Linpac Materials Handling has introduced a reusable container that it claims could allow companies to significantly reduce their shipping costs.
The T-PAK MAX3 container has a lightweight construction that provides scope for manufacturers to increase their payloads, according to Linpac. The company estimates that the container can handle 20 per cent more product than rival shipping systems.
This could prove to be a blessing for suppliers, as shipping rates have risen 10 per cent to 25 per cent since last spring.
The MAX3 container has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as meeting the sanitary requirements for packaging handling in food, beverage, and pharmaceutical applications.
The product has a 44" x 48" footprint and a 50" height, but collapses to 11" in height, reducing the bulk for return journeys. The dynamic stacking capacity of the MAX3 is two-high, while the container can be stacked five-high in a static warehouse environment. The maximum dynamic capacity is 453kg.
Linpac said that the unit is particularly suited for lightweight items such as pharmaceutical and cosmetic packaging, crowns, metal closures, PET preforms, plastic closure mouldings and synthetic cork products.
The MAX3 is constructed of high-impact polypropylene to withstand the abuse of multiple return trips, and has rigid sidewalls that feature smooth interior surfaces, reducing dust and damage to contents. The lid is an integral component of the container, covering and protecting contents. On the production floor, the MAX3 is compatible with most dumping equipment, conforming to current manufacturing processes, according to Linpac.
Other features of the MAX3 container include that it is radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology-ready, has a three-year warranty, and can be recycled at the end of its useful life.
Greater space efficiency is of great importance to the food industry at the moment. A squeezed supply of refrigerated shipping containers in the US has caused shipping rates to rise 10 per cent to 25 per cent since last spring, which has helped to push up prices.
Shipping rates are also expected to continue to climb as shipping lines in the US implement federal security regulations aimed at thwarting terrorism. Other costs including insurance, fuel, terminal charges and even container prices are also on the increase.
A report on the container ship market by analyst Howe Robinson suggests that all this is creating a 'tonnage squeeze,' with ships available for charter certain to be in short supply in 2004. Some container lines will be forced to cut non-core services if they become unprofitable.
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.