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Flat Pack Shipping Containers - Who Wins?

Published Jun 12, 2014

Flat Pack Shipping Containers - Who Wins?

Will flat pack sea freight shipping containers replace their rigid competitors and if so how will this change the container shipping market? 

According to an article in Freight Business Journal, a Dutch company Holland Container Innovations HCI has patented a flat pack container called 4Fold. It will be the first container of its type to gain ISO certification, so they could be used on container ships and road transport. 

The financial benefits for shipping lines could be substantial, but what are the knock on effects for shippers in markets that have traditionally benefitted from cheap shipping rates, due to the imballance in trade? Shipping Lines have been virtually giving the container space away to get the containers back to markets like China, where the export market is so much stronger than the import market.

We see two possible ways the markets could move.

The shipping lines will cut the price difference between import and export cargo, maybe dropping the export charges whilst raising the import charges slightly.

The other option is keeping export rates high and increasing the import rates to make up for some of the loses incurred over the last few years.

Only the shipping lines know how this will pan out.

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