March 13, 2010, 1:25 pm
Filed under: packaging, Product Design, technology | Tags: ,

There’s a real logistics problem with current shipping containers. If a container crosses the Pacific loaded with Toyotas and goes back empty, that’s a huge waste of fuel. But despite their best efforts, it happens all the time. And even if they weigh different amounts, 1,000 empty containers take up the same amount of space as 1,000 full containers, meaning the ships are forced to make the same amount of trips each way.
That will change if Dutch entrepreneur Renaat Giesbers folding shipping container makes it into production. When empty, the Cargoshell can be folded flat, taking up only 25% of its original volume. Ships can carry four times as many empty containers as full. And the Cargoshell is made from composites rather than steel, which give off far less CO2 during the production process.
Here’s a video of the prototype. Non-Dutch-speakers will not be able to follow what they’re talking about, but you can fast forward to 1:20 to see the ten seconds where they unfold the thing.

via:: core77


1 Comment so far
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I definitely agree with the overall concept of collapsing or folding a container. However, there are a few key issues that need to be address. To name a few 1) Strength – You must be able to handle stacking these with other steel containers sometimes up to 20 high. Not sure if a composite box can handle that. The video looked pretty shaky. Not sure if it would pass the certification testing. 2) Retrofitable – with the millions of TEUs in place it would take decades to get enough new containers in place to make a real dent in the cost. A design that could penetrate the industry quicker will see a faster ROI. 3) Cost – a new container costs around $2K USD so the premium cannot be too high. 4) Tools required – Based on the video it requires a crane to do the folding. This may not be very practical as the shipping yards charge how often they touch it and it limits where the folding can take place.

Comment by Mark

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