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At Navlandis, we have been hearing from some companies in the logistic sector that the transport of empty containers is not a problem… But it really is, and the covid-19 pandemic we are currently living has emphasized it.

Empty container repositioning can be minimized in several ways, but it is not possible to avoid it totally due to the imbalance between import and export streams.

During the pandemic restrictions, operators of the logistic business concentrated more on the full leg of their transports and less on the empty leg. According to MasContainer, Nico Hecker, director of global container logistics for Hapag-Lloyd, called it a «black swan» moment. And now the sector is suffering the all the consequences cited in the media(*) these days, such as:

  • Ports not accepting more containers because terminal capacity is full of empties
  • Shortage of containers in Asian countries
  • Cost increases in both container leasing services (more than 50%), freight rates (up to 240%) and pick-up fees
  • Blank sailings, that cause lack of slot availability and delays on dependent supply chains

It is now cristal clear that the empty leg and the repositioning of its containers cannot be neglected if logistic operators do not want to face serious problems. So, it is now time to search for feasible tools to tackle the transportation of empty containers in an efficient and sustainable way.

Foldable containers, such as Zbox, appear to be one of the possible solutions. Due to their capacity to be folded when empty, and to bundle many of them in the space of one (5 to 1, in the case of Zbox), they constitute an alternative which is cost-effective and efficient in terms of number of operations, space occupation, time and other resources involved.

In the case of Zbox implementation feasibility, it can travel in any slot of the ship (including bottom ones) either unfolded and loaded, or in a bundle of five folded empties, thanks to CSC and ISO 1496 certifications.

Zbox 20’ is now available for real routes implementation. Please contact Miguel Navalón at mnavalon@navlandis.com or +34 647 701 196 for information on terms and conditions.

(*) Sources:

https://www.railfreight.com/beltandroad/2020/11/09/container-shortage-and-price-increase-in-china-which-could-be-the-possible-solutions/

https://epsnews.com/2020/11/18/container-shortage-begins-to-impact-shipping/

https://www.mascontainer.com/la-escasez-de-contenedores-agita-el-comercio-mundial/

https://shippingwatch.com/carriers/Container/article12007782.ece

https://theloadstar.com/rail-operator-utlc-slashes-rates-for-carrying-empty-containers-back-to-china/

Camila Hurtado

Coordinadora de proyectos subvencionados y de marketing en Navlandis.

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