How to handle empty containers? This headache has long vexed carriers and ports alike. George Kochanowski, ceo of US firm Staxxon, is adamant he has the solution with his patented folding containers.
Collapsible containers are nothing new – it’s just that previous designs have never taken off. Kochanowski reckons he might have cracked this impasse.
“Prior to Staxxon,” he tells Maritime CEO, “all folding containers were modeled after the collapsible flat-rack styled container, certainly offering some advantages, but they also came with severe limitations which ultimately led to them being largely impractical and unusable in large scale.”
Staxxon approaches the container not as a commodity but as a technologically advanced, value added asset, Kochanowski says.
Beyond the unique upright folding feature, Staxxon has addressed the most common maintenance and repair issues of a standard container that could significantly reduce out of service time and expense. As an example, Staxxon attaches its rear doors via shoulder bolts mounted on the inside of the container and has completely re-engineered the common rear J-post assembly. This allows for a door to be replaced in minutes instead of days, as there is no need to cut away the old hinges to replace the door and then weld in new ones onto a misaligned J-post.
Five Staxxon boxes fold together into the space of a typical normal container (see image below).
“Put all these pieces together, the industry can avail itself of a more durable container, that will last longer, cost less to maintain, all the while lowering the cost of repositioning when empty by being folded, and even offers a solution to the new SOLAS mandates,” Kochanowski says, while admitting: “Yes, it will be somewhat heavier and initially cost more, but it offers a very attractive return on investment, whereas today’s container is but an unyielding and ever growing operating expense.”
A series of demonstrator sets of 20 ft and 40 ft boxes are now being manufactured in Poland and are targeted to be used on a route from Europe to Africa in the second quarter.
“Our goal is to certify other manufacturers around the globe in order to meet anticipated regional market demand,” Kochanowski says.
Ultimately, Staxxon is looking to partner strategically with ocean carriers and terminal operators.