and railcar capacity each year, as well as millions of tons of marine and diesel fuel.
Our 5-Fold 40’ HC and 20’ STD container products will save costs at marine terminals by reducing the number of terminal cycles (cranes, yard chassis cycles, gantry placement, stacker/reacher placements on/off road and/or off rail equipment, reduced gate transactions and congestion), reducing land area requirements and storage more efficiently and effectively; and, reducing the shuffling of boxes. Inland transport systems will also benefit by the reduction of empty movements.
Vessel operations will see value in fuel cost savings (regardless of fuel price) due to the reduction of the number of empty handles, which cuts down the time a ship is in port, allowing them to slow down by that amount while at sea (20% reduction in ship speeds from 23 to 18 knots will reduce fuel consumption by approximately 50%). Benefits from the enhancement of space allocation onboard the vessel are very viable including prioritizing containers for quick removal or for longer storage periods. Other meaningful benefits include improving the ship’s trim, ballast and stability, spreading weight for structural stress, air resistance, freeing of slots for backhaul cargo, deadweight capacity, and line of site and the reduction of ship requirements to move empty containers seasonally using additional vessel voyages. The decrease in marine and inland terminal equipment usage and reduction of empty container movement cycles of trucks, rail, inland barge and land use will have significant economic benefits. The efficiencies realized will also reduce unnecessary carbon emissions.
Over the last 25 years, containerized trade has grown at a rate greater than that of general worldwide economic growth. According to Clarkson Research Studies (“Clarkson”), worldwide containerized cargo volume increased at a compound annual growth rate (“CAGR”) of 8.8% from 1989 to 2013. Several factors drove this growth: shift in global manufacturing capacity to lower labor cost areas (Asia), the continued integration of developing high growth economies into global trade patterns and the continued conversion of cargo from bulk shipping into containers.
Based on container fleet information reported by Drewry Maritime Research, we estimate that container lessors owned approximately 15.9 million TEUs, (Twenty-Foot Equivalent”) or approximately 46% of the total worldwide container fleet of 34.4 million TEUs with the remaining majority owned by shippers, as of the end of 2013. An estimated 30% of these containers are empty at any given time which creates a market opportunity of 9 million containers that could be replaced by CCS products.