Most people don’t realize that it costs almost as much to return an empty truck trailer, intermodal container (“seacan”) or wooden pallet back to its origin than it does to ship it when it was full. This is a major problem with our current supply chains because, whether we like it or not, these empty units “have” to get back to their origin to be used again. This is not only costly from a financial perspective but the cost to the environment is even more substantial. Ocean transport may not be as bad as land transport but, each mode of transport takes its toll on the environment unnecessarily.
If just 5% of the tractor/trailers that travel empty used the Cargo Carousel System (CCS) we could reduce GHG emissions by an estimated 8,989,000 “tons” per year in the U.S. alone and save approximately $2,007,687,000 on diesel fuel at US $2.93/gal. The cubic modules of the CCS can be opaque, lockable and sealable which allows any vehicle to transport the modules of the CCS for any shipper at any time and the CCS provides a reverse chain that allows deliveries and pick-ups simultaneously and on any leg of the supply or return route so empty back hauls and partial loads can be eliminated while providing the foundation for a circular economy.
The CCS replaces wooden pallets and plastic wrap with infinitely recyclable heavy-duty aluminum modules. In the U.S. alone over 500 million wooden pallets are built each year just to replace the wooden pallets that are discarded or damaged and it is estimated that there are over 5 billion wooden pallets in circulation worldwide at any given time. Wooden pallets consume as much hardwood in the US annually as all other uses combined. Further, roughly half of these pallets are designed to use this wood only once and then discard it, in a way that limits the possibility of recycling. Since the pallets tend to be full of difficult-to-remove nails, a considerable percentage of these single-use pallets often end up in landfills. We can only guess how many trees this would equate to but, deforestation is already a major problem for our planet so eliminating wooden pallets would go a long way towards slowing deforestation.
The CCS can double the cubic space utilization in a warehouse (or replace a warehouse altogether) thereby doubling the efficiency of the warehouse operations or it can result in a smaller footprint requirement for the same amount of space in new construction. The emissions from heating this wasted space add up and the dollar costs of this wasted space are passed on to consumers in higher product costs. When you combine the reductions in GHG emissions, deforestation and warehouse construction size, the CCS offers a considerable environmental advantage over any other supply chain system.
These “before and after” layouts shown below of a standard warehouse show the difference in using the CCS or not and that difference is dramatic. Space utilization more than doubles with the CCS because aisles are not necessary. The CCS can be stacked side-by-side whether in a warehouse or outdoors because the CCS can move its modules to the door end of the container and allow access to the inventory within its modules no matter how high they’re stacked. Pallet positions are marked with an ‘X’ in the top left corner of the layouts and these are typical whether using the CCS or not. Each layout is for the exact same number of available pallet positions but the CCS uses less than half the space for the same number of pallets.
The individual modules of the CCS can be custom built to suit any requirements and they are all interchangeable between any Cargo Carousel Systems. This interchangeable characteristic is what truly makes the CCS stand out as a far more efficient and environmentally-friendly system. Moving individual modules between the various Cargo Carousel Systems of many different companies allows any company take advantage of the CCS. Being able to track & trace each module with its satellite/cellular/internet communications capabilities offers smaller and more numerous shipments for less money and less environmental damage than conventional shipping.