Fresh from the assembly line, the first containers were loaded by APL at Chiwan, China and moved to the carrier’s Global Gateway South marine terminal at the Port of Los Angeles. APL has named the larger containers Ocean53. They are longer and wider than containers currently being used in ocean trade. Because of handing and the rugged experience of ocean travel, these containers are built to be tougher than those used in domestic US truck, rail and barge transportation.
Among the other positives touted by APL are that the need for fewer containers will reduce their overall expense; reduce the need for handling meaning less port, rail and highway congestion; and improved transit times as shippers eliminate the need to transfer cargo from smaller ocean containers into 53-foot boxes at US distribution centers.
The carrier claims that major retailers are already making use of the containers. They are able to load more freight onto containerships in Asia with few containers, notes Ron Widdows, APL CEO. “Our objective is to move big-box economics farther back in the supply chain to the point where products are manufactured in Asia,” he says. “We’re taking a step we believe will ultimately improve cargo handling efficiency, reduce congestion on land and save money for our customers. That’s big-box economics.”