Monday, January 11, 2010
Composite cargo shipping containers have always been seen as a no-brainier. They are lighter weight, they are well insulated, and they are non-corrosive. Above is a video of a new composite cargo shipping container manufactured by a Dutch company. (Skip to 1min mark). This container is collapsible, which is an additional advantage.
Other not so obvious advantages of using composite materials in a shipping container include:
- Transparency, x-ray and other scanning equipment can be used by Homeland Security to inspect as ports.
- Tracking, RFID and GPS tracking systems can be easily embedded in the skins.
- Floating, surprisingly many see-land containers fall off cargo ships in rough conditions and during loading/unloading at port. Supposedly, current containers have a neutral buoyancy and float out of view just under the surface; which is a serious hazard to boats. A composite container would float and allow for easy retrieval.
The major downside to composite shipping containers is their initial costs. This particular container is said to be 3 times more expensive then a steel container. Cost justification with a tangible savings/payback needs to be evident for wide adoption. Additionally, I believe manufactures need to have a well planned end of life solution. Undoubtedly these containers will be damaged beyond repair, and a recyclable solution is needed. Current steel containers are scrapped easily for recycling, and composite containers would need the same.
Composite Shipping Container