Shipping Container: Making the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger
“The advantage is clear for the shipper, who benefits from the flexibility of their commodity being moved in smaller shipment sizes allowing them to quickly reach many different locations”.
Vincent Clerc, chief trade and marketing officer at Maersk Line
Intermodal transportation made the international trade routes open for goods manufacturers and traders from all over the world. The driver of intermodal transportation has undoubtedly been the container, which permits easy handling between modal systems. The usage of containers eliminated time-consuming and costly transshipment, cutting the transportation costs in several times. Literally, globalization could not have taken its current form without containerization.
The most important feature of container shipping is that service is provided with one bill of freight only. This service is offered by one-stop-shop logistics providers in a more efficient way as opposed to dealing with several intermediaries. Thus customers can ship their products from door to door, without having to concern themselves of modal barriers. Furthermore intermodality has enhanced the total efficiency of global supply chain by using the modes in the most productive manner and getting multiplying effect of several transportation networks integration. Long distance transportation benefited the most from intermodality: the longer the rout the more efficient the intermodal transport chain is for cargo transportation.
Nowadays international seaborne trade volume handled in containers accounts for more than 1,5 mln metric tons of cargoes and has the highest growth rates among other means of packaging. During the last 5 years the volume of tones loaded in containers has grown by 45 %. As the progress moves forwards, flexitank technology allows to turn the standard container into safe and cost-efficient means of bulk liquid cargoes transportation through the same intermodal chain:
Unified operations around the globe – container dimensions follow ISO standard thus can be manipulated anywhere in the world.
Product diversification – different flexitank specifications make it applicable for the wide range of products – from base oils and non-hazardous chemical liquids to wine, edible oils and frozen concentrates.
Fewer management efforts – as a unit containers has a unique identification number. Computerized management enables to assign containers according to the priority, the destination and the available transport capacities.
Secure door-to-door delivery – with no transhipment operations needed container with flexitank preserves the quality of product inside at the initial level. The contents of the container are anonymous to outsiders as it can only be opened at the origin, at customs and at the destination.
Faster transportation process – with less time in ports, containerships can spend more time at sea and they are on average 35% faster than bulk vessels. Transportation in containers can significantly reduce the travel time.