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ZBOX: THE NEXT GENERATION OF FOLDABLE CONTAINERS

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Zbox (ZBOX: THE NEXT GENERATION OF FOLDABLE CONTAINERS)

Reporting period: 2018-02-01 to 2018-04-30

Maritime shipping is significantly based in the use of containers, which have greatly improved the sector since their introduction in the past. One of its main problems is the existence of a sustained global trade imbalance because regions like China are mainly manufacturers and exporters while others as USA or Europe act mostly as importers. This results in the accumulation of around 20% of empty containers at ports, which need to be repositioned to be used in another location, representing a high cost for shipping companies (around $20 B/year). They also occupy a lot of space in ports and in ships when they are transported back to be re-filled and represent an environmental risk when relocated (more CO2 emissions). Navlandis aims to offer a suitable solution for empty containers’ issues and we have developed Zbox, our first patented foldable container. It looks and behaves like a standard container but when it is empty we fold it and we manage to pack 5 empty containers in the same volume than 1. Zbox reduces CO2 emissions by a 20%, reduces the need of land for storage by an 80% and cuts empty container management costs by 50%. When compared with other foldable containers Zbox is cheaper to produce, cheaper and easier to fold and unfold and it is cheaper to maintain. We have developed our 20’ container and now we want to transfer the technology to the 40'HC size, establish the manufacturing scaling-up, perform the containers’ validation in operational environment and obtain the corresponding certifications to begin with Zbox commercialization. During the feasibility study, we were able to describe in detail: the technical developmental path followed and further technical needs to complete 20’ and 40’HC containers, the requirements for certification, the manufacturing scaling-up goals, the validation roadmap and the financial needs for project’s completion. Similarly, we could identify and describe at a local and global level: some potential manufacturer partners, our main potential users (mainly shipping lines and leasing companies) and other key stakeholders for the project. We also have described the market of shipping containers and proposed a thorough commercial strategy in order to successfully reach it and we recognized main technical and commercial risks, proposing counteracting measures. The Navlandis team is highly motivated with continuing Zbox development, reach commercialization and make of our logistics company a growing success.
Technical Feasibility
After examining all the needs and pending activities for the complete development of Zbox we have defined critical points, key technical factors and main goals to accomplish.
- We were able to identify the technical requirements to complete the development of our 20’ foldable containers and to transfer the folding technology to the 40’HC size to obtain the first prototype. Specific safety and quality requirements will be followed to avoid problems in the certification process.
- The manufacturing process has to be defined and scaled-up in order to guarantee the production of enough containers for the validation of the technology in pilot routes and to establish the base for future industrialization of both foldable containers.
- Potential manufacturing partners have been identified and a Spanish company will be in charge of the manufacturing of 40’HC prototype, first units for technical validation and then more units for complete validation of both containers’ sizes. For commercialization we will decide if a change of manufacturing partner is necessary and which company will be best to accomplish our commercial objectives.
- The general scheme for the complete validation of Zbox has been defined and potential partners to run the pilot routes in both stages have been identified in or near Spain. Preliminary contact has been established with some potential co-innovation partners and future users and we will further select other companies.
-Potential risks has been recognized and counteracting measures proposed at the technical level.
Commercial Feasibility
Many pre-commercial and commercial goals, activities and needs has been defined and we have deeply study our target market and users, as well as identified main competitors and defined our commercial strategy.
- The global market of shipping containers has been described in terms of size, value, expected growth, diverse segmentation and main players. Some trends and drivers were included.
- Our target users have been acknowledged and segmented and we have a list of potential clients to be reached during commercialization activities, mainly shipping lines and leasing companies.
- Other companies developing foldable containers in the world have been search and described and their weak points or disadvantages in comparison with our folding technology have been identified.
- We have proposed a commercial strategy based on a Sales Funnel Canvas and a B2B model. We plan to gradually reach all the types of users, since SMEs to Top players in the market, and to growth as a company first very conservative but in a long term in a hockey-stick way.
- We have identified the main requirements in order to obtain the CSC and ISO 1496-1 certifications, crucial for the pre-commercial activities and the pilot routes, as long as for further commercialization.
- Key stakeholders, along with relevant dissemination and communication activities have been documented.
Financial Feasibility
Navlandis has been supported since the beginning by public and private sources and the innovative nature of our folding technology applied to shipping containers rises the interest from many companies and institutions.
- We have described previous founding of the company and identified new potential financing sources to successfully complete Zbox development.
- We have identified key factors for the definition purchase prices for our containers in the future, based on manufacturing scaling-up and costs optimization and according to the predicted annual sells once we reach commercialization.
- We built-up a table with financial projections for the first 5 years of the commercialization of our 20’ and 40’HC foldable containers and we were able to estimate revenues, costs and profits and predict the growing opportunities for our company by following the proposed commercial strategy.
In view of a strong competition between shipping lines and the role of efficient container fleet management as a key factor in cutting their operating costs, the issue of repositioning empty containers is crucial. Empty containers take up a lot of space, and one way to fix this would be to change the shipping container itself. Navlandis is redesigning the shipping container to the next generation. The Zbox foldable container can be folded into 20% of its original size allowing five containers to be transported in the space of one.
Key Zbox features:
- Same technical requirements as standard container. Zbox meets all industry requirements to be used in the existing logistic system and offers the same transport opportunities that standard containers. Its technical characteristics follow the norms and properties of standard containers in terms of capacity, dimensions, strength and hardness.
- Low tare as possible, to achieve a payload close to standards.
- Seamless manufacturing, using the same standard spare parts, reducing costs and facilitating the maintenance.
- Straightforward fold/unfold, based on smart and simple Z movement folding technology.
- Same sized of 5 folded container as standard container. One bundle of five folded containers has the same dimensions as standard container, achieving scale advantages in transport and transshipment.
Main Zbox benefits:
- Reduction of empty transport movements
- Reduction of storage space needed for empties in yard/depot by up to 80%.
- Faster handling of empties.
- Reduces time in port loading empties (increases on-time performance and loading time is reduced by 75% for empty containers).
- Increases flexibility in loading and unloading ships.
- Ability to lift five units at once with one crane.
- Less port congestion.
- Creates three revenue-generating slots.
- Fewer stranded/idle containers
Zbox packaging
Zbox 20’ prototype public exhibition
Zbox folding mechanism