Containers of 2011: smaller sizes and eco-friendly technologies
Every day more diversified in sizes, space and use, containers could not avoid the global current of ecologisation either. Therefore, starting mid-2011, the market could face the invasion of containers benefiting from a new refrigerating technology that would reduce both manufacturing costs and pollution. Containerisation is one of the few logistics axes that coped with the international crisis and, consequently, investments were resumed this year and the market seems to show the first signs of recovery. If in 2005, a report published by IBM Business Consulting Services showed that short term profits from container delivery services hit the highest levels ever and the market was growing with 8 to 10% every year, in 2009, the crisis rooted rather deep in this segment as well which knew a significant fall, both nationally and internationally.
For example, in Romania, the demand for container transport in the Black Sea ports began to fall at the end of last year. Keeping the same negative pace, the level of imports was halved in 2010 compared to last years’ figures. If in 2009, Almatrans carrier operated 40 lorries through the ports of Agigea and Constanţa, their number dropped to 18 in 2010. In addition to the company’s slimmed activities, customs operations, time-consuming, make the transport process rather difficult. Working time has to be observed, otherwise the company might lose the few customers it still has, says Viorel Stănciulescu, General Manager Almatrans. Under the circumstances, container manufacturers have tried to identify new methods of staying competitive, varying their offers and manufacturing smaller units with removable components that can be combined and transformed, if necessary, in standard-sized containers. Thus, apart from the classical sizes of 20 and 40 feet, manufacturers launched the 8 and 10 feet sizes. “To meet the demands of our customers, we manufacture this type of containers in China several times a year and we ship them empty on the European market into the group’s large deposits. The 8 and 10 feet containers are small and solid and are manufactured using traditional materials. They represent the ideal solutions for limited spaces”, the representatives of Titan Containers say. According to them, new and second-hand 20 feet containers can be converted into 8 and 10 feet containers using precast materials.
In the last part of the year, Carrier Transicold, a division of the American company United Technologies Corporation, announced the invention of the first natural refrigerating technology used for refrigerating containers, ecoseed.org informs. The new technique will facilitate and support the shipping industry transport, having, at the same time, environmentally enhanced features. The con innovators, called NaturaLINE, are based on a technology that assimilates the carbon dioxide instead of synthetic refrigerants, thus reducing the contribution of container manufacturing to global warming.
“NaturaLINE proves that technological innovation can help reduce climate change and Carrier thus carrying on its plan to bring sustainable solutions to the industry”, declared John Mandyck, Vice President of the company’s department for Environment, Sustainability and Strategies. Carrier Transicold has already begun tests on several units located in Hamburg and in 2011 the company plans to expand the programme with test transports with the new containers. Consequently, it seems that 2011 will be a year of changes on the market of container transport. However, it is still to be seen if the demand for new units will recover or if the increase in sales of second-hand containers will turn this period into a difficult one for the manufacturers who can’t afford the luxury of working without orders. However, there is no doubt that this segment evolves and seeks new methods of adjusting to the transport market variations and natural refrigerating technologies stand proof.
[ by Ionela Micu ]