The humble shipping container has truly come into its own over the last decade as architects and designers have innovated ump-teen new ways of re-purposing the standardized metal box. But what about the container’s original and still globally predominant function– carrying millions of dollars in trade goods from Point A to Point B each year? Enter the Staxxon collapsible shipping container. A new development in the flat-packing field, these accordion-style containers vertically fold to 1/5 their original width, making for an efficient nesting system of empties.
We’ve seen the photos of gargantuan cargo liners poised on the ocean’s surface, stacked impressively high with containers carrying everything from motorcycles to coffee. We rarely stop to think, however, about the environmental impact of the container system itself. A quick check of the Port of Los Angeles website shows that in 2010 the port loaded in about 4 million containers, 2.58% of which were empty. The same port then loaded out about 3.7 million containers, 50.94% of which were empty! Think of the fuel costs alone incurred by shipping loads of heavy empty boxes back and forth across the oceans annually.
Staxxon‘s streamlined shipping containers could significantly decrease the number of polluting and costly “backhaul” sea voyages made each year. Shipping companies could also invest in fewer units overall, lessening the number old rusted containers sent to salvage. There is some speculation on costs the shipping industry would incur by retro-fitting their crane systems and training personnel to accommodate the new dimensions, but we think the ingenuity of the design is a great first step.