AUSTRALIA’S unique logistical challenges present container suppliers with opportunities for “specials”, or containers that do not fit into the standard framework for containers.
Specials can include half-height containers, pallet-wide containers and various bulk containers.
Seaco Global regional vice-president Peter Folkard said one of the things he had learned working in Australia was that some of the logistical problems in the country lead to fantastic solutions.
“When you’re dealing with logistical challenges, you really want equipment to be as standard as you can possibly get it,” he said.
“Something that moves within an ISO framework, as a container does, is indeed a standard piece of equipment; it can be loaded onto the rail, it can be loaded by truck, it can be loaded onto a barge, onto a ship, so it’s truly intermodal and it’s flexible for different applications and different projects.”
Mr Folkard said this came into play with many of the large construction projects in Australia.
“Some of these projects – particularly the oil and gas projects – can be in very remote locations, so logistics can be a challenge,” he said.
“In terms of moving cement powder and similar material for those large construction projects, an ISO-type powder tank would be ideal.”
Tank containers for liquid bulk is also a significant part of Seaco’s Australia business, with such containers offering a more efficient and safer way to carry liquids than other methods, such as separate drums in a dry box.
“Generally speaking something like 78 drums of whatever liquid it is can be loaded into a 20ft container, and that’s going to give you about 15,600 litres depending on the drums,” Mr Folkard said.
“A normal ISO tank container will carry 25,000 or 26,000 litres of products.”
Also, these ISO tank containers can carry the liquid more safely and more securely than drums can, according to Mr Folkard.
“Drums have to be filled, they have to be loaded into the container, so there’re multiple handling, multiple opportunities for leaks, at the other end, drums have to be emptied and disposed of,” he said.
“ISO tank containers are an ideal opportunity for smaller parcels of transportation of bulk liquids, whether that be hazardous, non-hazardous or food grade.”
Mr Folkard said one of the more popular types of containers within this region is the half-height (which can be either 1.45m or 1.8m tall), which tends to go to mining applications.
“The advantage of the 1.45m half-height is you can double stack them within a normal ISO dimension for the return leg,” he said.
Seaco’s specifications also include additional features such as rear doors for tipping applications and removable lids for dust control.
From the print edition August 10, 2017