Four of the first fully ISO and CSC certified foldable containers arrived in the port of Rotterdam last month. These 4FOLD 40ft HC foldable containers can reduce the cost and environmental impact of shipping empty containers.
The idea of a foldable shipping container has been around for a number of years. With CARU Containers, European market leader in sales, leasing and renting containers, taking a share in [Holland Container Innovations HCI, the 4FOLD 40ft HC foldable container has gone from concept to realization. Rob Tromp, managing director at CARU shares his view on the foldable container.
Where do you see chances for this foldable container?
“There is a lot to gain both economically and environmentally with these containers. Four folded containers, take up as much space as one regular container when stacked. This means you would only need one truck to return four empty containers. The foldable container’s potential lies in routes where large stretches of land need to be covered by truck. This expensive way of transport makes for the biggest impact. Once unfolded, the 4FOLD is practically the same as a normal shipping container and can be used for any type of load. It is the only foldable container that is fully ISO and CSC certified.
CARU bought the first four containers. Are they already in use?
“They are in a trial with one of the worlds biggest shipping companies, CMA CGM. During this trial we will be testing whether everything works the way it is supposed to. Once we are done testing and we are happy with the results, 4FOLD will be taken to the market. CARU is the preferred supplier.”
What impact would the foldable container have on the container branch?
“I don’t believe that they will replace traditional containers, but I do think the foldable container will be widely used. They aren’t even on the market yet, but we are already getting inquiries. People are curious. And I think the fact that such a big shipping company as CMA is involved in the trial, says something about the industries attitude towards the foldable container.”
In the port of Rotterdam there are a number of initiatives to reduce the shipment of empty containers. It is estimated that 25 per cent of all containers shipped by road, rail or inland shipping are empty. In November the online platform InlandLinks.eu came up with the empty depot tool, which shows, per shipping line, at what inland locations empty containers can be picked up or dropped off. The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) introduced an e-tool in Rotterdam to re-use empty containers for import and export transportation. Combining these tools with the foldable container could further reduce the unnecessary shipment of air.
Managing director - CARU Containers