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An   important   aspect   affecting   the   performance   of   the   foldable container   is   its   application. This not only determines the cost-effectiveness of the container, but also makes demands on the arrangement and organisation of the logistic chain. On the basis of the number of links in the logistic chain in which containers are used in the folded state, the following logistic basic concepts can be distinguished (see also figure 3):

I. Port-to-port concept

–   one sea trade lane: point to point transport

–      long distances

–      over sea (deep sea)

–      transport of folded containers between two seaports (container depots)

II. Maritime worldwide concept

–    repositioning between continents: trunk routes, coarse-grained network

–    long distances

–    over sea (deep sea)

–    transport of folded containers between seaports (container depots)

III.     Maritime/continental worldwide concept

–    repositioning within and between continents: coarse-grained network

–    long and medium length distances

–    over sea (deep sea + short sea) and/or overland

–    transport   of   folded   containers   between   seaports,   between   seaports   and   container depots in the hinterland, between container depots in the hinterland

IV. Door-to-door worldwide concept

–    transport between and within continents: fine-meshed network

–    long and medium length distances

–    overland and over sea

–    transport   of   folded   containers   between   customers   and   container   depots   in   the hinterland, between container depots and seaports and between seaports.

The simplest concept is the port-to-port concept (I). The main characteristic of this concept is that   it   is   directed   towards   client   specific   solutions   for   a   specific   trade   lane.   Trades   with   a permanent imbalance make up the most important area of application. The foldable container ensures a more efficient return journey for the container. The containers are increasingly set on one and the same route (point to point transport), so that certain expertise can be built up in   the   folding   and   unfolding   of   containers.   In   connection   with   diffuse   and   relatively   thin return flows to the shipment port, the seaport is the most suitable location for joining together the empty containers (a port-to-port concept). The utilisation area has the character of a niche market;     the  transport    volumes     are  modest.    The    character    of  the  trades   is  such   that  the container   will   usually   only   be   used   for   a   restricted   category   of   products.   The   number   of parties involved in the logistic chain of the   foldable   container   can   be   quite   small   (e.g.   one shipping company, two terminals, two seaport depots).

The   maritime/worldwide concept    (II)  is  particularly  concerned  with   the   repositioning   of empty containers between continents. It is assumed that a large number of containers are used (large transport volumes) and that the containers are suitable for the transport of many sorts of products. The number of involved parties in the logistic chain of the foldable container may be quite small (e.g. shipping companies, terminals, seaport depots). The number of involved parties depends on the number of shipping companies making use of them and the number of ports used in the concept.

The maritime/continental – worldwide concept (III) is one where further optimisation of the repositioning is contemplated, because the movement of empty containers within continents is   also   included.   As   a   result,   the   number   of   involved   parties   in   the   logistic   chain   of   the foldable container becomes large (e.g. shipping companies, terminals, seaport depots, inland operators and inland depots). Such a concept also assumes that a large number of containers will be used (large transport volumes) and that the containers are suitable for the transport of many sorts of products.

The door-to-door-concept (IV) assumes that, wherever convenient, empty containers will be transported in the folded state. The containers can be assembled and disassembled anywhere and so in principle will therefore be used worldwide, even though this concept can also be used as an extension of the port-to-port concept.   The   number   of   containers   in   this   concept need not necessarily be large, any more than the requirement of suitability for many sorts of products has to be met. The number of involved parties in the logistic chain of the foldable container   is   actually  very  large   (e.g.   shipping   companies,   terminals,   seaport   depots,   inland operators, inland depots and shippers/receivers of goods).

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