New composite transport container makes debut

The HighQ container features composite panels, weighs 20 percent less than steel competitors and has been developed by DSM in cooperation with multimodal transporter Samskip.

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Royal DSM (Heerlen, The Netherlands) on Nov. 27 introduced a new lightweight transport container at the Intermodal Europe 2012 trade show in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The container’s composite design could lead to considerable cost savings and increased efficiency in the transport sector. Called the HighQ, the new container was developed by DSM in cooperation with transporter Samskip Multimodal (Rotterdam, The Netherlands).

The global logistics market uses containers for a range of transport modes, including sea travel and inland road and rail. In 2011, the container equipment fleet grew by 8.5 percent, taking the global fleet to more than 31 million TEU (the capacity of one 20-ft/6.1m container). The new HighQ container is designed to be 20 percent lighter than a steel container, an achievable goal with composite panels that replace commonly used corrugated steel. At the Intermodal show, DSM presented a 45-ft/13.7m long “pallet-wide, high-cube” prototype, which was certified by Lloyd’s Register (London, U.K.) and field-tested in a real-world situation by Samskip Multimodal for more than a year. (Pallet wide indicates that the container can accommodate European pallets, which are slightly wider than those used in North America; high-cube describes a container that is taller than the once standard height of 8 ft/2.4m.)

A key advantage of the composite container is cost-efficiency. Its lower tare weight and aerodynamic design leads to significant fuel savings compared to that with a steel container when a load of the same weight is transported. Conversely, when used in transport modes where weight limitations apply, both rail and road, the lower weight of the container can be turned into a payload increase.

“We firmly believe in this lightweight container that we have thoroughly tested under the most severe situations,” says Diederick Blom, chief operating officer at Samskip Multimodal. “We are extremely pleased to have had the opportunity to work in such close cooperation with DSM by sharing our industry knowledge and ideas.” His company expects to debut the first series in its fleet sometime in 2013.