Kalmar's futuristic container vision

Bright outlook: Does the future look technicolour for the humble shipping container? Bright outlook: Does the future look technicolour for the humble shipping container?

Kalmar is considering futuristic scenarios where a container is more than just a container, it’s an experience that can generate plenty of revenue for logistics players.

In the latest post to its Insights blog, Kalmar talks about the way we currently view containers as simple boxes that all look alike with no additional value beyond physically conveying things from A to B.

But what if, in the future, it says, premium sports cars can be transported in beautifully designed transparent containers that announced to everyone that this shipment was really something special?

This could provide a superior experience compared to hiding the car in a traditional container which manufacturers could sell to support their brand image, tactics which consumer electronics companies such as Apple already use.

Kalmar also discusses the possibility of shipping containers incorporating display technology, for example, the use of digital paint that could enable container colour and/or surface images to be changed.

This could turn a nondescript steel box into a smart surface that could advertise the products being transported.

“If containers became a form of prime real estate for advertising, subject to the same competitive supply and demand mechanisms as web advertising, it might turn out that the real profit in container logistics was not in the actual shipping of the container at all,” the blog said.

In addition to the obvious commercial applications, Kalmar said this could open up fascinating possibilities for urban design, increasing the transparency of operations and the kind of value the port generates for its community.

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