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Foldable Containers to Reduce the Costs of Empty Transport? A Cost–Benefit Analysis from a Chain and Multi-Actor Perspective

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  • Rob Konings

    () (Delft University of Technology, OTB Research Institute for Housing, Urban and Mobility Studies, PO Box 5030, Delft 2600 GA, The Netherlands.)

Abstract

Transport of empty containers, which arises from the need to reposition containers, is an expensive business. This holds in particular for shipping lines, which are usually responsible for container repositioning and have to bear these container management costs. Shipping lines are known to follow various strategies to reduce the costs of empty transport. A rather unfamiliar, but interesting option to save costs is the possibility to fold empty containers. This could save transport costs, but also transhipment and storage costs. In this paper, we analyse the opportunities for commercial application of foldable containers. For this purpose a cost–benefit analysis is adopted in which four logistic concepts to use foldable containers are presented as a framework for analysis. The costs and benefits of using foldable containers in these logistic concepts are calculated and compared with the situation in which standard containers are used. It is shown that the use of foldable containers can lead to substantial net benefits in the total chain of container transport. However, much depends on the additional costs that foldable containers cause, that is, the cost of folding and unfolding, additional exploitation costs and any additional transport to places where folding and unfolding can take place. The logistic concept plays a part in it, but it should be a great challenge for designers and container producers to develop a foldable container that generates limited additional costs. Maritime Economics & Logistics (2005) 7, 223–249. doi:10.1057/palgrave.mel.9100139

Suggested Citation

  • Rob Konings, 2005. "Foldable Containers to Reduce the Costs of Empty Transport? A Cost–Benefit Analysis from a Chain and Multi-Actor Perspective," Maritime Economics & Logistics, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME), vol. 7(3), pages 223-249, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:marecl:v:7:y:2005:i:3:p:223-249
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jeong, Yoonjea & Saha, Subrata & Moon, Ilkyeong, 2020. "Optimal devanning time and detention charges for container supply chains," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    2. Qu, Chenrui & Zeng, Qingcheng & Li, Kevin X. & Lin, Kun-Chin, 2020. "Modeling incentive strategies for landside integration in multimodal transport chains," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 47-64.
    3. Zhang, Ruiyou & Zhao, Haishu & Moon, Ilkyeong, 2018. "Range-based truck-state transition modeling method for foldable container drayage services," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 225-239.
    4. Kolar, Petr & Schramm, Hans-Joachim & Prockl, Günter, 2018. "Intermodal transport and repositioning of empty containers in Central and Eastern Europe hinterland," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 73-82.
    5. Shintani, Koichi & Konings, Rob & Imai, Akio, 2019. "Combinable containers: A container innovation to save container fleet and empty container repositioning costs," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 248-272.
    6. Xinan Yang & Hajem A. Daham, 2020. "A column generation-based decomposition and aggregation approach for combining orders in inland transportation of containers," OR Spectrum: Quantitative Approaches in Management, Springer;Gesellschaft für Operations Research e.V., vol. 42(1), pages 261-296, March.
    7. Myung, Young-Soo & Yu, Yung-Mok, 2020. "Freight transportation network model with bundling option," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    8. Jeong, Yoonjea & Saha, Subrata & Chatterjee, Debajyoti & Moon, Ilkyeong, 2018. "Direct shipping service routes with an empty container management strategy," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 123-142.
    9. Moon, Ilkyeong & Do Ngoc, Anh-Dung & Konings, Rob, 2013. "Foldable and standard containers in empty container repositioning," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 107-124.
    10. Zhang, Ruiyou & Huang, Chao & Feng, Xuehao, 2020. "Empty container repositioning with foldable containers in a river transport network considering the limitations of bridge heights," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 197-213.
    11. Funke, Julia & Kopfer, Herbert, 2016. "A model for a multi-size inland container transportation problem," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 70-85.
    12. Jahn, Carlos & Schlingmeier, Johannes, 2014. "Cooperation in Empty Container Logistics," Chapters from the Proceedings of the Hamburg International Conference of Logistics (HICL), in: Blecker, Thorsten & Kersten, Wolfgang & Ringle, Christian M. (ed.), Innovative Methods in Logistics and Supply Chain Management: Current Issues and Emerging Practices. Proceedings of the Hamburg International Conferenc, volume 19, pages 499-514, Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Institute of Business Logistics and General Management.

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