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Fast Moving Containers Caming Solutions

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FMCONTAINERS (Fast Moving Containers Caming Solutions)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2015-11-30

The objective of this study is to understand the feasibility of the FM Container Concept designed by Caming Solutions (CS). The FM Container concept is a novel and innovative method of lashing and securing maritime containers onboard sea-going vessels that measurably increases operational productivity. The components of the study focus primarily on the market demand, the technical development of the concept, and intellectual property (IP) protection to validate the business case.

Market demand: Shipping lines are taking delivery of ever bigger container ships. In order for these ships to realise their economies of scale to the maximum, the maritime sector as a whole is under pressure to deliver greater levels of efficiency and productivity – particularly in port operations. CS has been working with a reputed expert in the maritime sector who has helped define an approach to the market to validate the demand for the FM Container concept. This input was provided to CS in the form of coaching funded by the Horizon 2020 instrument and results can be found in extracts from the executive summary of his coaching report:

“Consistently during our study, the message was that, with the current circumstances and pressures that the industry faces, any new product or development that improves productivity and reduces cost, will be welcomed by an industry that is struggling to survive with the collapse of freight rates and the need to provide the increased productivity and reduction of cost that the economies of scale from the recent doubling of ship size requires.

The process by ship operators (and terminals) of lashing containers, managing, tracking and maintaining global stocks of twist locks and other lashing equipment, is seen as a process that ties up management time and resources, that could be put to more productive use. One ship operator believed they had two staff per vessel permanently on lashing equipment maintenance.”

CS therefore concludes that, not only is there an appetite to improve on the current lashing and securing systems but, given the prevailing environment in the shipping industry, the timing for a solution like the FM Container concept is favourable.
Furthermore CS has conducted a survey among companies and individuals who have attempted to introduce innovations in the maritime sector, particularly in the container lashing and securing environment. The results of this survey reveal that the maritime sector is very conservative in considering new ideas unless clear value can be demonstrated in a life-size pilot environment.

Technical development: CS has been fine tuning the technical requirements of the concept which has been defined and comprehensively documented in a set of Terms of Reference. CS has identified a reputable company that specialises in product/concept design to assist in the further development of the concept from prototype to fully operational life size pilot. CS has also researched, identified and approached classification societies to have an initial high level feedback that the concept fits in the current technical context of the maritime sector. Result: A technical project plan has been defined and costed. Also positive initial feed-back from one the most reputed classification societies in the world of container shipping that the concept is not only new but also technically feasible.

Intellectual Property (IP): CS is being advised by a number of legal experts with expertise and a track record in the IP environment. These experts have helped CS draw up an IP strategy that will enable the company not only to protect its principal asset from design infringements but also to exploit it for maximum value. Outside experts have also helped CS to define the IP in the vernacular of this environment and to file applications in relevant jurisdictions in order to protect the company’s assets globally. CS’s business model to extract royalty fees from licensing agreements has therefore been validated.
Conclusion: with the current developments in the maritime sector there is an appetite from the market for sustainable and efficient cost saving measures. However innovations have to be proven at an advanced level and the IP protected to safe-guard innovators’ efforts. A reputed international classification society has given positive feedback on CS’s technical solution. Legal advice has validated the business model that CS plans to deploy to exploit the IP and the company has gone ahead and filed applications for patent protection in a number of jurisdictions. The conclusion of this feasibility study is that demand for an improvement in the way containers are lashed and secured has been independently validated and, in the view of technical experts the FM Container concept is a technically viable solution. In order for CS to maximize its potential, further detailed development of the concept should be done to a stage where value to the market can be robustly proven and that the concept can be produced cost effectively.
Caming Solutions new container concept