The equipment BLOK Spreader enables four empty shipping containers to be lifted and transported on to quaysides as a single block, potentially easing congestion in container ports as well as reducing emissions and saving billions for the industry.
“This is a major innovation that is going to change the maritime sector – it is perhaps the biggest step forward since the introduction of the shipping container as multiple container handling has the potential to revolutionise port handling systems,” said Selwyn Rowley, BLOK’s director of sales and marketing.
“Ports around the world handle 679 million containers annually of which around 24% are handled empty. Container terminals charge at least GBP100 ($133) and often much more a lift, so the potential savings created by being able to move four at a time rather than one run into the billions,” Rowley said.
“Ships have become bigger now and carry as many as 20,000 containers but that volume has exacerbated delays at ports and more efficient handling is required. The price of fuel is also going up and tough new environmental standards are being introduced so time savings are essential to allow for slower sailing.”
Rowley added that the company has received interest from ports around the world, as well as many country members of the IMO.
BLOK Container Systems has worked with the Coventry & Warwickshire LEP Growth Hub and Coventry City Council and to help fund development of the BLOK Spreader, with the two organisations working together to secure a GBP100,000 grant from the European Regional Development Fund.