Accordion-Style Containers in the Future: What Are They and What Are The Possible Benefits?
Accordion style containers are relatively new, as Staxxon has produced the first environmentally friendly, 100 percent interchangeable folding shipping containers.
Being in the industry you know that empty shipping containers have been increasingly shipped overseas and have continued to take up space at ports and distribution centers. With using accordion style containers, you would save more time, fuel and money.
Staxxon hopes to get these folding containers on the market for purchase by the end of 2023.
What Are Accordion-Style Containers?
These style of containers fold vertically, which is important to note as most collapsible containers fold horizontally – something many shippers are not fond of due to bad experiences. Horizontally collapsible containers are also more of a hassle due to cranes or other heavy equipment having to be used to lift the roof up and expand the collapsed container into its fully shape, Freight Waves says.
The folding and unfolding process:
When using automation, the folding and unfolding process can take less than three minutes per fold. By using the automation process, bottlenecks can be avoided as well. The ultimate goal for this is to get a set of five containers folded and bundled together in less than 15 minutes.
When folding manually, the folding and unfolding process can take around ten minutes when two workers use a forklift or basic equipment. This can even be done with ratchet straps and additional crew members. This is for ports or distribution centers with little equipment, but something to keep in mind is the less equipment you have, the longer the process will take.
Something important to note is since the ports are already so congested, the most ideal place for folding and unfolding these containers would be at an inland distribution center, instead of the terminals, Freight Waves reports. By doing that, it also preserves some of the economic and environmental benefits with not having to pay for as many gate fees and using less trucks to transport the containers into or out of the ports.
Are There Any Benefits?
The potential benefits with using accordion style containers are endless. One of the benefits is the ability for the folding containers to “stack on” each other just like a conventional shipping container, says Freight Waves. They are unable to be stacked super high as they move around while being transported, which can take away some of the economic benefits.
Another benefit is with fewer truck movements and fewer lift movements at the ports, carbon emissions could decrease by 63 million metric tons annually, based on Staxxon’s calculations on their website – Freight Waves reports. In addition, an estimated 200 million metric tons of emissions from ocean vessels annually, have the potential to be avoided, Chief Strategy Officer Santtu Seppala told Freight Waves. The company is planning on initiating trials which will provide the company with accurate emissions-saving data associated with the transporting different-sized bundles of folding containers.
Lastly, these containers will allow two to five empty containers to be folded and bundled together in an ISO equivalent set. This is important because having the ability to ship two to five containers in essentially one container would certainly speed up the process of getting empty containers to their necessary destinations.
While these accordion style containers are not available yet, Staxxon is optimistic to get these on the market by 2023, ideally sooner than that though. These style of containers definitely have the potential to be a game changer in the industry. Especially when it comes to the economic and environmental benefits, in addition to improving the process of getting empty containers to where they need to be – something that has been a continued issue in the industry.
If you would like more information regarding this topic, contact our team at InterlogUSA and we will be happy to assist you on any questions or comments you may have! In addition, we have our weekly market updates that can provide you with relevant freight news, updates, developments across the industry, and more.