20ft container (58)

Being   major   potential   operators   of   foldable  construction containers,   marketing   to   shipping   lines   and/or container lease companies seems most obvious. There is a major task for the manufacturers of foldable   containers   to   polish   the   negative   image   and   to   convince   potential   users   of   system benefits. The potential savings in transhipment and transport costs offer a substantial financial margin   for   a   container   design,   which   might   have   commercial   perspectives. However,   substantial   marketing   is   required   to   change   the   perception   of   shipping   lines   on these savings.

Another   difficult     obstinate    phenomenon       is  the  conservative     attitude   within   the   transport industry, which can be largely explained by market forces. The competition is very intense and   as   a   result   the   profit   margins   are   often   small.   This   mitigates   the   willingness   to   invest, particularly in less well-known developments.

In addition, the influence of the standard container on the arrangement of industrial processes should not be underestimated: because of scale advantages industrial processes are optimised to the physical characteristics of the 20 ft and 40 ft standard containers. This is observed at container   terminals   as   well   as   at   depots,   but   also   in   the   whole   organisation   of   transport   in which   containers   are   used.   This   reinforces   an   inertia   to   change   logistical   processes.   Under such    circumstances       pilot  projects   are   not  just  instructive,    they   are  necessary   to    achieve innovations in a complex transport environment.

Of course the merits of foldable containers could be tested in a small pilot, but the real system benefits will only show through above a certain threshold transport volume. Therefore it is important that potential users can also lease the foldable container instead of buying them. In this way the investment risk for the users are reduced to a minimum, and the threshold for trials is scaled down.

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