How ‘one-way’ containers might solve the equipment shortage problem


In what comes as a game-changing concept, Rotterdam firm K-tainer is now leading the way towards sustainability with the advent of its “One-way container transport” to curb the burning problem of equipment shortage.

These involve containers that would normally be transported empty, but are now for free use to select destinations.

Some 20m ocean containers move across the world, transporting freight to every corner of the globe. After being unloaded at their destination port, 40% of the containers continue over land, while 20% are returned empty by sea.

The Rotterdam firm K-tainer has come up with a novel and sustainable alternative to this procedure: one-way containers.

K-tainer Trading and K-tainer Leasing have introduced an innovative arrangement for their new and used containers that cuts down on carbon emissions and completely refunds these savings to the user transporting the container as there is a third party in K-tainer’s concept, between the buyer and the seller, namely the carrier.

Container shipping lines, exporters and road haulage firms have up to 30 days to use the containers free of charge, and can leave them with the buyer after unloading.

This arrangement is now being leveraged by a diverse clientele as the main draw for users is that the carbon savings refund enables them to increase the sustainability of their logistics service.

The one-way containers are complementary to carriers’ own equipment – specifically that share of their containers that won’t be filled with return cargo.

“Imagine a shipping company sends 10 containers per week to Ireland, but only has enough freight to fill six containers on the return voyage. In this situation, the shipping company can benefit from henceforth using four of our one-way containers on its Ireland route, and leaving them there.”

~Walter Ferreira, Director, K-Tainer

K-tainer has received accolades and recognition for this unique concept with a Lean & Green star, an international award recognising logistics companies that have truly explored every angle to reduce the sector’s carbon emissions.

“We have a new fleet of containers built in China, but of course, we don’t ship those empty either: we get a party to fill them with cargo,” added Mr Ferreira.

An unprecedented turn of events led by the pandemic has led to a global container shortage crisis.

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