Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Logistics Firms Invest in High Cube Containers for Better Freight Returns

Intermodal Changes Prompt New Investments and Designs
Shipping News Feature

US – WORLDWIDE - High cube containers are the new black according to many of the intermodal companies as the logistics sector embraces the chance to fit in more freight per box now that rail routes worldwide are being improved and enlarged and the technology to construct the cargo carriers’ advances.

Specifications for the new containers varies from market to market but the latest addition to the Crowley Maritime Corporation’s fleet of over 45,000 boxes is a parcel of 500 new 40-foot, high-cube containers each of which have a capacity of 2,700 cubic feet to compliment their recent acquisition of 75 car racks (45 feet long and eight feet wide by 9 feet, six inches high) plus 222 40-foot high-cube reefers in preparation for the peak perishables season in Central America.

Since 2003, Crowley has invested nearly $240 million to modernize and grow its intermodal equipment fleet and the new containers, which contain more durable North American oak wood flooring, exceed all new and amended ISO standards for freight container door security applications. A combination of security enhancements and upgrades deters and prevents unauthorized access into containers and loaded cargo. John Hourihan, Crowley's senior vice president and general manager of Latin America services commented:

"The addition of these new containers, along with other equipment of various sizes and types last year represents an investment of more than $23 million. I know our customers appreciate this type of commitment."

In the UK the high gauge capability now available to shippers at Southampton via the rail network is held responsible for increasing container throughput by 10% and Direct Rail Services adoption at Teesport of the WH Davis built ‘Superlow 45’ rail wagons has meant high cube units can be shipped in and out of the region.

Shipbuilders are adopting the practice of quoting the container capacity of new builds in terms of high cube units. Sales material for the new ‘Bangkokmax’ vessel design from Knud E. Hansen and ABB places great emphasis on the ships ability to carry 2000 TEU high cube boxes using the equation of extra space to illustrate the advertised up to 25% savings in fuel over similar feeder vessels.

Don’t be confused however, specifications vary and though the standard accepted size for a high cube shipping container is one having an external height of 9’6” (internally around 8’9”) prospective purchasers should ensure that all ISO standards are met and the boxes suitable for the use, and routes, proposed for them.

Photo: The new ‘Bangkokmax’ feeder vessel design.