PARIS/LEIPZIG: Holland Container Innovations (HCI) has won this year's 'Promising Innovation in Transport Award' from the International Transport Forum at the OECD.
HCI was recognized for its 4FOLD ISO-certified foldable container that reduces the economic and environmental cost of empty container shipment.
According to the OECD, ocean carriers spend about €25 billion a year on repositioning empty containers. Some 20 percent of them are sent by sea while 40 percent are trucked. The result is more cost and more GHG emissions. HCI says both can be reduced with its foldable container.
Now ISO certified, an empty FFE 4FOLD container can be folded to a quarter of its height allowing four of them to be bundled to the same dimensions as a standard container. Folding and unfolding of the FFE takes about four minutes and is done with standard lifting equipment.
HCI says a pilot project between the Netherlands and Spain proved it is cheaper to use a container in a multimodal move than to use a truck. After travelling through the Bay of Biscay, the containers were transhipped onto rail in Bilbao before delivery in Valencia. The empty containers were then transported to the nearest rail terminal where they were folded, bundled and carried back to Rotterdam.
Simon Bosschieter, HCI CEO commented: "The 4FOLD foldable container provides a solution to one of the largest issues in present day transport - the issue of empty container movements and the related environmental impact."
Lidewijde Ongering, director-general for Mobility and Transport in the Dutch ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment added: "Empty containers are inefficient: they carry nothing but air and take up a lot of space. The foldable containers...are a fantastic solution: they take up less space and make container transport much more efficient. That's good for the economy and good for the environment."
According to a latest OECD study, air pollution is costing advanced economies plus China and India an estimated US$3.5 trillion a year in premature deaths and ill health and the cost is expected to rise without government action to limit vehicle emissions.
In OECD countries, the study says half the cost is from road transport, with diesel vehicles producing the most harmful emissions. The organization says there is no justification in taxing diesel fuel less than gasoline.