Tag Archives: container storage

DPW to deploy first Boxbay stacking system at Pusan Newport

Here’s an innovation that’s going to be popular at container terminals. It’s a fixed set of frames allowing containers to be stacked in individual pigeonholes. They’re placed and removed by stacker cranes running through the aisles. The system has been in development and testing since 2018.

Hardware innovations take a long time to develop, and they require a place for testing. The partnership of DP World and SMS Group, a German firm, combined the expertise and the need and test bed to create the product.

Stacking density may be improved up to 4 times using the Boxbay system.

This is not a new idea. Auto manufacturers and shippers have been using such arrays to store cars since the 90’s. I was shown a picture of one in Japan by Ernest Konigsberg, a Berkeley operations research professor who was familiar with the design and the optimizing software written to decide which locations to place vehicles. We would call it AI today, but then it was simply optimization software. It’s been around a long time.

An interesting question is why this technology is only emerging now. One answer is the Great Congestion about the time of the COVID epidemic. Yard storage was a significant problem during the supply chain crisis. This kind of system can improve the utilization of scarce container yard land. It’s a natural type of tech to invest in.

I’m sure we will see more such systems if container shipping demand comes back and exceeds the congestion period levels. But if ports aren’t handling so many containers, they may not be so eager to invest in this technology. I don’t see the large US ports jumping on this so soon, with traffic falling.

The article has a nice picture of Pusan Newport terminal, and judging by the stacking disarray in the right part of the picture, they can use this system1

By Nick Savvides 08/03/2023

DPW to deploy first Boxbay stacking system at Pusan Newport – The Loadstar

New container imbalance fee to minimise congestion due to excess empty containers

Port Authority of NY and NJ have announced a new container fee payable by ocean carriers. The fee will be levied when the outbound containers don’t exceed inbound containers by 110% in the same period. The port authority also plans to find additional space to store containers near the port, and already has identified 12 acres on the port.

It seems that these two measures are what works to reduce congestion. The same two kinds of measures were invoked at the Port of LA and Port of Long Beach to get ocean lines to start moving empties out. In California, though, the container fees were just threatened; they never were begun. that alone was enough for ocean carriers to start moving containers out.

Perhaps we have found a credible set of options to get container carriers to move those boxes.

Kim BiggarAugust 3, 2022

Port Authority of NY and NJ announces new container imbalance fee to minimise congestion due to excess empty containers – Splash247

Container glut pushes down second-hand prices, but carriers still ordering new

There are now too many containers in the world. And they are cluttering up the ports and yards we need to move containers through. And they cause detention and demurrage charges, because lines won’t move them out of ports.

The global container pool is around 50 million TEU right now. According to Drewry, that is an excess of 6 million TEU. However, Drewry is not too concerned about the excess at present, feeling they can be absorbed if trade picks up. Interestingly, Drewry seems to think that the excess will be absorbed by ‘slower sailing’!

As economics tells us to expect, the price of second-hand containers is falling. However, some carriers, such as Evergreen, continue to order more. Most containers are built in China these days. Three Chinese firms, with state connections, are the primary sources. The problem is that empty used containers cost a lot to return to exporting destinations. They displace paying cargo, forcing ocean carriers to use space to carry them. And especially, with the cost of bunker fuel in the stratosphere, and the need to use very low sulfur fuel in some busy port areas, the transportation cost is high. Ocean carriers have to ‘bundle’ the cost of returns into the one-way cost of the loaded shipment. Either that, or they take a hit by moving the old containers back.

The Seatrade article by Gary Howard has nice graphs showing the average price of 40-foot used containers in Europe, and in China, provided by Container xChange. Again the question of where excess containers will be stored is raised. There haven’t been many answers to that one yet.

By Martina Li in Taiwan 19/07/2022

Container glut pushes down second-hand prices, but carriers still ordering new – The Loadstar

Gary Howard | Jul 19, 2022

6m teu oversupply of containers after ‘reactionary’ ordering