Empty container system to save industry $1.5bn

18 May 2017
BLOK-Container Systems

BCS' technology uses the same principles as the lifting of a six pack of beer cans

A new container system which treats lifting four or six empty containers as a single block is expected to save the industry more than US$1.5bn.

UK-owned BLOK-Container Systems (BCS) says its technology, which uses the same principles as the lifting of a six pack of beer cans, will save money, speed up vessel turnaround, ease congestion and improve safety for terminals and shipping lines.

“Moving relatively light empty boxes, which represent over 20 per cent of total in port container moves often one by one with powerful cranes and vehicles is incredibly inefficient,” said Selwyn Rowley, marketing director of BCS.

BCS’ container system is designed to be linked with BLOK-Locks and specially developed BLOK Spreaders and Trailers, which, Mr Rowley says, will speed up the container handling process from start to finish, using existing cranes and terminal infrastructure.

The handling of empty containers is a continuing problem, said BCS, and repositioning empty containers costs the shipping industry $15-$20bn a year – up to 8% of a shipping line’s operating costs – according to Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

BSC stressed that terminals under increasing pressure worldwide, with bigger vessels up to 20,000 teu and higher container throughout up 75% since 2005. The company said that new port handling systems are required to match the demands of vessel size and the efficiency boosting alliances that have been made by the shipping lines. 

Martin Clive-Smith, chief executive of BCS, said: “This is a rare project in which the whole industry will benefit from improved safety and commerce, with minimal changes in infrastructure and practices required.”