How airplane building helped to develop this light-weight container

The manufacturing of airplanes and of containers may sound unrelated, but they have collided on the New Silk Road. Recently, Far East Land Bridge (FELB) cooperated with European technology supplier PEOPLE to test the newly developed smart Container 2.0 to complete a special test trip. The journey between Suzhou (China) and Duisburg lauded the entry of the Black Technology Smart Container 2.0’s into the transportation market.

Container 2.0 has been developed by PEOPLE, which describes it as the “greenest and most intelligent container”. “The characteristic of this new container lies in its sustainability. It replaces traditional wood with a lighter, recyclable material, which is 250 kg/TEU lighter than the weight of an ordinary container. This means that it can transport heavier cargo under the same conditions.

From pilot to container builder

“According to the current global container flow, we will be able to transport 42 million tons of cargo each year without incurring any additional costs and carbon dioxide emissions”, PEOPLE’s senior director and co-founder Sotirios Ptochos explained.

Ptochos was a pilot before founding PEOPLE. “When manufacturing aircraft, you consider reducing weight as much as possible. Lighter means more efficient. So we extended this technology to land and sea, to the container shipping industry. Through small changes, we can achieve breakthroughs and large-scale benefits.”

Test trip of Container 2.0

Shift to the supply chain

The legendary founder did not immediately turn to the transportation industry after finishing his pilot career. On the contrary, PEOPLE’s original business was architectural design. Ptochos said that the extension from construction to the seemingly unrelated transportation field is due to the company’s consistent pursuit of environmental protection, and the technology is interlinked.

“Our aim is to use technology to achieve a more environmentally friendly and greener world. At present, 60 per cent of carbon emissions come from transportation. Even with a relatively environmentally friendly transportation method such as railways, there is still room for its carbon emissions to drop. We are in the construction business. The experience and technology accumulated here can make it close to zero.”

He continued: “We met FELB at a container summit, and we hit it off in terms of providing more efficient and sustainable solutions. The cooperation was very successful.Dimitri Savytskyy, head of Asset Management at FELB Austria: “The application of light container 2.0 is a big step forward for the goal of green logistics.”
test trip with container 2.0

Connectivity

In addition to being lighter, Container 2.0 is no different from ordinary containers in terms of specifications. It is suitable for all modes of transportation. “Whether it is long-distance or short-distance, sea and land transportation, it can be used”, Ptochos explained, “We attach great importance to the connection of containers. If the connectivity of the existing supply chain is good enough, it won’t be as chaotic as it is now.”

In addition, the connectivity of Container 2.0 is supported by smart technology. It comes with smart tracking equipment that can update the dynamics of the container in real time. “This test trip has achieved many important indicators. In addition to carbon emissions and fuel consumption, we also tested the sensitivity of doorbell alarms and the efficiency of real-time positioning. The tests were successful. These details are very useful for improving the overall efficiency of the trip”, Ptochos added.

Replace ordinary containers

PEOPLE launched a total of 400 containers 2.0 this year. “Our publicity campaign has not yet officially started, but many companies have expressed great interest. The biggest problem at present is the supply of containers. We are communicating with large manufacturing plants. We hope to be able to produce 20,000 to 25,000 units, and supply 2 million in 5 years”, Ptochos said.

From 400 to 2 million sounds like a huge leap that is difficult to achieve, but in PEOPLE’s plan, its ambition is not to provide an alternative to the transportation industry, but to hope that one day Container 2.0 can completely replace ordinary containers. “The industry has remained the same for a long time. It always takes time to change at the beginning, but the future will undoubtedly develop in this direction.”

European Silk Road Summit

Sotirios Ptochos will provide a workshop about special containers at the European Silk Road Summit. The summit takes place on 7 and 8 December, and this workshop takes place on the second day. You can still purchase online tickets for this event.

Author: Huilin Shi

Huilin Shi is the editor of RailFreight.cn, our Chinese publication

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