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FrogPack concept could change freight packaging

11-May-2005

A rugged, high-impact resistant packaging application has been developed for suppliers wanting to minimise breakage and waste during shipping and transporting.

Stanelco, the UK-based company behind the innovation, believes that the concept will take off because it taps into a key concern of both suppliers and retailers - the protection of goods throughout the supply chain. In addition the packaging uses biodegradable material and uses less energy in the actual production process.

The company is in the process of trying to break into the lucrative US market.

Designed to withstand substantial punishment, Stanelco's FrogPack features a unique energy-absorbing design, combined with Cradlewrap, a biodegradable air-cushioning wrapping material that can be used within the containers.

This, says Stanelco, provides remarkably secure protection for goods that require shipping. The company claims that tests undertaken to challenge FrogPack's sturdiness have confirmed that highly fragile items such as glass champagne bottles dropped from a helicopter from as high as 200 feet in the air suffered no damage or signs of their fall.

"FrogPack can take a hard punch," said David Edwards, the inventor of FrogPack. "Retailers will be impressed when they see how much punishment FrogPack absorbs.

"The packaging is a superior alternative for protecting goods during shipping. "FrogPack's capability to protect, combined with its potential for reducing costs in packaging and shipping, is unlike anything currently in use in North America."

FrogPack utilises a unique technology called shock-absorbing arcuate panel technology (SAAP) for its added strength and protective qualifies. The technology, designed by Aquasol, a subsidiary of Stanelco, is already in use in the United Kingdom by a packager of lighting supplies and a packager of electronic components.

In addition to its ability to withstand high-impact punishment, FrogPack possesses environmentally attractive features that will be attractive to North American retailers. FrogPack can be either recycled or composted.

FrogPack's high-impact design means that the packaging, which can be manufactured on a customized basis, can be produced in smaller sizes, requiring less material and less energy in the actual production process.

"Eventually, we believe that FrogPack will replace padded envelopes and boxes that utilise polystyrene inserts and plastic air bubbles," said Edwards.

To acquaint retailers with FrogPack and attract distributors for the application, Stanelco is launching a multi-faceted marketing programme. Stanelco's North American rollout for FrogPack includes a direct sales effort, supplemented by direct mail, an aggressive publicity programme, demonstrations of FrogPack's durability and a presence at leading US retail trade shows.

Suppliers have increasingly been squeezed due to rising freight costs, caused in part by China's insatiable demand for raw materials and higher fuel costs. This has caused shipping rates to rise 10 per cent to 25 per cent.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, rates from US to Asian ports rose by 12 per cent for refrigerated shipments and 11 per cent for dry shipments for the first nine months of last year.

This trend looks set to continue. Oil prices struck $50 a barrel for the first time since November this week, prompting traders to forecast a return of the record prices seen last autumn. According to the Financial times, the European cold snap has pushed fuel prices higher, with gasoline prices in Asia hitting a record of $60 a barrel.

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